President Obama’s new nominee to head the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command told a Senate confirmation committee Tuesday he would use the office to put a new emphasis on building trust with the American people, and support the president’s reforms to bulk data surveillance and collection programs.
“I would attempt to be as transparent as possible with the broader nation about what we’re doing [at the NSA] and why,” Navy Vice Admiral Michael Rogers said during his Senate confirmation hearing, Reuters reports.
Rogers walked the line of reforms already announced by the President Obama, including moving the storage of bulk internet data and telephone records to a third party, and requiring the government to attain a warrant to search specific data. The vice admiral also used much softer rhetoric while discussing classified program leaker Edward Snowden than the current NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander, and purposefully did not refer to the former contractor as a “traitor.”
In his written responses to questions posed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, Rogers said he would also work to ”restore the trust” in the tech industry after documents leaked by Snowden and published by the media appeared to imply Silicon Valley’s biggest companies where complicit in widespread domestic surveillance.
However, Rogers’ nomination is a step away from two of the major reforms recommended by the panel of privacy and data experts assembled by the White House late last year. The panel called for a civilian appointment to head NSA and a job separation between NSA director and head of U.S. Cyber Command. Rogers is Obama’s pick for both positions.
While the NSA director’s position does not require Senate approval, the head of U.S. Cyber Command does. Rogers’ nomination is expected to go through without any problems.
Rogers made himself known to lawmakers last year after a massive cyberattack against the Navy occurred under his watch as head of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command – an attack representatives in Congress tried and failed to get Rogers to publicly blame on Iran.