NSA Director Claims He's Protecting Americans' Privacy And Civil Liberties… By Spying On Them All
from the well,-uh,-huh? dept
NSA boss Keith Alexander continues to fail at damage control in response to the Snowden leaks, but he keeps on trying. The latest is an interview conducted with the NY Times in which he continues to babble on as if no one will ever call out his more ridiculous statements:
“We followed the law, we follow our policies, we self-report, we identify problems, we fix them,” he said. “And I think we do a great job, and we do, I think, more to protect people’s civil liberties and privacy than they’ll ever know.”
Yes, by collecting pretty much every bit of data they can on everyone. That protects their privacy and civil liberties? How? By trampling the 4th Amendment? I don’t think so. The whole “self-report… identify problems” claim is also hogwash. As we’ve noted, many of that “self-reporting” came years after the fact, and it’s almost certain that plenty of other abuses have never been caught or reported.
Then there’s General Alexander trying to claim he supports more transparency and that the American people need to know what’s going on. I know. Stop laughing. He really said it:
“Given where we are and all the issues that are on the table, I do feel it’s important to have a public, transparent discussion on cyber so that the American people know what’s going on,” General Alexander said. “And in order to have that, they need to understand the truth about what’s going on.”
Of course, in the very same interview he insisted that this discussion that we’re now having has done “significant and irreversible damage” to national security. So… he wants to have an open discussion and tell people what’s going on, but solely on his own terms, and if anyone else brings up anything, we’re all at risk.
He insisted that it would have been impossible to have made public, in advance of the revelations by Mr. Snowden, the fact that the agency collected what it calls the “business records” of all telephone calls, and many other electronic communications, made in the United States.
Why? This is a serious question, because it wouldn’t have been impossible at all. The government could have easily said (as they’re trying to now after Snowden revealed it) that they’re doing this in a manner that (they believe) doesn’t compromise our privacy, and it’s for a good reason. And then let us have a public debate to see if people believe you or if they think you’re full of it. That’s what transparency is about.
The NY Times actually does a decent job in some points highlighting the ridiculousness of Alexander’s answers, such as with this tidbit:
But he said the agency had not told its story well. As an example, he said, the agency itself killed a program in 2011 that collected the metadata of about 1 percent of all of the e-mails sent in the United States. “We terminated it,” he said. “It was not operationally relevant to what we needed.”
However, until it was killed, the N.S.A. had repeatedly defended that program as vital in reports to Congress.
Yup. The same way they continue to insist the telephone records are “vital” despite not actually showing how they’ve been necessary in stopping a single terrorist attack on the US.
At this point, you have to wonder what Alexander thinks he’s accomplishing with each of these interviews or talks. It just seems like this strained, repetitive “but, really, I’m not such a bad guy, you just have to trust me!!!” exclamation over and over again that doesn’t give us any reason to actually trust him. In fact, nearly all of the evidence that’s come out from Snowden has actually shown (over and over and over again) why Alexander shouldn’t be trusted at all.