The US National Security Agency is struggling to attract top technology workers after revelations of widespread eavesdropping practices damaged its reputation.
Speaking at a seminar in San Francisco, Anne Neuberger, special assistant to NSA Director Michael Rogers, said she feared the agency would no longer be able to recruit top technologists as it struggles with a bad public image after former contractor Edward Snowden leaked shocking secret documents to the media.
Especially, Neurberger said, the agency faces problems when approaching Silicon Valley workers, who not only have the reputation of being the world’s top notch technology minds, but also having a dislike for government regulations.
If Neuberger’s concerns prove correct, the agency might find itself in a situation in the future when it won’t be able to stay at the forefront of technology development.
Describing her role as an intermediary between the public and technology sectors, Neuberger pledged to "rebuild trust" in the wake of what she called "media leaks."
The NSA spent months "soul-searching" and now plans to engage with the media. It is already in talks to extend privacy protections abroad and has started taking meetings, she added. The NSA is eager to make versions of previously classified documents available to the public.
With distrust, "our own workforce becomes demoralised. Our programs are curtailed," she said. "We need to find a balance of experience and new ideas."