Outgoing NSA Deputy Director John Inglis Interviewed on National Public Radio

Outgoing NSA Deputy Director John Inglis Interviewed on National Public Radio

January 10, 2013

National Security Agency Deputy Director John C. “Chris” Inglis has spent most of his time recently defending the NSA from revelations by former contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden disclosed that the agency was gathering phone records of millions of Americans. Inglis retires Friday. Before stepping down, he talked to Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep about running a spy agency in a democracy. Below is a transcript of the unedited audio of their conversation.

Listen to the interview via NPR’s Morning Edition

Unedited transcript of full Inglis Interview

DAVID GREENE, HOST: This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I’m David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: And I’m Steve Inskeep. We walked, this week, into a vast building covered in reflective glass, the headquarters of the National Security Agency. We met there with John C. “Chris” Inglis. He’s the agency’s No. 2, its top civilian beneath the general who runs it, Keith Alexander. Inglis was in his final week at the NSA.

STEVE INSKEEP (HOST): OK, is it disappointing to have your final year at the NSA look like this past year has?

CHRIS INGLIS (NSA): Yes and no. Certainly yes, in terms of the shock and dismay that’s been induced in the American public, and some of the people who stand in the shoes of the American public, the Congress, about NSA. The accusations of misbehavior, which have not been borne out. That’s certainly disappointing. But given all that I have gotten from NSA, it’s been a year when I can pay back. It’s been a year when I can help reinforce the workforce.

It’s a year when I can step up and be held accountable for describing what the workforce does, describing what the mission is. And so, to that extent, I’ve been pleased that I stayed an extra year. Most deputy directors at NSA, on average, serve about three and a half years. And I’m sitting now at about seven and a half years. And so by rights, I would have left three years ago.

But we stayed, Gen. Alexander and I both stayed for a combination of reasons year by year. In the beginning of this year, we knew that we were going to head into some financial difficulties. The nation is trying to figure its way through sequestration. There were some furloughs that were on the table for the Department of Defense. And so we decided that we would stay through this year, and I’m very glad I did.

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