NSA director says US intelligence depends on Silicon Valley's expertise, innovation

U.S. intelligence depends on Silicon Valley innovation for technologies that strengthen the Internet and staff to provide national cybersecurity, National Security Agency director Mike Rogers told Stanford University professors and students on Monday.

While the federal government is never going to match Silicon Valley salaries, "we are going to give you the opportunity to do some neat stuff, things you probably aren't going to be able to do anywhere else," Rogers said.

Rogers, who also heads up U.S. Cyber Command, said he visits the region at least every six months to tap into local talent and stay attuned to the latest innovations.

During a question and answer session, Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, asked Rogers how he can explain disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the agency secretly broke into communications on Yahoo and Google overseas.

Rogers said his agency does not violate U.S. privacy laws here or abroad working with partner intelligence agencies.

"I'm comfortable with what we do, with our partners," he said.

Mark Jaycox, an Electronic Frontier Foundation legislative analyst who watched the speech versus a webstream, said Rogers, who was sworn in in April, has not addressed most privacy concerns raised in recent years.

"Unfortunately, Admiral Rogers hasn't yet engaged on many of the NSA's more egregious activities like disrupting national standards for encryption or the NSA's hacking of American companies' internal databases."