POLITICS: PennAve

NSA nominee Michael Rogers tells senators U.S. intelligence operations will be more open

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National Security,PennAve,NSA,Surveillance,Tim Mak,Cybersecurity,Mike Rogers

The president's nominee to head the National Security Agency told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday that he would add transparency to the country's intelligence operations, expressing openness about delivering speeches about the agency's mission and working with Congress to enact new cybersecurity legislation.

Sen. John McCain recommended that Vice Admiral Michael Rogers "give some speeches in various venues where you explain better to the American people exactly what you're doing ... and why you're doing it."

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia and the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, echoed McCain's thinking.

"We can be a little more communicative with why we are doing this, what led us to these kinds of decisions," Rogers said of the current intelligence apparatus, in response to Chambliss. "In the end, it boils down to an assessment of risk, in terms of our security as a nation, as well as our rights as individuals."

Rogers was appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee because he was nominated both as NSA chief and to head U.S. Cyber Command. The position of NSA director does not require Senate confirmation.

Sen. Angus King, an independent senator from Maine, expressed concern that the two simultaneous jobs might be too much for any one person.

"I just think it's something that we are really going to have to think about, along with the administration, going forward. I understand the desire to have it in one person, but boy, I would think running the NSA itself is more than a full-time job," he said.

Rogers replied, "I will be busy, sir."

The nominee also pledged to work with Congress on new cybersecurity legislation.

"It is only a matter of time before we start to see more destructive activity," he said. "That is perhaps the greatest concern of all to me."

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