The NSA Finally Names Its Internal Privacy Advocate

Rebecca Richards, a DHS official, has been selected as the agency’s first civil-liberties and privacy officer.

The new NSA Data Center on October 8, 2013 in Bluffdale, Utah.
National Journal
Dustin Volz
Add to Briefcase
Dustin Volz
Jan. 29, 2014, 5:21 a.m.

The Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency has tapped a seni­or of­fi­cial with­in the Home­land Se­cur­ity De­part­ment to serve as its in­aug­ur­al civil-liber­ties and pri­vacy of­ficer, NSA chief Keith Al­ex­an­der an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

Re­becca Richards worked as the dir­ect­or of pri­vacy com­pli­ance at DHS and has been with the de­part­ment since 2004, ac­cord­ing to her Linked­In page. In her role she will “serve as the primary ad­viser to the Dir­ect­or of NSA for en­sur­ing that pri­vacy is pro­tec­ted and civil liber­ties are main­tained by all of NSA’s mis­sions, pro­grams, policies and tech­no­lo­gies,” ac­cord­ing to the agency’s of­fi­cial job list­ing pos­ted in Septem­ber.

“After a rig­or­ous and lengthy in­ter­view pro­cess, I’ve se­lec­ted an ex­pert whose back­ground will bring ad­di­tion­al per­spect­ives and in­sight to our for­eign in­tel­li­gence activ­it­ies,” Al­ex­an­der said in a state­ment. “She will re­port dir­ectly to me and will ad­vise me and our seni­or lead­er­ship team to en­sure pri­vacy and civil-liber­ties con­sid­er­a­tions re­main a vi­tal driver for all our stra­tegic de­cisions, par­tic­u­larly in the areas of tech­no­logy and pro­cesses.”

Some pri­vacy and civil-liber­ties groups lam­basted the NSA when it first an­nounced the po­s­i­tion — billed as a “com­pletely new role” with­in the agency — sev­er­al months after former con­tract­or Ed­ward Snowden began leak­ing doc­u­ments ex­pos­ing in­tim­ate de­tails of the agency’s sur­veil­lance cap­ab­il­it­ies. Some re­main skep­tic­al that an of­ficer housed with­in the NSA will be able to provide much real over­sight on pri­vacy mat­ters.

Jeram­ie Scott, an at­tor­ney with the Elec­tron­ic Pri­vacy In­form­a­tion Cen­ter, said filling the po­s­i­tion was “a pos­it­ive step” for those clam­or­ing for NSA re­forms.

But he cau­tioned that Richards must “provide as much trans­par­ency as pos­sible to the pub­lic re­gard­ing her abil­ity to per­form over­sight and im­ple­ment ef­fect­ive pri­vacy pro­tec­tions” at the NSA, Scott said.

“Ob­vi­ously, it’ll be a very tough job,” ad­ded Lee Tien, a law­yer with the Elec­tron­ic Fron­ti­er Found­a­tion. “Ima­gine all the tech­no­logy you’d need to be on top of in or­der to even un­der­stand how the NSA’s op­er­a­tions af­fect people’s pri­vacy.”

What We're Following See More »
“HOLY HELL TO PAY” IF TRUMP FIRES A.G.
Sen. Graham Supporting Sessions
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Sen. Lindsay Graham said he is '100 percent behind' embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and said there would be 'holy hell to pay' if President Donald Trump fires him. Graham also said that if the president went after special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who’s directing the investigation into possible contacts between Trump’s circle and Russia, that could be the 'beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, unless Mueller did something wrong.'"

Source:
AMiDST COMMS STAFF SHAKEUP
Sanders New WH Press Secretary
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

"With little pomp or circumstance, Sarah Huckabee Sanders stepped up to the briefing room podium and got straight to business Friday, reading announcements about "Made in America Week" and a new executive order on defense. Minutes later, newly minted communications director Anthony Scaramucci announced she was formally taking over as White House press secretary. In the aftermath of a chaotic communications staff shakeup at the White House last week, there was little attention paid to a new milestone as Sanders assumed the role."

Source:
JOINT CHIEFS TO KEEP POLICY UNTIL GIVEN DIRECTIONS
No Instructions to Pentagon, No Change in Transgender Policy
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The highest ranking military officer in the country said that the military’s transgender policy won’t actively change until President Trump sends specific directions to the Pentagon. 'There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president’s direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance,' Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford wrote in a letter."

Source:
TO INVICTUS GAMES IN CANADA
FLOTUS First Trip Solo
9 hours ago
THE LATEST
SCARAMUCCI INSINUATED PRIEBUS LEAKED INFO
Two of Trump’s Top Advisors Feuding
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A long-simmering feud between two of President Trump’s top advisers reached a boiling point Thursday, as White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci publicly insinuated that chief of staff Reince Priebus is a leaker."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login