The National Security Agency is reducing the number of those with system administrator access to its computers by 90 percent — a move that will not cut back on the agency’s questionable spying on Americans program but till eliminate many of those who know about the program and can leak it to those who should know.
Of course the NSA claims the move is “automating” much of its work to “improve security.”
What is really happening is a series of crackdowns to keep Americans and Congress from finding out just how much information the NSA is gathering on citizens and how often they do it.
“What we’re in the process of doing — not fast enough — is reducing our system administrators by about 90 percent,” NSA director Keith Alexander told a cyber security conference in New York this week. Alexander admitted that an internal review of NSA procedures found “people in the loop of transferring data, security networks and doing things that machines are probably better at doing.”
One of those “people” was former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on the NSA spying program that covertly — and many feel illegally — captured phone records and other data on millions of Americans.
Snowden gave the information to the London Guardian and is now in Russia under temporary asylum. Some call him a hero, others a traitor. The Obama administration wants him back in America to face the full wrath of the federal government and the situation has strained relations between the President and Russia.
NSA sources tell Capitol Hill Blue that Alexander is under fire from an angry White House which supports and approves of the NSA spying program and demanded “immediate and swift” actions to tighten security.
Alexander, however, claims the security push was underway before Snowden leaked the data.
“At the end of the day, it’s about people and trust,” said Alexander, who still claims the NSA was acting within the law.
“No one has willfully or knowingly disobeyed the law or tried to invade your civil liberties or privacies,” Alexander told the conference. “There were no mistakes like that all.”
NSA insiders, however, tell a different story, saying the agency — with full approval and support of the Obama administration — went far beyond the law in its data gathering operations.
Their claims were confirmed late last month when top secret documents disclosed NSA regularly violated confidential federal court orders that authorized the program. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon called the infractions “serious.”
“The NSA operates in the dark. The court that supposedly controls the agencies action is secret,” security adviser Arnold Block tells Capitol Hill Blue. “Few people know what is really happening with the massive amounts of data collected on ordinary Americans. Congress doesn’t know and the people our government is supposed to answer to certainly don’t know.”