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Obama is trying to protect himself from criticism from allies abroad and civil-liberties advocates on U.S. soil

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has been attacked all year for its spy programs, which were revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden -- and the agency could use some love from President Barack Obama. 

According to The Washington Post, the NSA's morale has taken a beating ever since the Snowden revelations, and many former officials say that current NSA employees are disappointed that Obama hasn't stopped by to provide some encouragement. 

“The agency, from top to bottom, leadership to rank and file, feels that it is had no support from the White House even though it’s been carrying out publicly approved intelligence missions,” said Joel Brenner, NSA inspector general from 2002 to 2006. “They feel they’ve been hung out to dry, and they’re right.”

Other former NSA officials, who have asked to remain anonymous, said morale is "bad overall" and that many employees are asking to have their résumés wiped of any surveillance programs in order to gain employment elsewhere. 

“The news — the Snowden disclosures — it questions the integrity of the NSA workforce,” said a former NSA official who chose to remain anonymous. “It’s become very public and very personal. Literally, neighbors are asking people, ‘Why are you spying on Grandma?’ And we aren’t. People are feeling bad, beaten down.”

Some former officials have even mentioned that former President George W. Bush visited the NSA in January 2006 after the New York Times reported that the agency engaged in a counterterrorism program of warrantless surveillance in the U.S. 


Obama has sent top White House officials to the NSA to speak for him in an effort to offer encouragement. But many believe he hasn't made the trip himself because he needs to protect himself from criticism from allies abroad and civil-liberties advocates on U.S. soil. In addition, internal and external reviews of surveillance activities have not yet been completed. 

Obama has said that the NSA’s surveillance is lawful in June of this year, and showed interest in preserving the intelligence programs. However, he's also mentioned making some changes so that there's greater transparency.

Snowden blew the cover on the NSA's surveillance programs earlier this year, which consisted of bulk data collection from sources like phone records, where the government took on a "collect now, filter later" approach. The agency has said that the bulk data collection was meant to identify terrorist threats, but it's been discovered that the data of Americans has been collected without any clear evidence of terrorist links. 
 
In August, reports said that the NSA admitted to touching 1.6 percent of total globe Web traffic. Its technique was to filter data after harvesting it, which led to over-collection on a major scale. It was later revealed that Snowden conned between 20 to 25 NSA employees to give him their login credentials and passwords while working at the NSA regional operations center for a month in Hawaii last spring. Snowden reportedly told the NSA employees that he needed their passwords in order to do his job, and after downloading secret NSA documents, he leaked the information to the media.
 
Many top tech leaders, like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, have spoken out against the NSA's programs along with civil-liberties advocates, U.S. citizens and even other countries that had the NSA peeping in their window. 

Just yesterday, it was revealed that the NSA and its UK sister agency GCHQ sent agents into the virtual worlds of the Xbox Live network, World of Warcraft, and Second Life to find acts of terrorism. 

Source: The Washington Post



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RE: This is why we can't have nice things
By Motoman on 12/11/2013 12:07:39 PM , Rating: 2
The government should be afraid of the people...not the other way around.

If the NSA is feeling "beaten down," they should be. Too bad it's not legal to give them an actual beatdown though. The entire f%cking enterprise needs to be declared illegal, and everyone who ever had anything to do with domestic surveillance should be fired and barred from ever holding anything more than a minimum-wage job.


RE: This is why we can't have nice things
By Argon18 on 12/11/2013 12:52:20 PM , Rating: 2
Why put this on the lowly workers? They're just doing their job and following orders. Obama's orders. He approved this thing, just like he approved warrant-less wire taps, expansion of the Patriot Act, and even drone strikes against American citizens. Obama is the criminal behind all of these, hold him accountable.


RE: This is why we can't have nice things
By Motoman on 12/11/2013 1:37:32 PM , Rating: 2
...and here's your sign.

It doesn't matter who you think is giving the orders. If you are ordered to do something in the course of your employment that is inethical and/or illegal, these are your only correct choices:

1. Report it to an appropriate authority and refuse to comply.
2. Quit your job. And report it.
3. Or at the very least, quit your job.

Complying with the demand to carry out inethical and/or illegal activities is *not* a valid option...so even if you're just a "lowly worker" you're not off the hook. Hence the fact that the world is trying and convicting the lowest-level people for having been Nazis...because they were Nazis, and they went along with the inethical and/or illegal orders they were given.


RE: This is why we can't have nice things
By Spuke on 12/11/2013 1:53:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
because they were Nazis, and they went along with the inethical and/or illegal orders they were given.
The Nazi's were tried for ILLEGAL activity as they should have been. No one was tried for inethical activity. NSA employees, as far as they were concerned, were operating within the law (the NSA has lawyers too). Were their activities inethical? I think so but they can't be held criminally responsible for violating ethics. OUR job as citizens here is to ensure that the NSA and other parts of government can't operate like this under the law PERIOD. No grays areas should remain here.


By Motoman on 12/11/2013 4:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
Nah. The Nazis were the government...and the government made what they did legal.

Back in the day when it was legal to force black people to sit in the back of the bus...it was still inethical. And if you were a decent human being who happened to get a job as a bus driver, you'd refuse to make the blacks sit in the back of the bus. Because it was inethical...even if it was legal.

The relationship between what's legal and what's ethically/morally correct is, at best, a very tenuous correlation.


By King of Heroes on 12/11/2013 3:02:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They're just doing their job and following orders.


That's no excuse. The people giving the orders and the ones executing them are all equally responsible.


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