Teresa Shea used to be the National Security Agency’s director of signals intelligence, plus the wife of an executive in the business of selling things to agencies like hers, plus the host of a home-based signals intelligence business, plus the owner, via yet another business, of a six-seat airplane and resort-town condo.
She’s going to have to drop the first arrangement. After controversy in the press about her apparent conflicts of interests, Shea is stepping down from the NSA, according to Buzzfeed’s Aram Roston.
Roston, who has been diligently documenting Shea’s family businesses, revealed last month that the director’s husband was vice president at a signals intelligence contractor that appeared to be working for, or bidding to work for, the NSA. The same husband was also linked to a signals intelligence-related company registered at the couple’s home. Then last week Roston showed that Shea herself had evidently incorporated an obscure business in her name that nonetheless owned its own airplane and condominium in Hilton Head. All of this came while Shea was serving at the highest levels in one of the most significant divisions within the NSA.
All the NSA would tell BuzzFeed is that Shea’s exit from her role was routine and long planned — “well before recent news articles” — and that she would remain employed in some capacity.
Shea is not the only high-ranking current or former NSA official coming under scrutiny for their financial dealings. Former agency director Keith Alexander was engaged in commodity trading linked to countries such as Russia and China — countries upon which the NSA spied heavily — while he was working at the agency.
As documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have shown, the NSA was keenly interested in economic espionage. One would hope that the people entrusted with gathering such information would adhere to some basic standards of ethical conduct in their own financial dealings.
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