National Security Agency director General Keith Alexander defended the controversial programs disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and said Thursday his agency was taking steps to prevent future leaks by working to reducing the number of system administrators-the same position Snowden held-by 90 percent.
He also said the surveillance programs had been “grossly mischaracterized by the press,” while staring directly at media assembled at Fordham University for a keynote panel featuring the NSA chief, CIA director John Brennan and FBI director Robert Mueller on the final day of the International Conference on Cyber Security.
“No one has knowingly or willfully disobeyed the law or tried to invade your civil liberties or privacies,” he added.
Alexander said the agency was transitioning to a cloud structure that would rely on machines instead of people to transfer secure data.
“What we’ve done is put people in loops of transferring data and securing networks-doing what machines are probably better at doing,” Alexander said.
He said the plan to transition to a cloud system “cuts down number of system administrators. That would address vulnerabilities. It would also address the number of system administrators we have, not fast enough, but we plan to reduce the number of system administrators by 90 percent to make networks more defensible and secure.
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