Some blog called “Armed With Science” decided to be a propaganda mouthpiece for the NSA for at least one post (perhaps that’s the blogs regular shtick; with a .mil domain, that wouldn’t surprise me). They interviewed General Keith Alexander and let him tell us whatever least untruthful statements he could devise.
“We [the NSA] collect foreign intelligence for our country, and we provide information assurance for national security systems,” Gen. Alexander says. “We have two great missions, and those missions provide us with some tremendous capabilities.”
These capabilities and the information that they collect are what enables them to defend the nation. They do not choose between national defense and privacy. It must always be both.
Alexander goes on to the spiel about the 9-11 terrorist attacks—the greatest national security failure in national history. Naturally, having failed to protect us, all the overseers involved were promoted and the same government that let us die was given more power, prestige, and wealth. As soon as we have another terrorist attack, the NSA or some other agency will be given even more power over us.
But the post is rather boring. The most interesting part is how Alexander’s alleged mission protecting us from dire terrorists is smudges with “exploitation of intellectual property.” But that is a topic for another post.
The interesting stuff is in the video, starting at 21:05:
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. 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.
Seriously. Just abolish the First Amendment and it should all be easy, General.
Alexander doesn’t realize he’s a bureaucrat in the wrong country. He needs to move to China or some other totalitarian state that allows press censorship.
And while I really appreciate his mention of the courts, the NSA has kept their stuff secret precisely so no Fourth Amendment case against them could reach the courts. Besides, it is hard for me to imagine that Alexander doesn’t have an idea of one “way of stopping it.”
Sorry, I couldn’t find the full clip. It is amazing to me that we have, in 2007, a story where the NSA assists the CIA in neutralizing a reporter for the Guardian newspaper by tracking his phone and cameras in real time.