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Feature | Nov. 20, 2018

A Closer Look: Employee Profile


The NSA Office of the Inspector General Hotline is staffed by managers who review complaints and determine the appropriate courses of action. These professionals are indeed standing by, ready to assist you.  Below, Hotline Manager Crystal Farrar discusses what it’s like on the receiving end of the OIG Hotline – and what keeps her motivated on the job.

Photo of Hotline Manager, Crystal FarrarQ: What does an NSA OIG Hotline Manager do?

A: An OIG Hotline Manager is responsible for the initial intake of inquiries, complaints, and concerns from the NSA workforce – in addition to receiving and processing referrals from other Intelligence Community Inspectors General and the public.

Q: What makes the work meaningful?

A: I am the first contact individuals have with the OIG and I get to help them in some way, shape, or form. My role is to help people find the right solution based on facts. Hearing someone say ‘Thank you for listening’ makes the job worth it.

Q: What does a good day look like in a position where much of the work may be centered on negative allegations?

A: A good day isn’t based on allegations, but rather whether or not something can be done to assist a person. That ‘something’ doesn’t have to always be a big change, like someone being fired or even prosecuted, but it can also be pointing someone in the right direction, or even something like making clear that some type of behavior in the office isn’t acceptable, for example. I find that individuals are willing to listen if the information is presented in an impartial way, which is what the OIG does, since we are an independent organization.

Q: What would most people be shocked to know about your day-to-day work?

A: We are happy. We enjoy our jobs. I think many people have the mistaken impression that if you work for the IG, you have a permanent scowl on your face – just waiting to catch someone doing something wrong. But that’s not who we are – we are, admittedly in a special way, here to help.

Q: If you could shatter one or two myths about working for NSA, which would you choose?

A: We are not all into computers and we’re not listening to everyone’s phone calls. The Agency is made up of people from diverse backgrounds who believe in the mission.

Q: You’ve worked for NSA for many years, but recently joined the Office of the Inspector General. What’s it like being in an oversight role now?

A: It feels empowering to know that I play a role in ensuring that the Agency is held to the highest standards when it comes to following laws, regulations, and policies that have been set forth. It is not a role I take lightly.