The National Security Agency's (NSA) new chief, Admiral Mike Rodgers, has claimed that foreign governments have changed their behaviour towards the US since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents suggesting that the US was carrying out mass surveillance operations.
"They're changing the way they communicate," Rodgers said at the Reuters Cybersecurity Summit in Washington.
Rodgers, who took over from Keith Alexander in April, told delegates that some NSA staff were left "confused" by continuing criticism of the NSA's operations because the agency abided by US law.
However, he admitted that its programmes needed to be better explained rather than overhauled.
"The dialogue to date that we have had for much of the last nine months or so from my perspective I wish was a little bit broader, had a little more context to it, and was a little bit more balanced," he said.
Rodgers acknowledged that the organisation should not have allowed Snowden to steal the material but branded the former NSA contractor as being neither "accountable nor responsible". He said that if any of the NSA's current employees found themselves in a similar situation to Snowden, he would expect them to bring such information to the agency's attention.
"I would tell them, ‘I would expect you to stand up and bring it to our attention because in the end, as the director, I am the accountable individual and I need your help to let me know if we are making mistakes'," he suggested.
As for the material that Snowden has got hold of, Rodgers claimed that most of it has little to do with privacy issues and abuses that are being suggested.
"Mr Snowden stole from the US government and national security a large amount of very classified information, a small portion of which is germane to his apparent central argument as regards NSA and privacy issues. The great majority of which has zero to do with those viewpoints," he said.
He characterises this as "a broad range about NSA capabilities against a range of traditional military targets, issues of concern to the nation", rather than anything to do with data on US citizens and privacy rights.
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