New NSA chief Michael Rogers: Agency has lost Americans’ trust


The NSA has lost the trust of the American people as a result of the Edward Snowden leaks, and needs to be more transparent to gain it back, the NSA’s new director said Wednesday in his first public comments since taking control of the embattled spy agency.

“I tell the [NSA] workforce out there as the new guy, let’s be honest with each other, the nation has lost a measure of trust in us,” Admiral Michael Rogers told a conference of the Women in Aerospace conference in Crystal City, Va.

In the future, he said, “If we make a mistake, you will hear about it. That’s my job as director and I have no problem with it. … We are not going to hide our mistakes.”

(Also on POLITICO: Surveillance orders declined in 2013)

“The whole media leaks issue as we call it, has caused quite a stir,” said Rogers, who was sworn in as director of NSA and assumed command of U.S. Cyber Command at the beginning of April.

Rogers didn’t lay complete responsibility at the doorstep of the NSA: He blamed public mistrust on the way the newsmedia had framed the issues raised in the Snowden revelations.

“From my perspective the debate and the dialogue to date have been very uneven,” he said.

“Your neighbors are saying to you: ‘Man, I’ve been listening about you on the TV and reading about you in the papers and I had no idea what a bad person you are,’” he joked.

He said the NSA and its staff had to work to “earn and sustain” Americans’ trust, but could not be too open about the work of the ultra-secret agency, which specializes in electronic eavesdropping..

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