Embarrassed by Leaks, NSA to Replace 90% of System Administrators with Automation

Tuesday, August 13, 2013
NSA Director Keith Alexander

Determined to not repeat the embarrassing Edward Snowden affair, the National Security Agency (NSA) is eliminating 90% of its system administrators and replacing them with machines.


Snowden was a contract employee and system administrator for Booz Allen Hamilton who used his top-secret security access to NSA computers and databases to divulge classified operations about domestic snooping on Americans. He was one of about a thousand system administrators, most of whom will soon be out of a job now that the NSA is automating the work to reduce the risk of any more intelligence leaks.


NSA leaders, however, claim the switch began before the Snowden incident.


Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, told a cyber-security conference in New York City that automation would improve security and efficiency.


“What we’ve done is we’ve put people in the loop of transferring data, securing networks and doing things that machines are probably better at doing,” Alexander said in explaining the switch.


By relying more on machines and less on humans, NSA’s networks will be “more defensible and more secure,” as well as faster, Alexander stated, according to Reuters. He noted that a new technology will be employed, which he described as a “thin virtual cloud structure.”


Other security measures undertaken by the NSA, according to Alexander, include restricting thumb drives and requiring all system administrators to always have a second person working alongside of them.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

NSA to cut system administrators by 90 percent to limit data access (by Jonathan Allen, Reuters)

NSA Chief: Solution To Stopping The Next Snowden Is Replacing His Former Job With A Machine (by Gerry Smith, Huffington Post)


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