Tag Archives: Keith B. Alexander

NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander says future Snowden leaks could lead to deaths

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The data that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden‘s holds could, if released, lead to deaths, the agency’s outgoing director says.

Gen. Keith Alexander said in an interview aired Tuesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that the possibility that more information coming from Snowden could cost people their lives represents his “greatest concern.”

“Do you know what he has?” host Baier asked the general.

“We have a good assessment of what he has, yes,” Alexander said.

“And is there a lot more damaging to come?”

“Yes, especially to our military operations and those who are serving overseas,” Alexander replied.

Alexander said he was “hugely disappointed” when he learned that Snowden, who was entrusted with sensitive information, began leaking NSA data last summer.

“I think this will haunt him for the rest of his life,” Alexander said. “Here’s a young guy who made some huge mistakes.”

When asked what he would do with Snowden were he granted 15 minutes alone with him, Alexander said he wouldn’t attack the former analyst, but instead might reveal to him the damage he’s caused the agency, “so he knows the damage — the significant damage to our nation and to our allies.”

Alexander also said the reforms pushed by President Obama, which would require the NSA to prove more direct links from terrorists before acquiring data from telephone companies, are sensible.

“The approach that we put forward … is one that would limit what we get, so it does away with the business record FISA database as we know it today, and we would now work with the telecommunications company on specific numbers that have a terrorist nexus and get only that data,” Alexander said. “This is an approach that I think meets the intent of protecting our civil liberties and privacy and the security of this country.”

Also in the interview, Alexander addressed concerns raised by former President Carter, who on Sunday said he uses snail mail to communicate with foreign leaders for fear his emails are being monitored.

“We’re not [monitoring the emails],” Alexander said. “So he can now go back to writing emails. The reality is, we don’t do that. And if we did, it would be illegal and we’d be … held accountable and responsible.”

via NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander says future Snowden leaks could lead to deaths | Fox News.

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Anti-leaks legislation coming within weeks, says NSA chief

U.S. General Keith Alexander

The head of the National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander, alluded to unspecified legislation on media leaks as being forthcoming, potentially within weeks, during remarks at a cybersecurity panel on Tuesday.

During an event at Georgetown University Alexander commented that leaks by former NSA contractor by Edward Snowden, which have subsequently been published by media outlets around the world, had compromised the country’s ability to secure against cybersecurity threats.

Alexander also alluded to making “headway” on forthcoming policy by the government encompassing such media leaks, which has caught most by surprise.

“We’ve got to handle media leaks first. I think we are going to make headway over the next few weeks on media leaks. I am an optimist. I think if we make the right steps on the media leaks legislation, then cyber legislation will be a lot easier,” said Alexander.

According to The Guardian, which cited contacts at the Project on Government Oversight and the Federation of American Scientists, the specific legislation to which the NSA head referred to is unclear.

Alexander has been vocal in the past about clamping down on media leaks related to US intelligence. In a December interview with a Defense Department publication, the head of the NSA suggested that the US government find a way to end the divulging of internal information.

“We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I don’t know how to do that. That’s more of the courts and the policymakers but, from my perspective, it’s wrong to allow this to go on,” the NSA director declared.

On Tuesday, Alexander doubled down on his belief that Snowden’s intelligence leaks to the media, most notably former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, have been detrimental to the US.

“My personal opinion: these leaks have caused grave, significant and irreversible damage to our nation and to our allies. It will take us years to recover,” said Alexander.

During the same panel the outgoing NSA head, due to retire within weeks, slammed the perceived inability by journalists to withhold secrets which would prove damaging to the country.

“It’s interesting: journalists have no standing when it comes to national security issues. They don’t know how to weigh the fact of what they’re giving out and saying, is it in the nation’s interest to divulge this,” Alexander said.

The intelligence official’s criticism of journalistic scruples came after being prompted on the detention of Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, who was detained for nine hours while in transit through Heathrow airport in the UK last August.

As for Miranda’s detention itself, which was the subject of heated debate and a legal challenge which failed last month, Alexander seemed satisfied at the UK’s invocation of its Terrorism Act, which authorities attempted to use to extract materials provided by Snowden which they suspected Miranda of transporting.

The lack of transparency over whatever “media leaks” may be on the way means that their substance is the subject of speculation. Potentially, as Firedoglake reports, the White House may push for legislation resembling previous attempts to clamp down on leaks, such as a set of measures proposed in 2012 by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

That previous legislation, which was to be carried as part of an intelligence authorization bill and ultimately defeated, would have required the Director of National Intelligence to enact stringent control on contact by intelligence agencies personnel to members of the media, along with greater disciplinary action against anyone making “unauthorized disclosures.”

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Obama refused to accept NSA chief’s resignation after Snowden leaks — RT USA

The director of the National Security Agency attempted to resign shortly after Edward Snowden revealed himself as the source of leaked NSA documents in June, the Wall Street Journal now reports, but the White House refused to let him leave.

It was previously announced in mid-October that Gen. Keith Alexander would walk away from his roles atop both the NSA and US Cyber Command next March or April, but an article penned by the Journal’s Siobhan Gorman and published on Sunday suggests that the actually severity of a scandal sparked by the unauthorized disclosures attributed to Mr. Snowden almost ended the four-star general’s career early.

Citing an unnamed senior US official, Gorman wrote that the NSA chief offered to resign “shortly after” the 30-year-old former intelligence contractor outted himself on June 9 as the man behind the leaked documents that started to surface just days earlier and continue to be released to the media, as evident by new reports published as recently as last week.

The source’s claim comes in sharp contrast to the NSA’s official explanation offered last month when it was reported by Reuters that Gen. Alexander would be resigning early next year.

This has nothing to do with media leaks, the decision for his retirement was made prior; an agreement was made with the (Secretary of Defense) and the Chairman for one more year – to March 2014,” NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines told Reuters at the time.

General Alexander has served an extraordinary tenure and capably led these agencies through critical periods of growth and transition,” White House spokeswoman Laura Magnuson added to The Hill in late October. “The president looks forward to continuing to work with General Alexander until his term is complete and thanks him, and the men and women of the NSA, for their patriotism and dedication as they work every day to keep us safe.”

According to the officials who spoke with the Journal, however, the Snowden revelations indeed shook the intelligence community severely and almost caused one of the most secretive agencies in the world to undergo a spontaneous leadership change amid one of its biggest blunders yet.

It was cataclysmic,” Richard Ledgett of the NSA’s special Snowden response team said of the disclosures to the Journal. “This is the hardest problem we’ve had to face in 62 years of existence.”

Asked by reporters at the Huffington Post to comment on the Journal’s article over the weekend, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden directed journalists to remarks made by press secretary Jay Carney after Alexander’s plans to resign were reported one month earlier.

The president has full confidence in General Alexander and the leadership at the NSA and in the rank-and-file at the NSA who do extraordinary work on behalf of every American citizen and on behalf of our allies in keeping them safe,” Carney said on Oct. 28

Outside of the White House, however, other lawmakers haven’t had such nice words. Speaking to Germany’s Der Spiegel earlier this month, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said, “The head of the NSA, the president of the United States, the Congressional Intelligence Committees [and] all of these contractors we pay that were responsible for performing the background checks” should be reprimanded for the security lapse that allowed for Snowden to access and leak classified materials.

When asked how they should be punished, McCain told the magazine, “they should resign or be fired.”

Meanwhile, the White House has been working at what to do early next year when Alexander does exit his helm and the government is short-staffed by two: Alexander’s resignation will leave vacancies at the top of both the NSA and CYBERCOM, and administration officials are apparently floating the possibility of splitting those jobs up among two individuals. .

Obama refused to accept NSA chief’s resignation after Snowden leaks — RT USA.