Apparently, our wounded friends at the National Security Agency (NSA) anticipated employees might get confronted by friends and family over the Holidays, so they prepared a take home letter for them with instructions on how to respond to questions. Independent news group Firedoglake obtained a copy of the two page letter:
It was clearly put together for rebutting statements about the NSA from news stories on documents disclosed by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, and it encouraged employees to “share the following points with family members and close friends.”
The “talking points” sheet suggests that employees make five key points: (1) NSA’s mission is of great value to the Nation”; (2) NSA performs its mission the right way—lawful, compliant and in a way that protects civil liberties and privacy; (3) NSA performs its mission exceptionally well. We strive to be the best that we can be, because that’s what America requires as part of its defense in a dangerous world; (4) The people who work for NSA are loyal Americans with expert skills who make sacrifices to help protect the freedoms we all cherish; (5) NSA is committed to increased transparency, public dialog and faithful implementation of any changes required by our overseers. (No emphasis added. Underlines appear in the document.)
Things keep getting worse for this group. In the past week we learned that Canada actually authorized the NSA to spy on foreign dignitaries while they attended a conference in their country. And now the British government is cracking down on the The Guardian for its participation in humiliating GCHQ.
And, unless you didn’t catch this one, it’s one of my personal favorites:
Journalists Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher and Ryan Grim recently published parts of a document for a story at Huffington Post that showed NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander had sought to discredit radical Muslims by spying on their porn-viewing habits. One of the six targets discussed in the document was a US person…none of these people targeted were believed by the NSA to be involved in any terrorist plots. The NSA wanted to embarrass them because they had a history of espousing views that the agency considered dangerous to the United States.
And Congress is cutting Food Stamps on hungry Americans because they believe the poor are a waste of our money.
Check out the article – it’s an excellent read and refutes every single point made by the NSA. Doesn’t the NSA realize how embarrassing it must be for employees as we keep learning more about what they’ve been doing? Isn’t the knowledge that they’ve demanded workers ease drop on citizens bad enough without sending them home for the holidays with two pages of lies to tell their family and friends?
And Congress is looking for waste to cut from our federal budget – if this is the best we can produce from the NSA, I’d say the entire program should be shut down saving taxpayers billions of dollars, let alone try to minimize the embarrassment this has caused, and will continue to cause as more revelations are made public.
Nevertheless, excellent reporting by Firedoglake.