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Meet the NSA officer charged with balancing surveillance and civil liberties

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 15, 2012

Aliya Sternstein

At the National Security Agency, compliance with information-sharing policies and privacy laws means protecting civil liberties. That’s where John DeLong comes in. In 2009, he filled a new position at NSA: compliance director. The gig involves coordinating with analysts throughout the chain of command to pre-empt potential violations, as well as cooperating with other NSA oversight managers to avoid stepping on toes. 

“We’re nothing if we lose the confidence of the American people,” DeLong says. “The creation of this position is a very outward sign of an inward focus—a focus that existed before the creation of my position. We’re constantly learning. We’re constantly trying to draw best practices externally, and . . . we’re trying to also contribute and be part of that discussion about compliance best practices.”


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