NSA officials told to evoke 9/11 sympathies when justifying mass surveillance
By Anthony Cuthbertson | ITProPortal
A newly released internal document reveals details of how officials at the American National Security Agency (NSA) should cite 9/11 and the fear of future attacks when answering questions about the spying programme.
Al Jazeera America obtained the government document through a Freedom of Information Act request, which details ’soundbites that resonate’ and suggested talking points when dealing with the media and with Congress following the spy scandal that originated from leaked NSA documents by former contractor Edward Snowden.
Included in the ’soundbites that resonate’, is the suggested response: "I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent."
In the 27 page document, the phrase ’9/11’ is mentioned a total of fifteen times. Statements include: "NSA and its partners must make sure we connect the dots so that the nation is never attacked again like it was on 9/11," as well as, "Post-9/11 we made several changes and added a number of capabilities to enable us to connect the dots," "If we had Section 215 in place prior to 9/11, we may have known that 9/11 hijacker Khalid Al Midhar was located in San Diego," and "In recent years, these programs together with other intelligence have protected the US and our allies from terrorist threats across the globe, to include helping to prevent over 50 potential terrorist events since 9/11."
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“Those who wish to do us harm now know how we counter their actions; this had done irreversible harm to our nation’s security.”
“From my perspective this is not a political debate, this is a national security issue.”
“These programs have helped prevent over 50 terrorist events since 9/11, while also carefully protecting civil liberties and privacy of our citizens.”
“Every time there are disclosures, it makes our job harder."
Many of these, or a version have them, have been utilized by intelligence officials over the last four months.
As if on cue, just yesterday, in front of a congressional hearing, NSA Chief Keith Alexander wanted to speak "from the heart."
He said: “How did we end up here? 9/11. Two-thousand nine-hundred and ninety-six people were killed on 9/11. We all distinctly remember that. What I remember most is those firemen running up the stairs to save people, and then lose their lives.”
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