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Entries in NSA (4)

Sunday
Jun232013

NSA Chief Says 'System Did Not Work' to Prevent Snowden Leaks

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- During an exclusive interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander said this morning on This Week that NSA leaker Edward Snowden has caused “irreversible and significant damage” to the U.S. with his actions. But Alexander could not say why the NSA’s systems were not able to prevent Snowden from stealing and leaking highly classified documents, saying “the system did not work as it should have.”

When asked by Stephanopoulos, “Do you understand why the system did not blink red in a way that could prevent Snowden from leaving Hawaii in the first place with those secrets?” Alexander responded, “No, I don’t.”

“It’s clearly an individual who has betrayed the trust and confidence we had in him,” Alexander said of Snowden, who fled Hong Kong en route to Russia on Sunday and faces espionage and theft charges for leaking classified U.S. documents on the NSA’s secret surveillance programs. “This is an individual who is not acting, in my opinion, with noble intent.”

“What Snowden has revealed has caused irreversible and significant damage to our country and to our allies,” Alexander added in his first Sunday morning interview as NSA director.

When asked if there is anything that could prevent another private contractor from accessing and leaking classified information from the NSA’s systems, Alexander said, “This is a key issue we’ve got to work our way through. Clearly, the system did not work as it should have.”

“[Snowden] betrayed the trust and confidence we had in him. This was an individual with top secret clearance whose duty it was to administer these networks. He betrayed that confidence and stole some of our secrets,” Alexander added. “We are now putting in place actions that would give us the ability to track our system administrators, what they are doing, what they’re taking, a two-man rule. We’ve changed the passwords. But at the end of the day, we have to trust that our people are gonna do the right thing.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun092013

Whistleblower Behind Revelation of NSA Surveillance Revealed

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HONG KONG) -- The man responsible for leaking information about the National Security Agency's cell phone surveillance has been identified by Britain's The Guardian newspaper.

Edward Snowden, 29, is a former technical analyst for the CIA and a current NSA contractor who reportedly disclosed a number of top-secret documents to the British newspaper.

Snowden, apparently in Hong Kong, asked to have his identity revealed, says The Guardian.

On Wednesday The Guardian reported that Verizon had shared daily records of all its customers’ phone calls with the US government between April and July, after a secret US court approved the program. But the Washington Post reports the classified records may go back to 2006 and involve other companies.

The Post followed with a new report Friday that several leading Internet companies had contributed to a separate program that allowed intelligence agencies to tap into “audio, video, photographs, e-mails and other documents” of their users.

President Obama dismissed what he called “hype” around the reports, and insisted, “nobody is listening to your telephone calls.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May222012

The New College Classes That Require Top-Secret Clearance

NSA/Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- America’s most high-tech intelligence agency is looking to American colleges for the next generation of cyber warriors, and it is now designing its own top-secret classes to prepare them for training in the dark arts of cyber espionage.

The National Security Agency announced Monday that four universities had been selected for a new academic program -- an extension of President Obama's National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education -- designed to teach students skills “associated with specialized cyber operations.”

The NSA is vague on the details of the courses and says on its website the curriculum will only offer the students a “glimpse” of the cyber capabilities sought by the country’s foremost collector of worldwide electronic intelligence data and protector of classified U.S. computer networks.  Any successful students won’t be trained for their real jobs until they actually arrive at the NSA.

Still, students and faculty involved will have to go through background security checks and obtain top-secret clearance before cracking open their laptops, the NSA says.

“The nation increasingly needs professionals with highly technical cyber skills to help keep America safe today and to help the country meet future challenges and adapt with greater agility,” Steven LaFountain, an NSA technical leader with the program, said. “When it comes to national security, there is no substitute for a dedicated, immensely talented workforce....This effort will sow even more seeds.”

The universities selected by the NSA are Dakota State University, the Naval Postgraduate School, Northeastern University and the University of Tulsa.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov042011

CIA and NSA Websites Encourage Childs' Play

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Worried about what your children are getting into while surfing the Web? Well, how about organizations involved in intelligence gathering and espionage?

Despite their very adult missions, both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency have sections specifically for youngsters.

On the CIA’s site -- the same one that hosts definitions of cannabis, meningococcal meningitis and maternal mortality rate -- children and teens can visit the Kids’ Page where a cubist cartoon spy using her high heel as a phone presides over a “welcome” telling readers they can “learn more about the CIA, our employees, and what we do every day.”

The NSA page is called America’s CryptoKids and looks more like a B-level animated movie than a government organization PR campaign. The NSA has games, puzzles and a cast of animal security officers, including Rosetta Stone the multilingual fox, Crypto Cat, who learned code breaking from an elderly Navajo nanny, and Cy and Cyndi, the cybersecurity twins welcomed into the CryptoKids family last year.

So how do the CryptoKids fit into the NSA’s mission “to protect U.S. national security systems and to produce foreign signals intelligence information?” And why would the CIA offer a word find and coloring book?

Communication expert Joanne Cantor said having games indicates that an organization wants kids to have a positive image of them.

Cantor said companies that see children as a target audience, such as fast-food chains or sweetened cereal producers, “have all sorts of games on their websites to make the kids like them and to sort of recruit them at young ages, and that’s very controversial among people who consider marketing to kids as unfair.”

Cantor did not see the CIA’s and NSA’s websites’ messages as inherently harmful, but said they could be subtle recruiting tactics.

“I think, particularly with character biographies, they want you to feel like you identify with the people who work there. Like this is something you could do,” Cantor said.

But Vanee’ Vines of the NSA Public Affairs Office denied that the agency uses its site as a recruiting tool.

“We’re aiming to raise awareness about cybersecurity, our mission, and how STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] skills are needed in a global society that increasingly relies on information technology,” Vines wrote in an email.

“We realize the importance of helping to educate the nation’s youth and raise awareness about the National Security Agency’s core values, vision, and critical mission.”

All federal agencies are strongly encouraged to have kids’ sections on their websites, thanks to a memo former President Bill Clinton released in 1997, but few are as elaborate as the NSA’s efforts. The memo does not specify how detailed the website must be or how much money should be allocated to the project.

While Vines said the NSA kids’ page has been reviewed frequently since the new design opened in 2005, she would not say how much it costs to keep the page “fresh and relevant.”

Kids can see more from the NSA’s cadre of cartoon characters at the agency’s museum.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio