The new director of the NSA does not seem like the kind of person to panic at the first sign of an emergency. That's a good thing, right?
Admiral Michael S. Rogers, a career cryptologist and a former commander of the Navy Fleet Cyber Command, is already making strides toward damage control of the fallout from the Snowden leaks.
Even after only being the Director of the NSA for three months, Adm. Rogers spent time reassuring the spy agency that not all hope was lost. After describing the steps he planned to implement to tighten up the internal security, he also cautioned that there was no foolproof or complete protection against a determined person on the inside of the system.
“Am I ever going to sit here and say as the director that with 100 percent certainty no one can compromise our systems from the inside?” he asked. “Nope. Because I don’t believe that in the long run." ...
But he then added: “You have not heard me as the director say, ‘Oh, my God, the sky is falling.’ I am trying to be very specific and very measured in my characterizations.”
Adm. Rogers seems to be a much calmer leader than his predecessor, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, who claimed that the Snowden leak was “the greatest damage to our combined nations’ intelligence systems that we have ever suffered.”
The repercussions of the Snowden leak are still being felt even today. For example, Verizon lost a long-standing customer in Germany last week because of the spying revelations.
The NSA is also being blocked by the president from collecting and holding telephone metadata - that is, the records of dialed numbers and the length of the calls. The NSA must now acquire a warrant for this information.
How does the new director see this change?
Admiral Rogers indicated that system, so long resisted by the security agency, was workable. “I am not going to jump up and down and say, ‘I have to have access to that data in minutes and hours,’ ” he said. “The flip side is that I don’t want to take weeks and months to get to the data.”