NSA Officials Hate Ed Snowden With A Passion
from the yes,-emotional-response-is-what-we-need dept
Last week we wrote about Steven Levy’s big article concerning the impact on the tech industry of the NSA’s activities. This week, he’s written a short piece about the two hours he got to spend at Fort Meade in the NSA’s headquarters meeting with some of the NSA’s top officials there. He explains how they didn’t seem to want to cooperate at first, but then became much more accommodating later on. He notes that the NSA doesn’t seem to recognize that “protecting” Americans and “breaking everyone’s crypto” might be two goals that are at odds with one another. But, the main point he makes: NSA officials really, really, really seem to hate Ed Snowden’s guts:
They really hate Snowden. The NSA is clearly, madly, deeply furious at the man whose actions triggered the biggest crisis in its history. Even while contending they welcome the debate that now engages the nation, they say that they hate the way it was triggered. The NSA has an admittedly insular culture — the officials described it as almost like a family…. NSA officials are infuriated that all this havoc was caused by some random contractor. They suggest that had Snowden been familiar with the culture and the ethos of the agency, understood the level of training undergone by its employees, seen the level of regulations and oversight, he would have been less likely to abscond with all those documents. (Snowden’s interviews indicate otherwise.) Still, they are stunned that someone “inside the fence” would do what Snowden did. Even if Snowden is eventually pardoned, he’d do well to steer clear of Fort Meade.
There’s something kind of funny about the fact that they look down on him as being “some random contractor” and if only he’d really been a part of the “NSA family” that he’d “understand.” That seems quite unlikely, but also suggests one of the many reasons why what the NSA is doing is so problematic. Any mission that involves people having to feel a “part of the group” to make sure that the surveillance isn’t abused is a system that will be abused.
Even more troubling, is that the NSA still seems to be reacting emotionally to the whole thing. That’s part of the reason they still seem unable to comprehend how much damage they’ve done — not Snowden.