Carlin confirmed for Justice national security post
April 1st, 2014
08:05 PM ET

Carlin confirmed for Justice national security post

By Evan Perez

The Senate voted 99-1 on Tuesday to confirm John Carlin as assistant attorney general for national security, a job that has been vacant for more than a year.

The time it took to fill the post illustrates how, with a slow-moving bureaucracy in the White House and partisan bickering that occupies the Senate, even noncontroversial nominees for national security jobs can take a while.

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Nominee to lead NSA:  Snowden not necessarily a traitor
March 11th, 2014
03:57 PM ET

Nominee to lead NSA: Snowden not necessarily a traitor

By Laura Koran

President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the beleaguered National Security Agency told lawmakers on Tuesday that Edward Snowden has placed lives at risk by leaking classified information, but stopped short of calling him a traitor.

Vice Adm. Michael Rogers told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that Snowden caused significant damage by releasing information about the NSA’s surveillance programs, but when asked by Sen. Joe Machin, a  West  Virginia Democrat, whether he viewed Snowden as a traitor, Rogers said, “I don't know that I would use the word ‘traitor.’ But I certainly do not consider him to be a hero.”

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February 14th, 2014
03:53 PM ET

NSA memo alleges co-worker unwittingly provided Snowden password for classified data

By Shimon Prokupecz

The National Security Agency forced out a civilian employee who unwittingly provided password access to former agency contractor Edward Snowden that he later used to obtain classified information he normally couldn’t access, according to an NSA memo.

The memo was sent to members of Congress and reveals for the first time that a Snowden coworker was essentially tricked into giving up his password.

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U.S. doesn't rule out possibility Snowden secretly talking to Russians
February 4th, 2014
04:54 PM ET

U.S. doesn't rule out possibility Snowden secretly talking to Russians

By Bill Mears

U.S. intelligence officials would not rule out the possibility on Tuesday that admitted National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has been meeting secretly with Russian authorities, who have given him asylum from U.S. prosecution.

The subject of Russia dominated a House Intelligence Committee hearing, featuring testimony from the director of national intelligence, as well as the heads of the CIA, FBI, and Defense Intelligence Agency.

DNI James Clapper told lawmakers it was "certainly a possibility" Russian intelligence services have spoken with Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor whose disclosure of sensitive surveillance methods has caused a political uproar.

"I would find it incredulous if they didn't," said Clapper, about any efforts to influence Snowden by the FSB, Russia's state security organization.
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U.S. intelligence chief to Edward Snowden: Turn over all documents now
January 29th, 2014
12:46 PM ET

U.S. intelligence chief to Edward Snowden: Turn over all documents now

By Tom Cohen

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Wednesday asked classified leaker Edward Snowden and his accomplices to turn over any intelligence documents they have yet to make public, warning that terrorists and other foes were "going to school" on information from disclosures so far.

Clapper spoke at a Senate hearing on the annual report of worldwide threats, and his opening statement outlined a series of crises and challenges around the world that he called the most significant he has ever experienced.

He said Snowden's disclosures have put U.S. intelligence operations and citizens at risk.

Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, is in Russia seeking permanent asylum to avoid U.S. criminal charges over the leaking of classified documents that exposed surveillance programs, including the collection of phone records for possible use in terrorism investigations.

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Navy's Michael Rogers expected to be Obama's next NSA choice
January 27th, 2014
12:33 PM ET

Navy's Michael Rogers expected to be Obama's next NSA choice

By Barbara Starr

Navy Vice Adm. Michael Rogers is expected to be nominated the next director of the embattled National Security Agency, a U.S. official confirmed to CNN.

The current director, Gen. Keith Alexander, is expected to retire in March.

Alexander's tenure has been most recently marked by controversy over intelligence leaks by former agency contractor Edward Snowden about electronic surveillance.

January 23rd, 2014
02:07 PM ET

Privacy Board: NSA telephone records program illegal

By Evan Perez

The National Security Agency program that collects data on nearly every U.S. phone call isn't legal, a privacy review board said Thursday in a newly released report.

Moreover, the five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board said it's been largely useless in thwarting terrorism.

"We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation," the board wrote in the report released Thursday.

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January 17th, 2014
01:19 PM ET

Obama announces modest changes to NSA data collection

By Tom Cohen. Jim Acosta and Mariano Castillo

Under pressure by last year's classified leaks of U.S. surveillance, President Barack Obama on Friday unveiled new guidance for intelligence-gathering and reforms intended to balance what he called the nation's vital security needs with concerns over privacy and civil liberties.

In a speech at the Justice Department, Obama sought to defend the need for the government to gather intelligence while responding to protests raised at home and abroad over programs revealed in the leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

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NSA to senator: If we were collecting your phone records, we couldn't tell you
January 14th, 2014
11:22 PM ET

NSA to senator: If we were collecting your phone records, we couldn't tell you

(CNN) - National Security Agency chief Gen. Keith Alexander, in response to a letter from Sen. Bernie Sanders, said Tuesday that nothing the agency does "can fairly be characterized as 'spying on Members of Congress or American elected officials.'"

Alexander did not offer any further details about members of Congress specifically, arguing that doing so would require him to violate the civilian protections incorporated into the surveillance programs.

"Among those protections is the condition that NSA can query the metadata only based on phone numbers reasonably suspected to be associated with specific foreign terrorist groups," Alexander wrote. FULL POST

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NSA won't say if it is "spying" on Congress
January 4th, 2014
03:45 PM ET

NSA won't say if it is "spying" on Congress

Congress is just like everyone else. That's the message the National Security Agency has for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The independent senator from Vermont sent a letter to the agency Friday, asking whether it has or is "spying" on members of Congress and other elected American officials.

The NSA provided a preliminary response Saturday that said Congress has "the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons."

"NSA's authorities to collect signals intelligence data include procedures that protect the privacy of U.S. persons. Such protections are built into and cut across the entire process. Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons," said the agency in a statement obtained by CNN.
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