Microsoft has confirmed that the U.S. government agency best known for eavesdropping on telephone calls had a hand in the development of the Windows Vista operating system.
The National Security Agency stepped in to help Microsoft develop a configuration of its next-generation operating system that would meet U.S. Department of Defense requirements, NSA spokesman Ken White said Tuesday.
This is not the first time the secretive agency has been brought in to consult with private industry on operating system security, White said, but it is the first time the NSA has worked with a vendor prior to the release of an operating system.
By getting involved early in the process, the NSA helped Microsoft ensure that it was delivering a product that was both secure and compatible with existing government software, he said.
"This allows us to ensure that the off-the-shelf security configuration that the DOD customer receives is at a level that meets our standards," White said. "It just makes a lot more sense to be involved up front, than it does to have the tail wag the dog."
The NSA's involvement in Vista was first reported Tuesday by The Washington Post.