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.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”