Meet Obama’s Lawyer at the NSA, the Next Guy About to Undergo Some Serious Surveillance

Legislators and pundits have been baying for the blood of James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, over last week’s revelations of wide-ranging NSA surveillance. But the next person on their hit-list could be someone even Washington doesn’t know too well. Meet Rajesh [Raj] De, the general counsel for the US National Security Agency, and the lawyer with perhaps the biggest influence on the Obama administration’s approach to large-scale surveillance.

De is a publicity-shy policy wonk. What makes him so influential is that as well as having been a lawyer in private practice, he has worked for the Senate Homeland Security Committee, held a senior policy job at the Justice Department, and—before leaving for the NSA a year ago—was deputy staff secretary and then staff secretary at the White House, the latter a coveted position in which De reviewed “every single piece of paper before it goes to President Obama.”

And, as this lengthy Feb. 27 speech indicates, De is insistent that the NSA is doing nothing wrong. In the speech—worth reading in full as a window into the intelligence establishment’s mindset and view of itself—he contends that the NSA is overly diligent when it comes to legally and properly conducting surveillance in the United States and around the world. His job is all the harder because NSA is also being buffeted, he says, by enormous and rapidly changing threats on the one hand—and legal and technical challenges on the other, thanks to the explosive growth in many forms of communications technology.

Read more at Quartz

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.