The NSA has reportedly set new anti-leak measures in the wake of whistleblower Edward Snowden’s bombshell revelations about the agency’s surveillance programs.
NSA chief Keith Alexander announced the new security measures on Thursday. Among other things, the agency now has a “two-man rule” that requires any system administrator to have another administrator present in order to access and move any key information.
Server rooms are also locked and require two people to access. Alexander explained that the anti-leak measures will be tested at the NSA first, then implemented at the Pentagon and other intelligence agencies.
Edward Snowden leaked several top-secret NSA documents to the media. He revealed blanket surveillance programs that included gathering millions of phone records and intercepting some US internet traffic.
Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter stated of the Snowden leaks, “This was a failure to defend our own networks.” Carter added that the NSA is working out how it can better monitor individuals with access to the kind of information Snowden took. He also suggested that the Pentagon should monitor intelligence workers like it currently monitors staff at nuclear facilities.
In talking about their anti-leak measures, Alexander, Carter, and National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen have asserted that Snowden’s leaks damaged national security. Olsen explained in a forum that terrorist groups are using the information to change how they communicate and avoid detection.
Alexander also asserted, “We have concrete proof that terrorist groups and others are taking action, making changes, and making our job tougher.” But the comments are much the opposite of what John C. Inglis, the deputy director of the NSA, stated the day before in front of the House Judiciary Committee.
Inglis testified that the impact of Snowden’s NSA surveillance leaks could be harmful. However, he added, “It’s too soon to tell whether, in fact, adversaries will take great not of the things that he’s disclosed.”
Along with requiring two people to access sensitive documents and server rooms, the Pentagon will also soon launch a cybersquad of 4,000 people who will protect Defense Department systems. They will also launch cyberattacks against enemy networks when ordered to do so by the White House.
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