Press Release | Jan. 29, 2014

NSA Announces New Civil Liberties and Privacy Officer

FORT MEADE, Md.  –  

GEN Keith Alexander, Commander U.S. Cyber Command/Director NSA/Chief CSS, announced today that well-known privacy expert Rebecca Richards will serve as the National Security Agency's new Civil Liberties and Privacy Officer. She most recently worked as the Senior Director for Privacy Compliance at the Department of Homeland Security.

Portrait of Rebecca Richards  NSA Civil Liberty and Privacy OfficerPortrait of Rebecca Richards NSA Civil Liberty and Privacy Officer

Selected to lead the new NSA Civil Liberties and Privacy Office at the agency's Fort Meade headquarters Ms. Richards' primary job will be to provide expert advice to the Director and oversight of NSA's civil liberties and privacy related activities. She will also develop measures to further strengthen NSA's privacy protections.

Last summer in a statement about reforms to NSA's foreign intelligence programs President Obama announced several initiatives to give the public greater confidence in the o versight of these programs. The creation of a full-time Civil Liberties and Privacy Officer at NSA was among the reforms cited.

Ms. Richards' efforts will be in addition to the ongoing work of the agency's Office of the General Counsel and its Office of the Director of Compliance.

"NSA continues to take positive actions to ensure we protect both civil liberties and national security " GEN Alexander said. "After a rigorous and lengthy interview process I've selected an expert whose background will bring additional perspectives and insight to our foreign intelligence activities. I'm confident that Ms. Richards is the right person with the right experience for the job. She will report directly to me and will advise me and our senior leadership team to ensure privacy and civil liberties considerations remain a vital driver for all our strategic decisions particularly in the areas of technology and processes."

The American people he continued "count on the men and women of NSA to do their job to keep us safe at home and abroad. As rules and oversight evolve over time adding a single official who is dedicated to these issues will help us stay on top of changes and bring new perspectives to how we can best consider civil liberties and privacy while conducting our mission. I also expect Ms. Richards will work closely with civil liberties and privacy experts outside of government to bring additional innovative practices to our existing civil liberties and privacy programs."

NSA is a foreign intelligence agency that has been in the trenches of protecting the nation for more than 60 years. Unwavering in the commitment to national security and accountability agency officials emphasize that earning the American public's trust is paramount.