Here are another set of characters who have a strong aversion to dealing with the consequences of truth. Or rather, whose general methods of dealing with the truth being exposed, are in this case ineffective as the number of targets who possess the information is simply too large. I am, of course, talking about 'Crazy' Eddie Snowden's former employer (or technically, the agency client of his former employer).
I would think twice about recommending a 60 Minutes segment these days, but this one is worth it for the comedy factor alone. This is simply gold, Jerry, GOLD. Pure, elemental comedy gold.
GenK Alexander the Great defends the track record and collection methods of No Such Agency, while one of his underlings plays 'sort-of good cop' by suggesting that amnesty for Ed Snowden in return for bringing back the goods should be considered. (Really? He thinks any thinking person, let alone a former member of the intel community, would believe that they intend to let Ed live out his remaining years in peace, on a farm somewhere in the US?)
The stage is set by the former Director of NatIntel staffer who happens to be the 60mins_Reporter on the case:
"A 20-something-year-old high school dropout contractor managed to walk out with in essence the crown jewels." -- [This is meant to be a 'hardball question'. Check out the response, which of course goes unchallenged.]
But there's more: GenKeith warns us to 'be afraid, be VERY afraid':
"GKA: I believe that a foreign nation could impact and destroy major portions of our financial system, yes.
60minsReporter: How much of it could we stop?
GKA: Well, right now it would be difficult to stop it because our ability to see it is limited."
-- Translation: we need more funding and more powers.
Not only that, but good old Ed apparently is sitting on a GOLDMINE -- and can single-handedly deal a devastating blow to 'intelligence' efforts of Uncle Sam:
"60minsReporter: If those documents fell into their hands? What good would it do them?
GoodCop_Spook: It would give them a roadmap of what we know, what we don't know, and give them-- implicitly, a way to-- protect their information from the U.S. intelligence community's view.
60minsReporter: For an adversary in the intelligence game, that's a gold mine?
GoodCop_Spook: It is the keys to the kingdom."
-- Translation: We are DEFINITELY going to need more funding and powers to counter this potentially catastrophic threat.
Also, we are NOT to trust Ed's character because... (drumroll) ... he ACCESSED an NSA employee's account to pass a test to become an NSA employee:
"He was taking a technical examination for potential employment at NSA; he used his system administrator privileges to go into the account of the NSA employee who was administering that test, and he took both questions and the answers, and used them to pass the test."
I'm now confused... I thought that's EXACTLY the kind of person the Agency is trying to attract.
But there's STILL more: DebPlunkett shares the tale of how the evil Chinamen nearly turned every PC into a useless hunk of low-yield gold and silver scrap by infecting their BIOS with a 'deadly' virus.
"Debbie: That's right. Think about the impact of that across the entire globe. It could literally take down the U.S. economy.
60minsReporter: I don't mean to be flip about this. But it has a kind of a little Dr. Evil quality-- to it that, "I'm going to develop a program that can destroy every computer in the world." It sounds almost unbelievable.
Debbie: Don't be fooled. There are absolutely nation states who have the capability and the intentions to do just that."
Of course, it was only the vigilance of our true and trusted protectors that saved us from a fate worse than death: NO PCs ANYWHERE!!!
But WAIT -- we are still not finished. The HR and PR departments turned out a beautiful, touchingly executed collaboration on writing the script for this one. We are treated to a heartwarming recruiting video, showing us how bright high-school kids can gain top-secret clearances, solve Rubik's cube in under two minutes, and break the Enigma code every friggin' summer:
"[Former DeputyHeadSpook] says each summer 10,000 high school students apply for a few openings.
60minsReporter: So you’ve had occasions where you’ve given a difficult problem to a high school kid with a top-secret clearance whose come back and said “hey, I think I got this one?”
Former DeputyHeadSpook: For any given summer that’s more often the rule than the exception. We’re always pleasantly surprised."
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. I really wish I could put the quote below in double-size font and flashing in neon green. The good folks at NoSuchAgency are doing ONLY these two things:
"And to put it simply, we're doing two things: We're defending this country from future terrorist attacks and we're defending our civil liberties and privacy."
At this point, I gave up. There is no way to exist in this version of reality without adopting the full and true way of thinking that is Doublespeak.
Some initial press reactions:
Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald -- 60 Minutes forgot to ask about how James Clapper & Keith Alexander routinely lied to Congress & FISA courts - just ran out of time. 4:40 PM - 15 Dec 2013
Ryan Lizza @RyanLizza -- Wow, the 60 Minutes piece about the NSA was just embarrassing. Kudos to the NSA communications staff. You guys should get a raise. 5:52 PM - 15 Dec 2013
Dave Itzkoff @ditzkoff -- That time a 60 Minutes correspondent asked an NSA analyst to solve a Rubik's cube. #journalism 4:37 PM - 15 Dec 2013
You may also want to take a minute to at least skim the comments after the piece on the CBS website as well.
I actually tried to look for an image of GKA laughing, but apparently all of those pics have been surgically scrubbed from the internet. Instead, I thought I'd share this, from the BusinessInsider expose on the TRUE Man of the Year (and possibly decade):
No, of course this is in no way related to the beginning of this post. Not at all. What on Earth would make you think that it even might be? It's not like a global military/intelligence complex requires unlimited funding, or anything.
In other news, the NY Post comes out with a story about how the Saudi .gov and ruling family was deeply involved with the allegedly 19 alleged Saudis who have been publicly identified as the alleged triggermen on the WTC/Pentagram job back in 2001. Of course, this ALSO has no bearing or relevance toward the 60mins piece above. It's not like the NoSuchAgency is demanding protection money, immunity from prosecution and unfettered global powers to continue keeping its watchful eyes on the 'lone wolf' individuals and groups to prevent 'The Next One'.
Is it just me, or is employing the once-venerable institution of CBS News and '60 Minutes' as a fluffer for The Grey Men in Grey Suits a move that reeks of desperation? More importantly, will enough of the populace smell the rat?
"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.” -- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Now, as a triple-reverse-double-secret-twist, the Agency could just be using this opportunity to falsely inflate the appearance of importance that Ed and his cache of materials represents. Or this is a warning shot to intimidate all those who hold copies of Ed's materials? A ruse to coax him out of hiding so he may be targeted? Proof that he is really a Trojan who is being inserted into the Sino-Soviet intelligence systems, and the 'collateral fallout' just serves to make him believable and thus effective?
I lean towards the desperation angle, myself...
(The link below should work, though the video 'icon' is missing.)