Likely Incoming NSA Head Still Thinks the Problem is PR

If only us dumb citizens understood more than what Snowden was saying, even though his revelations are prompting policy changes


Meet the new boss, condescending as the old boss.
U.S. Navy

Navy Vice Admiral Michael Rogers is the president's pick to take over the National Security Agency from outgoing Gen. Keith Alexander. At a Senate committee hearing earlier in the week, he promised to improve the transparency of the NSA in the wake of the current metadata surveillance scandal going around:

"I will be an active partner in implementing the changes directed by the president with respect to aspects of the National Security Agency mission and my intent is to be as transparent as possible in doing so, and in the broader execution of my duties, if confirmed."

The problem, though, as Defense One notes, is that Rogers doesn't seem to think there's an issue with what the NSA is doing, but rather a problem with the general public's understanding of what the NSA is doing. He's a firm resident of the "If the people understood what we're doing better they'd agree with us, not Edward Snowden" camp. Defense One quoted him from the hearing:

"I believe one of the takeaways form the situation over the last few months is that as an intelligence professional…I have to be capable of communicating in a way that highlights what we are doing and why to the greatest extent possible. "One of my challenges is I have to be able to speak in broad terms in a way that most people can understand. And I look forward to that challenge."

It's been a common response to Snowden's revelations that us simple Americans don't really understand what the NSA is up to, and we would be just fine with their metadata collection if they had done a better job explaining it. Except, as Jacob Sullum noted earlier today, we actually are getting a better sense of what metadata is and its collection probably reveals even more than most Americans thought.