NSA Deputy Director Inglis Discusses Surveillance Controversy On 'Morning Edition'

NPR NEWS INTERVIEW: NSA DEPUTY DIRECTOR JOHN CHRIS INGLIS DISCUSSES SURVEILLANCE CONTROVERSY

Pre-Snowden Disclosures, Inglis Says He'd Have Called Metadata Program "Properly Constrained"

January 9, 2014; Washington, D.C. – In an interview airing tomorrow on NPR's Morning Edition, retiring National Security Agency Deputy Director John Chris Inglis speaks with host Steve Inskeep about the ongoing controversy surrounding the agency's surveillance powers. During the wide-ranging conversation, Inglis says the NSA should have disclosed the metadata program on its own, that the agency would welcome a public advocate in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and that it is considering other ways of gathering this type of information.

The interview airs Friday, January 10, on NPR Member Stations (check local listings at npr.org/stations), and full audio will be available at NPR.org at approximately 9am (ET). Excerpts from the interview follow and more are available now at NPR's news blog, The Two-Way.

When asked by Inskeep if the NSA should have long ago disclosed the metadata program, Inglis responds: "In hindsight, yes. But if you'd asked me on June 4, say, just before all of this broke, if you'd said, 'Are you concerned, Chris Inglis, about the 215 metadata program?' I would have said, 'Not particularly.' Because I would have said in my own mind and I would have said to anybody who asked me that it is a properly constrained program."

Asked if Edward Snowden's disclosures helped, since he brought abouta public debate, Inglis says: "Yes, in the same way that somebody who has burned my house down has given me the opportunity to perhaps build it in a way that I would prefer."

Asked about calls for public advocates to be allowed before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and whether that would interfere with the NSA's work, Inglis says: "I would welcome that advocacy in the room. The question is how operationally efficient can you make it."

Asked if the NSA is considering other ways to implement this program, such as leaving the information with the phone company and picking it up through a warrant from the FISA, Inglis says: "We are considering that. But I think that we're not the policy engine that would decide whether or not we would then embrace one of those other choices. We would be a component of executing that choice."

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