NSA Privacy Chief: Officials Have ‘Privacy in Their Veins’

Rebecca Richards is the National Security Agency’s first chief privacy and civil-liberties officer.

Analyists at the National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) prepare for Cyber Storm III during a media session at their headquarters in Arlington, VA, September 24, 2010. Cyber Storm III is NCCIC's capstone national-level cybersecurity exercise. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON
National Journal
Brendan Sasso
March 6, 2014, 12:32 p.m.

Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency of­fi­cials care deeply about pro­tect­ing pri­vacy, ac­cord­ing to Re­becca Richards, the agency’s first chief pri­vacy and civil-liber­ties of­ficer.

In her first pub­lic dis­cus­sion since tak­ing of­fice five weeks ago, (NSA)Richards said Thursday that in­tern­al NSA lit­er­at­ure em­phas­ized pri­vacy pro­tec­tion even be­fore Ed­ward Snowden’s leaks shined a spot­light on the agency’s con­tro­ver­sial sur­veil­lance prac­tices.

“These people have it in their veins that they’re pro­tect­ing pri­vacy, that they’re pro­tect­ing U.S. per­sons,” she said at a con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton for pri­vacy pro­fes­sion­als.

But she said a cul­ture of secrecy has hampered the NSA’s abil­ity to de­fend it­self and com­mu­nic­ate its views to the pub­lic.

“I think a lot of my job will be trans­lat­ing from NSA-speak to pub­lic-speak,” she said. “There’s a need to ac­tu­ally be able to talk about things.”

Richards said she will try to en­sure that the NSA builds pri­vacy and civil-liber­ties pro­tec­tions in­to the design of its sur­veil­lance pro­grams. If the NSA has two op­tions for col­lect­ing data that both achieve sim­il­ar na­tion­al se­cur­ity, she said she will push the agency to choose the op­tion that bet­ter pro­tects pri­vacy.

She re­vealed that she is work­ing on a re­port that will out­line what pri­vacy pro­tec­tions ex­ist un­der the vari­ous leg­al au­thor­it­ies the NSA uses to spy on people around the world.

Richards, who pre­vi­ously served as the Home­land Se­cur­ity De­part­ment’s top pri­vacy of­ficer, said she still has a lot to learn about the NSA.

“It’s been like drink­ing from a fire­hose,” she said of her first few weeks on the job.

What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
23 hours ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
TRUMP FLOATED IDEA ON JIMMY KIMMEL’S SHOW
Trump/Sanders Debate Before California Primary?
2 days ago
THE LATEST
CAMPAIGNS INJECTED NEW AD MONEY
California: It’s Not Over Yet
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.

Source:
×