In the next chapter of the PRISM scandal, Reuters is reporting today that the NSA will be eliminating 90 percent of its system administrators. According to the Reuters article, the NSA employed 1,000 system administrators to help run the agency's networks. Edward Snowden, the individual blamed for leaking information about the overreach of the NSA programs, was one of those system administrators.
Granted, 1,000 system administrators is a lot, and the broader the access the greater frequency of potential security issues, but eliminating 90 percent of the workforce comes at an awkward time for the White House. President Obama has recently taken to the campaign trail again to help refocus on the US economy and jobs, amid several political controversies, including the PRISM scandal. And, a recent report from the ITIF, estimates that the US has the potential to lose $22 to $35 billion by 2016 due to the global effect of the PRISM program.
Today, the President announced proposals for reforming the NSA and rebuilding American confidence in the NSA programs. But, that confidence seems to come at the price of jobs in this case. One of the least transparent White House organizations, the President also said, "We can and must be more transparent."
Philip Lieberman, President and CEO of Lieberman Software (http://www.liebsoft.com), commented on today's events, saying:
"Today, NSA confirmed what we have been saying for years: persistent and broad access to sensitive systems is inappropriate. This also points out the other issue of privileged access, namely the problem of using contractors and controlling their access. The same situation occurs in the cloud where contractors are used to keep the price down of managing and running these environments, but here too, there is effectively unlimited access to those that do not have a direct fiduciary responsibility to the provider. Technology can put a clamp on this access, but without it, trust and prayer are the only security models."
Read the full Reuters article: NSA to cut system administrators by 90 percent to limit data access