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Date: 1999-12-15

Die NSA wird modernisiert

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Ein schönes Stück Desinformation aus einer Agency, die
technologisch angeblich von der modernen Zeit überrollt
worden ist. Besonders zu Herzen gehend: die Aussagen
eines anonymen NSA-Spooks.

post/scrypt: Das Thränen/fläschchen, bitte!

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The National Security Agency, the U.S. spy outfit that
eavesdrops on conversations overseas to monitor threats, is
trying to shake its image of falling behind in the new high-
tech information age.

At the same time the ultra-secret NSA, initials which some
jokingly have suggested stand for "No Such Agency," is
taking a look at how to carry out its mission in the post-Cold
War era.

NSA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden on Nov. 15
declared "100 days of change" for the agency that uses spy
satellites, listening posts and other methods to collect
foreign signals intelligence.
But nearly a decade after the Soviet Union collapsed, the
NSA, like its intelligence sibling the CIA, finds itself needing
to adapt to a new world order in which the one main U.S.
adversary is gone and has been replaced by a variety of
"rogue" states and terrorist groups. ...
"We're trying to hold ourselves up to the light and look at
what it is we do in a very objective way, and decide which of
the habits that have gotten us here ... are still useful for now
and for the future, and which need to be adjusted," Hayden
said in an interview at NSA headquarters.
Lawmakers have been pushing the NSA to modernise. The
NSA received a more than 10 percent budget increase in
fiscal year 1999 over 1998, and another smaller rise in fiscal
2000 which started Oct. 1, a U.S. official said. The actual
budget amount is classified.

CIA Director George Tenet who oversees U.S. intelligence
operations, was expected to ask for more money for NSA in
next year's budget, an intelligence official said.
Hayden "knows what's expected and we are awaiting a very
comprehensive plan from him on how he is going to deal with
the twin problems he has -- how to service today's needs and
how to do the research and development for tomorrow's
needs," House of Representatives Intelligence Committee
chief Porter Goss said.

"It's an old ship and it's a different sea. We need a new
design, and on the other hand we've still got a little sailing to
do in the old sea," the Florida Republican said.

It used to be that U.S. spy agencies would use a particular
method to collect a certain type of communication, but
"today you have no idea where that information is being
routed," an intelligence official said.

"You may have somebody talking on a telephone over a land
line and the other person talking to them on a cell phone over
a satellite," the official, on condition of anonymity, said.

"You don't know how it's being routed, it's going through all
kinds of switches, the information is not where you think it is,
and that's what has created the complexity and that's what
we have to figure out how to deal with," the official said
One criticism of NSA is an entrenched workforce that needs
more of the young computer wizards that have taken Silicon
Valley by storm. The average civilian age at NSA is 43.

In the current fiscal year, NSA plans to triple or quadruple the
amount of hiring done the prior year, with a priority on
linguists, intelligence analysts and computer experts. The
number of employees at NSA is classified.

"They have a problem, technology has leapfrogged over them,
and some of them are trying to figure out how to deal with
that," said Mark Lowenthal, senior principal at consulting firm
SRA International Inc., and a former House Intelligence
Committee staff director. ...

Source Reuters
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edited by Harkank
published on: 1999-12-15
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