In the wake of embarrassing leaks by Edward Snowden about the National Security Agency’s domestic and international intelligence gathering, the agency is trying to figure out how it lost control of this information and how to prevent it from happening again.
As to how it happened, NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander has a pretty good idea, at least at a high level: Too many people with access.
Alexander told the House Select Permanent Intelligence Committee on June 18 that NSA now has at least 1,000 systems administrators, a growing number of them contractors, like Snowden. Administrators are defined by their privileges on IT systems, their ability to access, define and change just about anything they want. One thousand is a lot of administrators to keep track of. Many people, Alexander included, think it is too many by at least one.