The National Security Agency's new director, Admiral Michael Rogers, admits that the agency has lost the trust of the American people in the wake of leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The NSA’s new director made this statement on Wednesday in his first public comments since taking control of the spy agency.
"I tell the [NSA] workforce out there as the new guy, let’s be honest with each other, the nation has lost a measure of trust in us," Admiral Michael Rogers said at a conference of the Women in Aerospace in Crystal City, VA.
Rogers said that, moving forward, the NSA will admit its mistakes and try to rectify them.
"If we make a mistake, you will hear about it. That’s my job as director and I have no problem with it. … We are not going to hide our mistakes."
While Rogers was open about the NSA's failings, he also said that the public's mistrust of the agency has helped drive negative media coverage.
"From my perspective the debate and the dialogue to date have been very uneven," he said.
"Your neighbors are saying to you: ‘Man, I’ve been listening about you on the TV and reading about you in the papers and I had no idea what a bad person you are,’" he joked.
For the remainder of his remarks, Rogers asked the tech industry to work more closely with the agency to help protect U.S. interests online and promised that the agency would be more transparent about its dealings than it has been in the past.
Rogers did not address directly issues related to the agency's vast – and sometimes warrantless – collection of mobile phone and internet metadata, nor did he discuss the agency's activities abroad.