The National Security Agency has endured six months of criticism from media outlets since Edward Snowden released documents disclosing the agency's massive global surveillance apparatus. With its back against the wall, NSA head Keith Alexander and Snowden task force head Richard Ledgett are speaking directly to the press as a means of getting ahead of the story, with the hope of painting themselves — and Snowden himself — in a new light.
In an interview with Reuters, Ledgett expressed that Snowden's leaks had proven "cataclysmic" for the NSA, though he offered no apologies for how the agency conducts his eavesdropping. However, with regard to a review panel recommending limits on its powers and installing civilian leadership, he did admit that technology "had gotten ahead of policy." At this point, the typically public-averse NSA must put a face to the scandal,
"What we don't want is the next person to do the same thing, knowing they can strike the same deal"
The subject of how to rein Snowden back in weighs heavily on both men, however. While Ledgett criticizes how Snowden went about his leak, he told both Reuters and CBS News that he's open to discussing amnesty provided there are assurances that no further leaks would occur. Gen. Alexander is less forgiving however, stating, "[What] we don't want is the next person to do the same thing, race off to Hong Kong and to Moscow with another set of data, knowing they can strike the same deal."
Both figures will appear on 60 Minutes on Sunday to state their cases. It should be noted that it's in their agency's best interest to discredit Snowden and depict him as reckless. However, with Snowden evidently content to run down the clock on his temporary asylum in Moscow, creating an avenue for ending the relentless stream of coverage surrounding their spying programs must certainly be a priority.