White House Tried To Interfere With Washington Post's Report, And To Change Quotes From NSA

from the not-the-crime,-but-the-cover-up dept

Among the many, many incredible revelations from the Washington Post report on the abuses by the NSA is a tidbit about an interview that the Post was able to do with the NSA's director of compliance, John DeLong, followed by the White House's attempt to completely whitewash the interview and block his quotes from being used, despite the Post being told otherwise initially:
The Obama administration referred all questions for this article to John DeLong, the NSA’s director of compliance, who answered questions freely in a 90-minute interview. DeLong and members of the NSA communications staff said he could be quoted “by name and title” on some of his answers after an unspecified internal review. The Post said it would not permit the editing of quotes. Two days later, White House and NSA spokesmen said that none of DeLong’s comments could be quoted on the record and sent instead a prepared statement in his name. The Post declines to accept the substitute language as quotations from DeLong.
Read that again. This is the same White House that has been saying that they want to be as transparent as possible and to rebuild trust. And yet, here they are trying to block the Post from using an interview -- an interview they suggested in the first place -- and then to replace it with a bland and bogus "statement."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 8:58am

    The solution to this problem.

    Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    Freedom of the Press huh?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 9:12am

    OK. Their strategy must be to do SO many stupid things that we can't figure out which one to focus on. That's about all I can think of at this point.

    I mean, telling a newspaper it can't use an interview? Really?

     

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      Drew, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 10:14am

      Re:

      Saying you can't print any quotes is weak, but it looks like the Post allowed for that scenario and would have just printed "NSA officials declined to comment on these documents." Trying to substitute their own statement in the name of the interviewee suggests they hold the press in total contempt.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 11:42am

      Re:

      Reminds me of Teri Buhl. Hey maybe she has a future in politics. Seems like she would fit right in with this administration.

       

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      E, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 10:01am

      Re:

      Thats how Paul Haggis's Crash won best picture... It's a pretty smart strategy.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 9:15am

    Whitehouse: Go fuck yourself.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 11:43am

      Re:

      Yeah, that's pretty much what their response was. Probably after they stopped laughing so hard at the audacity of their request.

       

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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    More than 300? More like under a 1000.

    Did I read Delong's statement correctly?

    The way he phrased it as "more than 300" for the NSA's internal privacy compliance program makes it sound like there's under a thousand personnel for that particular program.

    Remind me: how many people does the NSA employ again?

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    No! Really? -- Now what about NSA's actual CRIMES?

    Has Meandering Mike succeeded in making you forget those yet?

     

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      identicon
      ss, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 9:35am

      Re: No! Really? -- Now what about NSA's actual CRIMES?

      Crimes? What crimes?

      ..

      nevermind, I Googled it. Fuck me, they're Googling us! Now Google is going to see that I Googled the NSA and the NSA is going to Google Google and see I've been Googling them and now the NSA is going to Google me back! This is .. preposterous!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 10:08am

      Re: No! Really? -- Now what about NSA's actual CRIMES?

      Please enlighten us all what crimes we have forgotten?

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 11:34am

      Re: No! Really? -- Now what about NSA's actual CRIMES?

      I'm really not following here. Is your worry that an article about how the whitehouse tried to cover up some details about the NSA's crimes will somehow... make us forget what the whitehouse was trying to cover up in the first place?

       

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    Donglebert the Needlessly Obtuse, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 9:25am

    roughly translated, seems to say

    "we might have abused our powers, but we're not going to tell you when. If you tell us, we'll look into it but don't have to tell you if we find anything."

     

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    limbodog (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 9:30am

    I guess it's time I stop mocking China's censorship

    I am sad.

     

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      That One Guy (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 9:50am

      Re: I guess it's time I stop mocking China's censorship

      No, you can still do that, you've just got to shift the mocking from 'they are doing it at all' to 'amateurs'.

       

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      The Real Michael, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 3:45pm

      Re: I guess it's time I stop mocking China's censorship

      Give it time, maybe a few more years, before the government controls all mainstream press.

      "China is here, Mr. Burton."

       

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        That One Guy (profile), Aug 19th, 2013 @ 12:15am

        Re: Re: I guess it's time I stop mocking China's censorship

        ... I thought they already did. Or is it just coincidence that pretty much every single major press organization is conspicuously silent on anything that makes the government look bad?

         

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    Ninja (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 9:36am

    Let's be honest about it, at least Obama is being coherent in his actions. He did the exact opposite of what he promised on his campaigns with no exceptions!

     

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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    Scenario 1: During the interview, Mr. Delong passed out so much confidential information that a review determined that NONE of the information was permissible. Conclusion - Mr Delong, the NSA director of compliance, is a moron who can't keep his mouth shut.

    Scenario 2: The White House and the NSA used Mr. Delong as a cats-paw, never intending his remarks to made public and relying on vague statements to generate reader burnout or apathy to make the whole thing go away. Conclusion - The U.S. government perceives its citizenry as morons who are easily distracted.

    Mr. Obama, the internet is filled with OCDs who WILL pay attention, who WILL dig into every attempt to use the 'Look, Squirrel!' ploy. Try the truth sometime - you may be surprised to learn most citizens are mature enough to realize that HOW mistakes are handled is often more important than the mistakes themselves.

     

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    radarmonkey (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 9:48am

    I see this as a confirmation as to how the White House is being transparent .... because we can all see right through their attempt to suppress the information.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 10:04am

    What a total bunch of amateurs.

     

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    JWW (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 10:10am

    Trust

    The White House doesn't want to "rebuild" trust per se, they just want to be granted trust. Without all the responsibility and honest dealings that would be required of them to actually _earn_ it.

    It is fairly disturbing how much Obama seems bothered that there are still some people out there that do not fawn all over everything he does.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 10:13am

    It's gone far beyond justified spying into the realm of uncalled for. The attempts at cover-up just keep coming and still no calls at all from government nor it's heads to actually deal with ending this travesty masked as authorized.

    Each day seems to bring another black mark against the practices of spying on Americans.

    Here's a news flash! The terrorists are over seas. They are not here in huge numbers. Despite all the attempts at making it look like they are everywhere by the FBI's setup cases.

    It is time to call an end to the authority of this mass spying on its own people. Here is where real budget cutting can happen and be meaningful in its results.

    Again I still hear no call for a special investigator not linked to those in charge. No call for impeachment. No call for serious changes. Coverup can only take you so far. After that it begins to look like just what it is.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 10:33am

    "Transparency"? Absolutely: I can see right through that strategy. ;)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 12:07pm

    Presidents have fallen before over similar cover-ups. I think it's close tot he time that Obama was actually impeached for crimes against American citizens.

     

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    DannyB (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 12:54pm

    You're using the wrong definition of Transparency

    > Read that again. This is the same White House that has been
    > saying that they want to be as transparent as possible

    They are using a Secret definition of transparency.
    Transparency (noun): To do something that you don't want the public to see, in an invisible way, so that they never see it, thus making it transparent.
    Hope that helps.

     

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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 7:37pm

    The Washington Post is part of the Exalted Brotherhood of Holier Than Thou Journalists. They've anointed themselves The Fourth Estate - representatives of the people who keep the government in check by holding them accountable.

    How exactly does caving in to White House censorship demands hold the government accountable? If they're so committed to those high minded ideals what stopped them from publishing the quotes unedited?

    Mostly they would have been taken off the super privileged media guest list. Instead of getting their lies in person they'd get them second hand like the commoners. No more official unofficial leaks from the President.

    I can think of a lot of words to describe that - sycophant, toadie, boot licker, lackey, flunky, maybe even accomplice or co-conspirator. Journalist not so much.

     

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    identicon
    John Michael Powers Jr, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 6:16am

    Threshold

    Is there anyone else out there, who, silently, are beside themselves with how blatantly this administration psychologically attacks us with blatant fucking lies?

    I swear, the threshold has been crossed. It's seriously ridiculous.

     

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    Jim Treacher, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 6:46am

    Racist!

     

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    identicon
    RM3 Frisker FTN, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 8:25am

    In the words of Instapundit ...

    ... "more rubes self-identify". Come 2016, will there be any pseudo-intellectual techies who will admit to having be suckered by the "Hope 'n Change" road show?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 9:37am

    I AM COOKIES

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 9:48am

    Hope and Change you can believe in. News at eleven.

     

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    cb, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 11:01am

    And of course the WP said no, and of course they would say no to such a clumsy maneuver every time. So it's creepy, heavy-handed, reflective of authoritarian values, and completely, mindboggingly weak and incomptent.

     

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    richard40, Aug 19th, 2013 @ 8:09am

    The shocking part of this article is not that the WH tried to edit remarks after the fact, since they have repeatedly done that. The shocking part is for once the WAPO reporter did not let them get away with it. Normally most MSM reporters are total Obama lapdogs.

     

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