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City manager distressed over NSA surveillance story

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For 27 years, City Manager Sharon A. Addison worked at the National Security Agency, the secret federal intelligence-gathering organization that has come under fire in recent weeks for collecting information from telephone calls and Internet surveillance of American citizens.

So Ms. Addison, of course, has been following the national story about a former consultant employee who revealed that the NSA was gathering electronic information under a previously secret program.

“I just think it’s disheartening that all of this is happening,” she said Wednesday.

Ms. Addison, who has been city manager since July after working for the NSA at Fort George G. Meade, Md., would not comment on whether she knew “any of the particulars” involved in the story. She would not say that she knew about the Prism program, the former contract employee or Booz Allen Hamilton, a Virginia-based consultant that works with defense and intelligence agencies.

Yet she acknowledged that the NSA remains “near and dear to my heart,” so she was disappointed to hear that her former employer has become the subject of such scrutiny.

The blockbuster story broke last week after the former Booz Allen employee, Edward Snowden, told the Guardian, a British newspaper, and the Washington Post that he extracted sensitive information about the NSA’s spying methods, despite being a low-level IT network analyst based in Hawaii.

During her career at the NSA, Ms. Addison worked as a techie who managed computer operations for the organization in charge of out-of-country eavesdropping. While there, however, she did not gather intelligence or break codes.

She was special source operations manager for the NSA for six years. She was in charge of managing intelligence operations, program management and business process improvement.

When she was hired as city manager last year, Ms. Addison said she was unable to provide much background because of the sensitive material she was involved in with the agency.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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