NSA Job Opening

The NSA is looking for a Civil Liberties & Privacy Officer. It appears to be an internal posting.

The NSA Civil Liberties & Privacy Officer (CLPO) is conceived as a completely new role, combining the separate responsibilities of NSA’s existing Civil Liberties and Privacy (CL/P) protection programs under a single official. The CLPO will serve as the primary advisor to the Director of NSA for ensuring that privacy is protected and civil liberties are maintained by all of NSA’s missions, programs, policies and technologies. This new position is focused on the future, designed to directly enhance decision making and to ensure that CL/P protections continue to be baked into NSA’s future operations, technologies, tradecraft, and policies. The NSA CLPO will consult regularly with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence CLPO, privacy and civil liberties officials from the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice, as well as other U.S. government, private sector, public advocacy groups and foreign partners.

EDITED TO ADD (9/23): Better link here that allows new registration for prospective applicants—it’s Job ID 1039797.

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 1:14 PM47 Comments


Brent Longborough September 23, 2013 1:26 PM

Sorry if I appear cynical, but on the face of it, this job posting appears to meet the definition of “sinecure”.

Skeptical September 23, 2013 1:40 PM

“to ensure that CL/P protections continue to be baked into NSA’s future operations, technologies, tradecraft, and policies”

Someone at the NSA just doesn’t get it.

gonzo September 23, 2013 1:48 PM

Appears to be window dressing. Yelling “squirrel” as the privacy hounds are sniffing deeper and deeper into these programs.

A more cynical view is that it appears to be calculated to intrigue folks with skills + a privacy mindset, who can then be mired in secrecy restrictions and, thus, silenced.

Verdict: meh

For myself, I’m anxiously waiting on the next document dump or other material reveal from Snowden and co.

If they were smart, especially since Bruce has seen some of the stuff, they would peel of a very specific technology focused piece of this — for example commercial, open source, etc., disk encryption or consumer/business router and networking products — and let Bruce do the deep dive into the information, evaluate it, and write the article.

I wouldn’t hold my breath for names to be named, but information about the backdoors through consumer router firewalls, or in encryption products, would be fascinating.

Fine Print Analysis September 23, 2013 1:48 PM

This posting screams two things to me:

One, the head of the NSA is tired of ignoring two people and would rather ignore one instead.

Two, this has to be the easiest job ever because nothing you would try to do would ever be implemented or indeed even matter.

DPB September 23, 2013 1:52 PM

I know the more people involve the lower the security but this does seem to be a responsibility best left to a committee rather than an individual. The selection process should be done outside the NSA because of the vested interests of the director’s and the organizations of getting a compliant person in the position. Under most circumstances I would suggest the Attorney General but lately the people in that position have been just as compliant to the wants of the agencies over the protection of civil rights and privacy.

stuke September 23, 2013 3:10 PM

The NSA Civil Liberties & Privacy Officer (CLPO) is conceived as a completely new role, combining the separate responsibilities of NSA’s existing Civil Liberties and Privacy (CL/P) protection programs under a single official.<<

Whose Black Lab are they considering?

kashmarek September 23, 2013 3:17 PM

Smoke & mirrors.

Hello…have they FIRED the people that FAILED to do this job.

New position? Weren’t they supposed to be doing this all along? Announcing this is simply PR.

This is stuff you don’t talk about (lightening rod effect) unless you have to…oh, wait, maybe they have to. It must be getting hot in there with all that data boiling around them.

Steve September 23, 2013 3:36 PM

I’m not sure the job is a sinecure: rather, the job might be to come up with tortuous justifications, for privileged eyes only, of why whatever-it-is-the-NSA-wants-to-do does not in fact violate some definition of “civil liberties and privacy” invented for the purpose.

A bit like being an attorney at the FISC, but replace “constitution” with “civil liberties and privacy”.

Rick Hanson September 23, 2013 3:38 PM

The last sentence reads like, “And get together with your counterparts in other agencies to drink, smoke cigars and laugh, laugh, laugh. Privacy?! Hahahaha!”

Graham Shevlin September 23, 2013 4:19 PM

Whoever gets the job will probably be expected to function like a media outlet ombudsman. They will have to defend the NSA leadership approach to privacy at all times, no matter how ludicrous it makes them look. In fact, “must be willing to come across as a spineless sycophantic apologist for leadership policy” ought to be part of the job description.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons September 23, 2013 5:41 PM

Reminds me of the pronouncement from Microsoft about ten years ago for an executive position of security officer. Ha, ha , ha. No one I knew wanted the job.

Raging Bullrun September 23, 2013 6:14 PM


I wouldn’t hold my breath for names to be named, but information about the backdoors through consumer router firewalls, or in encryption products, would be fascinating.

The Guardian for some reason redacted the name/vendor of the “encryption chips” that were backdoored by NSA (the ones mentioned in NSA’s budget request). Why did the Guardian feel the need to redact this when they have exposed Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc.? I would assume this is what helped them gain access to “private VPN’s” since many such VPN’s run on specialized hardware that does the crypto at the metal.

I think it is in the public’s interest to know which vendors are participating in NSA surveillance so that we can avoid their products. This will hopefully force them out of business which will allow uncompromised competitors to arise. Of course, the “clean” competitors still have to abide by NSL’s, which means any such company would have to be foreign. And if they are foreign, there is no good reason to believe the Chinese or Europeans wont force them to do the same thing.

So, it boils down to whom would you rather have spy on you? The Chinese or the NSA? I think it is unreasonable at this point in time to believe that we can ever have access to clean hardware, which means that it is unreasonable to believe that private citizens will ever have privacy from government snooping. To think otherwise is a pipe dream at this point. Our only hope will be perhaps decades away when microchip manufacturing becomes so cheap that individuals can create them at home (3D printing).

This is why Bruce is right that it will take political change and not “re-engineering of the Internet” to fix this. No matter what you do in an engineering sense, NSA will have the budget and means to compromise it. On the other hand, political reform doesn’t look promising either as the majority of both Democrats and Republicans are on NSA’s side here.

Denial of Service September 23, 2013 6:17 PM

We should all apply. In fact, we should encourage everyone we know, parents, children, local milkman, to apply.

Think of it, a denial of service effectively because so many want the job.

It would also send a great message that mom and pop, joe blow, etc, are all interested in privacy.

So go ahead, sign up today! And while you’re there, sign up some friends and neighbors as well!

Dirk Praet September 23, 2013 6:37 PM

Larry Speaks would probably make for an excellent candidate, but he’s already 73. Then again, Dianne Feinstein is 80 and still considered lucid enough to chair the Senate Intelligence Committee. A pool of other interesting characters for this position (including resume) can be found here. Look for one Ricky Santangelo.

@ NobodySpecial

+1 . Again.

What’s that Iraqi guy from the last gulf war doing these days?

Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf (also known as “Baghdad Bob” or “Comical Ali”) these days is apparently living in the United Arab Emirates with his family.

JohnP September 23, 2013 7:01 PM

Complete waste.

To me the 4th amendment is extremely clear. I know what papers are and I know what communications are. Without a court order, don’t sniff anything related to those – even electronic or over any cellular or POTS phones.

Someone September 23, 2013 9:47 PM

Y’know, maybe if they changed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to stop discouraging domestic “cyber security experts” from independent learning, more would be inclined to join the Federal government. Most “cyber security” colleges nowadays just regurgitate Information Assurance policies due to either incompetence on the part of the college or worrying about teaching how hacking works to students for fear that they’ll gain the ire of the FBI.

As it stands, you have several large entities of the Federal government (DHS & DoD) saying that they want hackers, they need hackers, they must have people who understand computer and network security. On the other hand, you have other entities of the Federal Government (FBI, DoJ) who treat hackers far worse than they treat rapists and murderers.

Prinz van der Schemering September 23, 2013 11:01 PM


You’ve made the funniest remark of the day.

Yes, anyone applying will receive a background check. The NSA should have at least a terabyte on each potential applicant by now.

So how will they weed them out? Photo-plus-dart-board method? Works every time for me … YMMV 🙂

65535 September 24, 2013 1:25 AM

I have to agree with the poster who calls this new position “sinecure”.

If you read the NSA ad from back to front (as all legal documents should be read) you will note that it requires having and/or getting a security clearance of unknown level, the salary is up to $173,000 and the occupation group of 0905 (General Attorney). That cuts down the field a bit! The NSA could just choose an inside boot licker that would be putty in their hands.

What happens if said “compliance officer” decides to leave? Where does he/she go? Who do does this compliance officer contact outside of the “company” to alert of wrong doing within NSA? How is NSA reprimanded and “reformed?”

Along those lines, what exactly happens to all of those executives who have signed on with the NSA (FaceDisgrace, Applerotten, Macrosoft, Giggle, YouLube, A0L, Palsquawk and so on)? When these executives “signed-on” and were granted blanket immunity against privacy lawsuits what happens when they want out of their deal?

Do these “pillars of business” just remain intimidate with threats of incarceration? Or, do they go “Snowden Style”? Can they ever talk about what they actually did? I wonder.

As for the NSA job placement ad I am starting to think that the term “National Security” is just another term for circumventing the Fourth Amendment. And, I beginning to think NSA’s budget doesn’t need to be enlarged by another $173,000 and perks. The opposite, NSA’s budget needs to be reduced by $173,000 times 10^4.

Mike the goat September 24, 2013 1:35 AM

I heard from a friend who shall be nameless in the whitehat community that the gubberment has on occasion offered to pay prominent individuals good money for them to supply their next 0day rather than disclose and release.

Mike the goat September 24, 2013 1:37 AM

.. Whups sent prematurely (perhaps I need some of the drugs those spammers have been offering?)

Given that – do they really expect us to believe they are the “good guys” and they are acting within the confines of the constitution?

AlexK September 24, 2013 2:45 AM

I believe that a certain Edward Snowden was never formally dismissed, so he could apply for said internal vacancy – if you need a PR stunt, that’s just the one.

Not wondering September 24, 2013 8:12 AM

To those who want Snowden to apply…

I’m certain he would be invited to come for an interview.

kingsnake September 24, 2013 4:37 PM

He’ll end up in the Ft. Meade basement, like Milton Waddams, searching for his red swingline stapler …

Snort September 24, 2013 7:50 PM


I actually thought about taking a graduate level computer forensic class through my local university just for larks. Until I found out that this /graduate level/ class does not actually teach any “hands-on” computer forensics despite its name. The class consists of three parts (1) law (2) policy (3) information theory. I started looking though the course catalog and I realized that one could get a graduate degree in computer sciences and never once lay a hand on a program like Encase. [Can I say Encase? Will the FBI come and arrest me just for using that word?] It was a real /facepalm moment.

Now, no more shenanigans, no more tomfoolery, no more ballyhoo. September 27, 2013 1:57 PM

Why shouldn’t I work for the N.S.A.? That’s a tough one, but I’ll take a shot. Say I’m working at N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I’m real happy with myself, ’cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never met, never had no problem with, get killed. Now the politicians are sayin’, “Oh, send in the Marines to secure the area” ’cause they don’t give a shit. It won’t be their kid over there, gettin’ shot. Just like it wasn’t them when their number got called, ’cause they were pullin’ a tour in the National Guard.

It’ll be some kid from Southie takin’ shrapnel in the ass. And he comes back to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, ’cause he’ll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile, he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And, of course, the oil companies used the skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain’t helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. And they’re takin’ their sweet time bringin’ the oil back, of course, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin’ play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain’t too long ’til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic.

So now my buddy’s out of work and he can’t afford to drive, so he’s got to walk to the fuckin’ job interviews, which sucks ’cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin’ him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he’s starvin’, ’cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat, the only blue plate special they’re servin’ is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I’m holdin’ out for somethin’ better. I figure fuck it, while I’m at it why not just shoot my buddy, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president.”


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