Former NSA Boss: This Leak Teaches The World That America Can't Keep Secrets
from the no,-actually,-the-opposite dept
We’ve been trying to understand why the NSA and its supporters are both trying to play down the seriousness of the leak, while also claiming that it’s incredibly dangerous, and I think we may finally have an explanation from former NSA and CIA boss Michael Hayden, who has given the most bizarre explanation yet:
“It informs our adversaries. It puts American companies at risk internationally for simply complying with our laws,” said Mike Hayden, a former director of the NSA and a former director of the CIA. “It teaches practically everyone in the world—sources, liaison services—that America can’t keep secrets.”
Actually, I think it teaches the exact opposite. It teaches everyone that the US does keep secrets — massive, privacy-destroying secrets that certainly appear to be in conflict with the basic principles of the 4th Amendment. And, the idea that it puts American companies at risk for “simply complying with our laws” is ludicrous. If they were simply complying with our laws, then there would be no cause for concern when the details were revealed. Laws and compliance with laws shouldn’t be a secret. The problem is that because the interpretation of the laws were mostly secret, most people did not believe that this level of surveillance was really happening. So, yes, it puts American companies at risk, but the reason is because of the broad overreach of our government and the intelligence community (including the time when Hayden was in charge of large sections of it).
Separately, that same report notes that within the NSA, people are freaking out:
The impact of the leak inside the NSA has been enormous. “There is complete freakout mode at the agency right now,” one former intelligence officer tells The Daily Beast.
If this was no big deal and just the revelation of a basic internal government computer system to deal with statutorily authorized data collection, then why would they be freaking out so much?