The NSA Goes On CBS’s ’60 Minutes’ To Defend Its Actions

The NSA goes on CBS’s ’60 Minutes’ to defend its actions

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. This article or image contains materials that originally came from a National Security Agency (NSA) website or publication. It is believed that this information is not classified, and is in the public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:National_Security_Agency_headquarters,_Fort_Meade,_Maryland.jpg
Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. This article or image contains materials that originally came from a National Security Agency (NSA) website or publication. It is believed that this information is not classified, and is in the public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:National_Security_Agency_headquarters,_Fort_Meade,_Maryland.jpg

Last weekend, NSA officials went on CBS’s 60 Minutes program to defend their mass surveillance activities and, as one might expect, put up their own ‘reality distortion field.’

The short version of the NSA’s spin goes like this: We don’t do mass surveillance, especially not on Americans, we don’t intend to break any laws, and don’t worry about us collecting ‘just’ metadata.

The task of critical journalism to control the government’s actions was not exactly helped by the ’60 Minutes’ feature. This was mostly due to the fact that host John Miller, who has been moving through the revolving door between journalism and government work throughout his career—which he did disclose—, did not present any opposing views. Miller has been working as a spokesperson for the NYPD, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the FBI. One might see the potential for a conflict of interest here.

The Guardian has compiled a list of claims made by NSA officials on the show and commented on them on their website.

If you have been following the coverage of the NSA leaks for the last half year, it is absolutely obvious that these claims are as “least untruthful” as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March 2013.

Just some documents contradicting the NSA’s claims

Just have a look at the NSA’s “SIGINT Strategy 2012-2016″ paper in the New York Times.

Or read about the recently revealed Co-Traveller program which is exactly about the worldwide collection of mobile phone metadata in order to determine patterns of social relationships.

Above all, the whole point of the recently revealed ‘full take’ approach in the NSA’s signals intelligence seems to be to store everything in the hope that all that data can later be combed through with the help of computer algorithms, if needed.

Read, hear, and see more:

[Podcast] Unfilter 79: “CBS: The NSA Network.” (Jupiter Broadcasting, 2013/12/18) – “60 Minutes attempts the boldest white wash of the facts and lies surrounding the NSA spying yet.” – Links to more articles can be found in the shownotes.

’60 Minutes’: NSA Good, Snowden Bad.” (Sara Morrison, The Wire, 2013/12/15)

’60 Minutes’ NSA Report Gets Blasted.” (Brett Logiurato, Business Insider, 2013/12/16)

’60 Minutes’ Trashed For NSA Piece.” (Jack Mirkinson, Huffington Post, 2013/12/16)

The progressive talk show The Young Turks reporting on the ’60 Minutes’ feature: “’60 Minutes’ Blasted For NSA Piece”