The NSA is going to cut 90% of its 1,000 sysadmins in a bid to reduce the risk of leaks. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was a network administrator, charged with keeping the machines running on the network of vast data-centers used by the NSA to harvest, store and analyze unimaginably large quantities of data.
So, after this change, the NSA -- which now has nearly every compromising communication about every human alive -- will no longer have to worry about its sysadmins leaking its secrets. But it will have downsized its operational staff (and thus its capability to repel hackers and attackers) by 90 percent. I feel better already.
This is like a plutonium storehouse reducing the risk of guards selling fissiles on the black market by firing all of them and leaving a couple of dudes at the door with walkie-talkies.
"What we're in the process of doing - not fast enough - is reducing our system administrators by about 90 percent," he said.
The remarks came as the agency is facing scrutiny after Snowden, who had been one of about 1,000 system administrators who help run the agency's networks, leaked classified details about surveillance programs to the press.
Before the change, "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.
NSA to cut system administrators by 90 percent to limit data access [Jonathan Allen/Reuters]
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.