Two days following Edward Snowden’s appearance on TED, deputy director of the NSA Richard Ledgett made a live stream appearance and was interviewed by Chris Anderson on Thursday.
Like many, Ledgett didn’t know Snowden was going to appear on Tuesday. ”The actions he took were inappropriate because he put people’s lives at risk in the long run”, said Ledgett. He argued that Snowden shared crucial tools and capabilities of the NSA with potential adversaries who will circumvent surveillance. He noted that many terrorists and targets have moved away from channels that the NSA can track. Ledgett later explained that the PRISM program was hugely vital to the prevention of targeted attacks on the US.
When Anderson brought up the issue of transparency with the public on their activities, Ledgett responded, “I think people have legitimate concerns about transparency and secrecy”. He admitted that the NSA haven’t done a good job with transparency. Although he held firm on his stance that internal capabilities shouldn’t be shared publicly .
On the topic of the privacy of every day citizens, Ledgett indicated that the NSA have minimization procedures to protect them and that they make sure their privacy is protected. ”If you’re not connected to one of the targets you’re not of interest to us”, said Ledgett.
“Learn the facts… don’t rely on headlines, don’t rely on sound-bytes, don’t rely on one-sided conversations… Look at the data”, said Ledgett in closing.
The full interview is available for viewing from TED below:
photo by Gisela Giardino on Flickr