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Amazon names ex-NSA chief Keith Alexander to its board

Alexander ran the agency when Edward Snowden leaked documents revealing the depth of its surveillance programs.

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Keith Alexander has joined Amazon's board.

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Amazon said Wednesday it's appointed former National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander to its board of directors. Alexander will serve on Amazon's audit committee, the internet retail giant said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Alexander came under fire during his time as head of the agency after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked secret documents in June 2013 revealed the depth of NSA spy programs' collection of data on US citizens, world leaders and others around the world.

The disclosures led to backlash against the surveillance programs, as well as pressure on the tech industry to protect users' data from government dragnets. Some of the programs, like the bulk collection of phone records from people living in the US, have ended (a court also recently found the program unlawful). Others, like the PRISM program that intercepts emails and documents and incidentally scooped up the records of people in the US, have been re-authorized by Congress since they became public.

Snowden tweeted about Amazon's announcement Wednesday, saying that Alexander was "personally responsible for the unlawful mass surveillance programs that caused a global scandal."

Alexander, a retired four-star US Army general, served as director of the surveillance agency from 2005 until his retirement in 2014. After his retirement, he went into cybersecurity and became president and co-CEO of IronNet Cybersecurity.