Thursday, June 05, 2014

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Edward Snowden 'Probably Not' A Foreign Spy Says NSA Chief Michael Rogers

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Edward Snowden 'Probably Not' A Foreign Spy Says NSA Chief Michael Rogers
*New NSA director plays down speculation that 'our gentleman in Moscow' was working for a foreign intelligence agency
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Spencer Ackerman in Washington
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - June 5, 2014: The new director of the National Security Agency says he believes whistleblower Edward Snowden was "probably not" working for a foreign intelligence agency, despite frequent speculation and assertion by the NSA's allies to the contrary.

In one of his first public remarks since becoming NSA director in April, Admiral Michael Rogers, who also leads the military’s cybersecurity and cyberattack command, distanced himself on Tuesday from contentions that Snowden is or has been a spy for Russia or another intelligence service.
“Could he have? Possibly. Do I believe that’s the case? Probably not,” Rogers said during a cybersecurity forum hosted by Bloomberg Government.
The recently installed NSA director struck a more nuanced tone on the man he called “our gentleman in Moscow” than his predecessor, Keith Alexander, or many of his congressional champions – chief among them his namesake Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, who has frequently intimated that Snowden is a Russian spy.
“You gotta be very balanced. I thought he was an intelligent individual, articulate. [He] seemed fairly arrogant to me,” the NSA’s Rogers said on Snowden’s interview with NBC last week.
“He clearly believes in what he’s doing. I question that; I don’t agree with it. I fundamentally disagree with what he did. I believe it was wrong, I believe it was illegal.”
Rogers declined to say that there were no other Snowdens waiting to leak documents from the NSA. He sounded cautious about how many documents Snowden actually took from the NSA, despite a still-classified Defense Intelligence Agency assessment asserting that Snowden absconded with 1.7 million documents – an assessment based on Snowden’s internal access to NSA documents.
“We have a fairly good idea here, and I’m not going to get into specifics here,” Rogers said.
In another departure from past practice, Rogers confirmed the broad outline of a New York Times story based on the Snowden disclosures that reported NSA’s mass collection of digitized images of people’s facesand other biometric identifiers.
“We use facial recognition as a tool to help us understand these foreign intelligence targets. Counter-terrorism is another big area – this has probably had more impact for us in the counterterrorism arena than anywhere else,” Rogers said.
The Guardian reported in February that the NSA has aided its British counterpart, GCHQ, in collecting imagery from millions of unsuspecting users of Yahoo webcam chats, which GCHQ used for experiments with automated facial recognition software. At the time, months before Rogers became NSA director, the NSA declined to answer questions about its involvement in the effort.
At the Tuesday event, Rogers pledged increased candor with the public about NSA’s operations, which he acknowledged was a cultural challenge for America’s most secret intelligence agency. But he indicated a desire to move the agency out from under the shadow of the Snowden revelations.
“One of the things that I try to tell the workforce out there is: this is not what is going to define us,” he said. “We cannot go into this hunched-down crunch. We have an important mission.”
Echoing a year’s worth of reluctant statements by intelligence leaders, Rogers told Reuters last month that transparency would be key to restoring confidence in the NSA, even as he declined to criticize the broad surveillance that prompted widespread outrage.
Fulfilling the agency’s transparency pledge has been complicated by measures from the US director of national intelligence to clamp down on public interaction, even on unclassified matters, without the approval of the secretive agencies’ press monitors. Critics, noting the government’s selective and incomplete intelligence disclosures, consider the NSA and its allies more interested in reasserting control over its public image than in shedding light on its practices and authorities.
Occasionally animated during his talk, Rogers appeared relaxed and jocular. While rejecting charges of NSA wrongdoing, he said he was open to public debate about the proper scope of the agency’s surveillance authorities – though he neglected to mention that the agency and its allies worked behind the scenes last month to weaken privacy and transparency provisions in a major surveillance reform bill.
“A broad dialogue of what we’re doing and why is a good thing for us as a nation. I don’t question that for one minute,” said Rogers, who repeatedly described himself, to laughter, as a “direct” person.
Rogers declined to discuss Bowe Bergdahl, a former Taliban captive in Afghanistan whom the Obama administration traded for five Taliban leaders detained at Guantanamo Bay. Responding generically to a question about the NSA monitoring the five ex-detainees, Rogers noted that the agency has “the means to track individuals with a foreign intelligence dimension to them” but said he could not guarantee tracking “every individual constantly.”
More broadly, Rogers warned of a danger in inflating national security threats to justify the expansion of government security powers.
“There are groups and individuals out there who if they had their way, we would no longer exist as a nation,” Rogers said.
“Now, I’m not one who’s going to sit here and overhype the threat [or say] that in the name of this threat we have to make dramatic changes and curtail our rights, because if we go down that road, in the end, they’ve won. If we change who we are and what we believe and what we represent in the name of security, they have won. I have always believed that.”

*Link for This article compiled by K. V. Seth from reliable sources Spencer Ackerman in Washington
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*Photograph: IPF (International Pool of Friends) + DTN News / otherwise source stated
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News