Smearing NSA Helps No One but the Kremlin

Yesterday, The Intercept returned to its roots. Established in 2014 to pimp the vast trove of U.S. intelligence documents stolen by Edward Snowden before he fled to Moscow, the website gained notoriety for its trenchant left-wing views and consistent condemnation of Western governments, above all America’s. Although The Intercept boasts of its “fearless, adversarial journalism that holds the powerful accountable,” it seems a lot more interested in exposing the secrets of law-based democracies than those of the authoritarian dictatorships that threaten them.

Yesterday’s alleged bombshell, “The Wiretap Rooms: The NSA’s Hidden Spy Hubs in Eight U.S. Cities,” was trademark. Based on top-secret documents stolen by Snowden when he worked as an IT contractor for the agency, this incredibly verbose exposé reveals that NSA has partnered with private telecommunications firms for decades to accomplish its mission: the collection and analysis of signals intelligence for the U.S. government.

The piece goes into considerable detail about NSA’s partnership with AT&T since the mid-1980s in a Top Secret Codeword program termed FAIRVIEW. (As I was “read into” FAIRVIEW during my time with NSA, I have no comment on the veracity of the reporting, except to state that the classified NSA slides included in the report, which date to 2011 and were stolen by Snowden, appear to be genuine.) As The Intercept presents in the most breathlessly nefarious manner possible, NSA and the private sector work together, in a completely legal fashion, to provide SIGINT for Washington and our allies.

Read the rest at The Observer …