NSA Chief Alexander: We Don’t Abuse Power, “And That’s No Bullshit”

“What you’re hearing is, ‘Well they could…’”
US News • Views: 18,227

Some interesting comments today from NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, speaking at the annual Black Hat cyber security conference in Las Vegas:

“What you’re hearing is, ‘Well they could…,’” NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander said, referring to claims, most notably by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that the agency could read the contents of Americans’ communications on a whim. “The fact is, they [NSA analysts] don’t. And if they did, our auditing tools would detect them and they would be held accountable, and they know that from the courses they take and the pledge that they made to this nation.”

Alexander did not say his agency wasn’t capable of collecting the contents of millions of Americans’ messages under a program that is designed to collect foreign intelligence, but said technical limitations imposed by the NSA, strict adherance to policy, oversight by other governmental organizations and using a process that is “100 percent” subject to audit and review keeps the analysts from overstepping their bounds. The NSA does collect metadata on communications inside the U.S. as part of a separate program but not the content.

Alexander noted a four-year review of the foreign content collection program, part of which is known as PRISM, by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence did not find a single “willful violation of the law or the intent of the law in this program.”

“We get all these allegations of what they could be doing, but when people check… they find zero times that that’s happened,” Alexander said. “And that’s no bulls***. Those are facts.”

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