Apparently not satisfied with just setting fire to the 4th Amendment, NSA boss Keith Alexander's next target is the 1st Amendment. In an interview with the Defense Department's "Armed With Science" blog
, it appears that Alexander felt he'd have a friendly audience, so he let loose with some insane claims, including suggesting that the government needs to find a way to "stop" journalists from reporting on the Snowden leaks
As noted by Politco, General Alexander isn't a fan of journalists doing anything about these documents:
"I think it’s wrong that that newspaper reporters have all these documents, the 50,000—whatever they have and are selling them and giving them out as if these—you know it just doesn’t make sense," Alexander said in an interview with the Defense Department's "Armed With Science" blog.
"We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I don’t know how to do that. That’s more of the courts and the policymakers but, from my perspective, it’s wrong to allow this to go on," the NSA director declared.
It's not the policymakers and the courts. It's the Constitution, and it says there's freedom of the press.
Other parts of the interview continue to show Alexander spewing things that have already been debunked:
“When you look at the 9/11 commission, it faulted the intelligence community for not connecting the dots. We didn’t have the tools. These [programs we have now] are tools that help us connect the dots. We have learned that lesson once. We all vowed this would never happen again. We should commit to that course of action.”
That's not true
. The 9/11 commission argued, indeed, that the intelligence service failed to connect the dots, but it wasn't because they lacked the information
. It's just that it wasn't properly shared. The way to fix that is not
to collect more information and make it even harder to connect the dots. And yet that's been General Alexander's strategy all along.
Elsewhere in the interview, Alexander laughably tries to pretend that US Cyber Command, which he also controls, is focused on protecting "intellectual property." But that's also not true. As has been clearly stated and confirmed, it's focused on offensive attacks
, which it does more than any other country (even as the US government tries to scold countries like China and Iran for their online attacks).
And then, I guess he figures that if he's going to lie about, well, everything, why not go all in, and just claim that these programs aren't "spying."
“They aren’t spying programs,” he says directly. “One is called the Business Records FISA Program, or Section 215, and the other is called the FISA Amendment Act 702 or PRISM.”
The business records program, or Section 215, is probably the most misunderstood of the two programs. The metadata program takes information and puts it in a data repository. Metadata is the phone number, the date, time, group, and duration of the call.
“That’s all we have,” Gen. Alexander explains. “We don’t have any names or any content.”
Except that having that metadata is
incredibly revealing and absolutely is a form of spying. If it's not, why won't General Alexander release his phone numbers, date, time, group and duration of all of his calls from the past year? Why not? Because he thinks that's private information. Because it is. And because General Alexander is a hypocrite.
“The oversight and compliance on these programs is greater than any other program in our government.”
Hahahahah. No. This is also a lie. It's been shown that the courts
have admitted they're limited by what the NSA tells them -- and the NSA goes out of its way to avoid
telling Congress very much.
Alexander also mocks the recent claims about spying on French phone calls, using the exact same dodge as his boss
, James Clapper. Both pretend that the news reports said that 70 million calls were recorded
. Alexander mocks this by pointing out it would be impossible to have so many calls listened to, and to find enough translators to understand them. But the reports were about mostly
metadata, and just some
recordings. Pretending that the press said something that it didn't doesn't make Alexander look trustworthy. It makes it look like he's lying.
Not surprisingly, though hilariously, the blogger for the Defense Department's "Armed With Science," Jessica Tozer doesn't appear to challenge any of Alexander's claims. Instead, she repeats all the statements and mocks anyone who might challenge them:
Some people would rather believe a dramatic, convenient lie than a real, uncomplicated truth. Don’t be that person.
I'd argue that right back at Tozer and Alexander, because Alexander is flat out lying in the interview, based on confirmed facts.
Don’t give credence to speculation, rumor, or hyperbole. Simply put, don’t give into the hype. When it comes down it, a nation without the NSA would be a nation left undefended.
And that, dear readers, is no lie.
Um. It's absolutely a challengeable statement, but the Defense Department, obviously, isn't here for reasoned discussion on this issues.