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A watchdog report documents issues within the National Security Agency, including physically threatening behavior. Meanwhile, a court suggested the agency's bulk collection of phone data was unconstitutional. And the timeline for a vulnerability disclosure program gets started. This is CyberScoop for Thursday, September 3.

The NSA's abuse problem

Multiple senior executive leaders and top officials at the NSA recently have engaged in abusive behavior or misused their authority. One senior executive “created a hostile work environment by using abusive and offensive language toward subordinate employees,” according to a NSA's Inspector General report. Another top-level employee “engaged in threatening physical behavior, created a disturbance, and used abusive and offensive language toward subordinate employees,” the report states. Shannon Vavra has the latest.

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CISA starts the clock for federal bug squashing programs

It’s been 10 months since CyberScoop reported that DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency was considering a directive to force agencies to set up vulnerability disclosure policies. Since then, very few agencies have embraced VDPs. But CISA has finally moved to put an end to the feet-dragging by giving all federal civilian agencies six months to establish the programs. Lawmakers hailed the move as a positive step forward. Sean Lyngaas has the story.

NSA bulk records collection ruled illegal

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA’s bulk collection of American phone records was illegal, and possibly unconstitutional. The program, which was revealed by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013, violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, judges decided. The “ruling is a victory for our privacy rights,” Patrick Toomey, senior staff attorney with the National Security Project at the ACLU, which was co-counsel in the case, said in a statement. “The decision also recognizes that when the government seeks to prosecute a person, it must give notice of the secret surveillance it used to gather its evidence.” Read the decision here.

DHS releases an election security tool

A new federal tool is designed to help state and local election officials better assess their security risks, as Election Day is a little more than two months away. The Election Risk Profile Tool, designed by DHS and the Election Assistance Commission, aims to give election administrators a “high-level risk profile” of the infrastructure used in the voting process, including voter registration databases, pollbooks, ballots, voting machines, ballot-counting processes and election-night results websites. Benjamin Freed has more at StateScoop.

Two years in jail for a former CISO

A judge sentenced a former chief information security officer for Horry County, South Carolina, to two years in prison for stealing network equipment that he ordered for the county government, but kept for himself and resold on the internet. Terry Petrill pleaded guilty in November to stealing 41 Cisco network switches that had been purchased in part with federal funds, and that he auctioned nine of them on eBay and other websites from 2015 to 2018. Individual products in Cisco’s 3850 line of switches can retail for more than $20,000. Petrill’s actions wound up costing Horry County $345,266, which he was also ordered to repay. Ben explains the case.

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