Ex-NSA Chief Who Oversaw Illegal Surveillance Appointed to Amazon Board


Amazon appointed to its board of directors the National Security Agency chief who oversaw the Edward Snowden mass-surveillance scandal — and the secrets-leaker immediately blasted the move.

Gen. Keith Alexander, who was NSA director from 2005 to 2014 — and then founded his own cybersecurity company IronNet Security — was named to the online retailer’s board  Wednesday and will be on its audit committee, Business Insider reported.

Within hours of the announcement, Snowden lashed out on Twitter.

“It turns out ‘Hey Alexa’ is short for ‘Hey Keith Alexander,'” he tweeted, adding: “Yes, the Keith Alexander personally responsible for the unlawful mass surveillance programs that caused a global scandal.”

Alexander was in the spotlight in 2013 when Snowden, a former CIA sub-contractor, leaked thousands of NSA documents, blowing the whistle on the agency’s mass surveillance programs. In one interview, Alexander accused Snowden of being a Russian operative.

But a federal court ruled this month the sweeping surveillance of citizens’ phone records revealed in the Snowden leak was illegal and possibly unconstitutional. It also dismissed the NSA’s case that the surveillance was necessary to prevent terrorist attacks, finding it hadn’t helped to prevent even a single attack.

Edin Omanovic, advocacy director at Privacy International, said Amazon’s decision to hire Alexander was deeply concerning, the BBC reported.

“Every day, big tech companies like Amazon make huge ethical decisions which affect people’s lives without any democratic accountability,” he told the news outlet.

“Clearly it is worrying that at the heart of this will now be someone who spent years defending secret data grabs which were later proved to be unlawful. We don’t need another NSA – even one with a privacy policy.”

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