Monday, March 20, 2017

Leaky Washington - Who Is To Blame?

Updated November 2018

With Julian Assange's future looking increasingly desperate, a 2017 interview with former CIA, NSA boss and Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Michael Hayden, on the United Kingdom's BBC network is particularly pertinent given the odds that Mr. Assange will face American justice.  When Mr Hayedn was asked about his opinion on the WikiLeaks Vault 7 revelations which spill the beans on the CIA's snooping programs, he was very clear about who he blames for the intelligence community leaks of the past few years.

Here's what he had to say:

Here's the transcript of the key sentences:

"There is another dynamic at work here.  In order to do this kind of stuff, we have to recruit from a certain demographic and I don't mean to judge them at all (even though I am) but this group of millennials and related groups simply have different understandings of the words "loyalty, secrecy and transparency" than certainly my generation did.  And so we bring these folks into the agency, good Americans all I can only assume, but again, culturally, they have different instincts than the people who made the decision to hire them.  We may be running into this different cultural approach that we saw with Chelsea Manning, with Edward Snowden and now, perhaps, with a third actor."

Here's what he really meant to say: "Just imagine, all of those young whippersnappers who think that they can get away with telling the world how the CIA snooped on the world.  Where is their sense of right and wrong?  Back in my day, those of us who worked as spies were able to do whatever we wanted and nobody asked any questions."

In case you were curious, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center, while 67 percent of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 (i.e. baby boomers and those slightly younger) felt that the National Security Agency's program of tracking the telephone records of millions of Americans was acceptable if it was used to investigate possible terrorist threats, only 51 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 felt that it was acceptable.  There is an obvious generational difference in Americans' approach to privacy.

So, in other words and as a refreshing change, rather than blaming Russia for making America and its allies "less safe", Mr. Hayden is pointing the fickle finger of fate at those nasty millennials that the intelligence community is forced to hire because they are the only demographic that is actually capable of creating the product and gathering the data that the Central Intelligence Agency and its peers seem to need so badly in the era of the "internet of things". 

Just in case you forgot, it was Michael Hayden who oversaw the massive expansion in the National Security Agency's communication surveillance programs during his tenure as Director of the NSA between 1999 and 2005.  Obviously, he has a vested interest in blaming outsiders for Leaky Washington.

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