By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 24, 2009
The director of the National Security Agency, the country's largest intelligence body, has for the first time named a director of compliance to monitor adherence to rules governing the surveillance of phone calls and e-mails, as well as other agency activities.
Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander named John DeLong to the position created this month.
The House intelligence committee included a provision in an authorization bill last month that recommended the creation of such a position. The committee chairman, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), said Thursday he was encouraged that "NSA leadership takes compliance with surveillance authorities seriously and that they recognize the important balance between effective intelligence collection systems and legal protections for American citizens."
The NSA, which focuses on foreign intelligence gathering, was at the center of the controversy surrounding the Bush administration's use of warrantless wiretapping. The program was disclosed in December 2005 and replaced in January 2007 with a new effort overseen by a secret court.
A recent multi-agency report by five inspectors general said "extraordinary and inappropriate" secrecy about the warrantless wiretapping program undermined its effectiveness as a tool to fight terrorism.
DeLong has worked extensively in the technology and policy areas at the agency. He also served a stint at the Department of Homeland Security. His new job will include monitoring compliance with rules governing the protection of military and other computer systems.
DeLong will assist the inspector general and the general counsel in matters of "potential non-compliance" involving mission operations, spokeswoman Judi Emmel said.