NSA officials say they're missing some pep in their step after the American public learned about the agency's proclivities for spying on them without telling them, The Washington Post reports, and they blame President Obama. "The agency, from top to bottom, leadership to rank and file, feels that it is had no support from the White House even though it’s been carrying out publicly approved intelligence missions," Joel Brenner, the inspector general at the NSA from 2002 to 2006 told the paper. "They feel they’ve been hung out to dry, and they’re right."
In particular, NSA employees – who feel "beaten down" after the revelations leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden – say President Obama could have and should have visited Fort Meade, but hasn't done so. At least that's what they've come to expect from presidents after the public gets outraged at their spycraft. When The New York Times reported in 2006 that the NSA was using wiretaps on U.S. citizens without a court order, President George W. Bush swung by the Puzzle Palace for a little pep talk, says Brenner.
Bush came out and spoke to the workforce, and the effect on morale was tremendous. There’s been nothing like that from this White House.
President Obama, lest we forget, was a senator in 2006 when he upbraided Bush for the program by voting against Michael Hayden's confirmation as CIA director.
A White House spokesperson told the Post that two other close aides to the President visited in his stead.
It's amazing what a little office party cake can do for morale, but it may ruin the levity if you know that your bosses have the ability to activate all the cameras in the office computers (as revealed in a separate story published Friday in The Post) without turning on the light that lets the users know it's on.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.