Would you believe that holding a recruitment drive for the NSA is, well, not so easy these days? Apparently some Americans — probably just the ones who are not quite desperate enough for gainful employment and medical benefits — are a little bit uncomfortable with working for an agency that is explicitly tasked with secretly vi0lating (what little is left of) our Fourth Amendment rights. Here, let us enjoy the good parts of this recording of college kids yelling at the NSA, courtesy of student journalist Madiha R. Tahir:
Tahir: “Do you consider Germany and the countries that the NSA has been spying upon to be adversaries, or are you, right now, not speaking the truth?”
Recruiter 1: “You can define adversary as ‘enemy’ and, clearly, Germany is not our enemy. But would we have foreign national interests from an intelligence perspective on what’s going on across the globe? Yeah, we do.”
Tahir: “So by ‘adversaries’, you actually mean anybody and everybody. There is nobody, then, by your definition that is not an adversary. Is that correct?”
Yes, duh. What — do you think the Cold War is over or something? No, it is not over, which is why we are spying on those socialists in Europe. Also, we have a War on Terror going on at the same time, which means we have to collect metadata from all Americans, just in case one of them becomes a terrorist. What is a “terrorist,” you ask, perplexed about the fact that neither the international community nor the United States is able to present one unified, clear, coherent legal definition? Not important, let the secret surveillance court worry about that, dear. Seriously, can’t the NSA just hand out highlighter pens that look like tampons and talk to kids without being harassed?
No, of course they can’t, because something about kids and their entitlement.
Tahir: “I think the question here is do you actually think about the ramifications of the work that you do, which is deeply problematic, or do you just dress up in costumes and get drunk?” [A reference to an earlier comment the recruiter made about NSA employees working hard and going to the bar to do karaoke.]
Recruiter 2: “… reporting the info in the right context is so important because the consequences of bad political decisions by our policymakers is something we all suffer from.”
Unnamed female student: “And people suffer from the misinformation that you pass along so you should take responsibility as well.”
*Cough* Acommiesayswhat? *cough.* Anyway, the amount of Americans curtailing their activities or self-censoring as a result of the NSA revelations is sad but it is a necessary price to pay for our freedom. See, you have to give up freedom to get more freedom, it is simple math. Clearly none of these kids take math at college.
Male student: “General Alexander [head of the NSA] also lied in front of Congress.”
Recruiter 1: “I don’t believe that he did.”
Male student: “Probably because access to the Guardian is restricted on the Department of Defence’s computers. I am sure they don’t encourage people like you to actually think about these things. Thank God for a man like Edward Snowden who your organisation is now part of a manhunt trying to track down, trying to put him in a little hole somewhere for the rest of his life. Thank God they exist.”
This is where we are in 2013, by the way: someone is “thanking God” for Edward Snowden. Well, you go to war with the libertarian whistle-blower/hacker you have, not the one you want, we suppose, but still! Even those of us who are fans of Edward Snowden can hopefully agree that we are in a sorry state if all our institutions have failed us to the point that America’s youngsters can only count on a guy stuck in a lounge in Moscow.