Headlines saying the US National Security Agency (NSA) was going to stop spying on Americans before Snowden's leak sound like something from the Onion satirical paper, a C4SS analyst writes.
In an analysis of the reporting at The Week and the Associated Press, C4SS's Nick Ford wrote:
Most people’s reactions to this is to laugh. The idea that the NSA, an organization all but synonymous with spying on the American people, was going to self-regulate is worth a good chuckle indeed.Workers lower in the NSA's hierarchy are likely to be more cognizant of the mass surveillance program's ineffectiveness than higher ranking officials, Ford writes, but are afraid of being punished if they bring their grievances to their superiors. This also matches Edward Snowden's own account of why he chose to disclose the program's details to the public via anti-establishment journalists rather than going via Congressional options or the NSA's own internal system. It also refutes many of the arguments made against Snowden as a traitor by pointing to the "loyalty" of others in the NSA, who are really only held back by fear of punishment rather than sincere support for mass spying abuses.
Ford argues that the NSA's desperate media tactics are laughable and reveal the organization's incompetence and uselessness to the American people:
So here we have an incompetent but incredibly powerful organization saying, “oh yeah we would have stopped spying on everyone if you hadn’t exposed us!”
Come on NSA, pull the other one.