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NSA Deletes 'Honesty' and 'Openness' From Core Values (theintercept.com) 263

An anonymous shares a report: The National Security Agency maintains a page on its website that outlines its mission statement. But earlier this month, the agency made a discreet change: It removed "honesty" as its top priority. Since at least May 2016, the surveillance agency had featured honesty as the first of four "core values" listed on NSA.gov, alongside "respect for the law," "integrity," and "transparency." The agency vowed on the site to "be truthful with each other." On January 12, however, the NSA removed the mission statement page -- which can still be viewed through the Internet Archive -- and replaced it with a new version. Now, the parts about honesty and the pledge to be truthful have been deleted. The agency's new top value is "commitment to service," which it says means "excellence in the pursuit of our critical mission." Those are not the only striking alterations. In its old core values, the NSA explained that it would strive to be deserving of the "great trust" placed in it by national leaders and American citizens. It said that it would "honor the public's need for openness." But those phrases are now gone; all references to "trust," "honor," and "openness" have disappeared.
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NSA Deletes 'Honesty' and 'Openness' From Core Values

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  • by DewDude ( 537374 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @11:00AM (#55993029)
    They never cared about any of that shit before...they're just now being open about the fact the only thing they care about is fucking the american public and violating our foruth admendment rights.

    this government is invalid.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by geekmux ( 1040042 )

      They never cared about any of that shit before...they're just now being open about the fact the only thing they care about is fucking the american public and violating our foruth admendment rights.

      You are correct. In the civilian market, I call it Corporate Arrogance. It's when an organization knows damn well that they can do whatever the fuck they want, and there's not a damn thing you can say or do about it.

      They'll change their signature line to Fuck You Very Much and Have a Nice Day soon too.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @11:03AM (#55993041)
    There's nothing "open" about a spying agency, and to be effective spies they need to be dishonest (at least in the field).

    I just hope "respect for (US) law" is really still a thing over there. Things don't look so good over at other agencies...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @11:39AM (#55993319)
      Posting Anonymously for obvious reasons. Many many years ago I did some intelligence work. I would be completely honest about who I was, who I worked for, why I needed the information and what I wanted. I never once had someone who was unhelpful to me. They might not have given me everything that I wanted but even then they might forward me to someone further up who would help. Respect, honesty and saying please goes a long way.
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      A diode that blocks current in both directions is defective.

      • A diode that blocks current in both directions is defective.

        Absolutely wrong.

        There's TVS protection diodes that use the avalanche effect which do exactly this.

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          And if it allows no current to pass during a voltage transient?

          If you're going to be pedantic, do it right.

          • Well if you're going to use that argument, by the same logic, *every* diode passes current in both directions, and there's no such thing as a diode that blocks current in any direction, which renders the original statement nonsensical.

            A correctly-operating diode only blocks current when reverse voltage is lower than the breakdown voltage. There are diodes which block current in both directions in this state.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      The NSA isn't a "spying agency" in the normal sense of the term.
      The problem is, they were given two contradictory missions:
      1) Keep US messages safe
      2) Track and decode messages entering the country
      To do this some parts of it worked on making good encryption, and other parts worked on making sure publicly available encryption could be broken (by them). Eventually the second group got so much the upper hand that they are legitimately no longer trusted by much of anyone.

      For mission 1 honesty and openness are v

  • Refreshing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @11:04AM (#55993049)
    So, now their mission as a surreptitious spy agency dealing with lots of information they can't talk about is no longer being lied about on a PR page. Good. That earlier silliness is especially ironic, given its presence during the previous administration, which appears to have been using that agency's tools against domestic political rivals. Yeah, that was all warm-and-fuzzy "being honest with one another" and "completely transparent" behavior. Unless the agency's executive branch bosses didn't like you, in which case it was the exact opposite. Not that that's the NSA's fault, as an agency - that's entirely on their then-management in the White House, and those in the White House granted the power to troll through signal intelligence and the ability to unmask citizens from their collected communications. Here's looking at you, Susan Rice.
    • Yeah, well, you know, when a country puts itself so high up the *freedom, truth, and justice* pedestal, you might expect them to play the part, but I guess that's asking too much in the game of battling empires.

      So now it's Highlander. There can be only one

      • "There can be only one"

        This is precisely the kind of thinking that gets humans into the predicament that we are in. All effort gets placed into being the one, rather than actually solving problems for mutual benefit of all. Sadly, it looks more and more like global warming will take us all, before we as a species figure this out.

    • That earlier silliness is especially ironic, given its presence during the previous administration, which appears to have been using that agency's tools against domestic political rivals.

      If everything that "appeared" to be true on the Fox News and Breitbart was actually true then you've be living under the fascist dicatorship of a gay atheist Muslim from Kenya.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ScentCone ( 795499 )
        So what you're saying is that the long list of Susan Rice's unmasking targets is imaginary. That the records of self-proclaimed Clinton partisans assigned to investigate Clinton altering the language of the bureau's findings to avoid the words that trigger an indictment, along with their own words proclaiming their approval of a "path" to getting her in office, but the need for an "insurance policy" against the possibility that she might fail ... those records are all imaginary. Please, carry on. Would love
    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      So, now their mission as a surreptitious spy agency dealing with lots of information they can't talk about is no longer being lied about on a PR page. Good.

      Indubitably.... the mission statement is something management hammers into all the employees as values at all levels they EXPECT the members of their organization to express, that affects things like evaluations of their staffs' performance AND the culture of their entity and whistleblowers, etc.

      Thus it's still a very bad thing for them to be subtra

    • Not that that's the NSA's fault, as an agency - that's entirely on their then-management in the White House, and those in the White House granted the power to troll through signal intelligence and the ability to unmask citizens from their collected communications. Here's looking at you, Susan Rice.

      If you don't want people in the government to be able to spy on its citizens, maybe you should just oppose the collection of the information outright. I don't understand why you draw a line between one government entity and another invading the privacy of U.S. citizens. The NSA has no business collecting this information on U.S. citizens, period.

    • It seems to me that you missed the point of having honesty and integrity in their original mission statement and why it was important.

      No one is pretending that the NSA isn't a spy agency. Likewise, no one is pretending that spying isn't necessary when there are authoritarian regimes and organizations eager to take advantage of US citizens. The critical issue is what values, goals and aspirations is it spying for and what motivates the spying. Unless the citizenry has confidence in those, we might as well

  • Big surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @11:05AM (#55993061)

    Please tell me how an agency which violates the constitution and spies on Americans can be allowed to exist? They're worse then the sexual assaults the TSA illegal does daily.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Arzaboa ( 2804779 )

      I've been patted down dozens of times. Not once was there anything sexual about it. Someone brushing their hands by my nuts doesn't constitute (#metoo) sexual assault, no matter what I think about it.

      --
      If only I had more fingers -- Some Guy

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Okay, you haven't been. A lot of women have been touched inappropriately. Regardless of the sexual aspect of it, a government agency searching you for boarding a plane in and of itself is a violation the 4th amendment. If it were a private agency, then we can deal with it. Heck, but security where you board. Then we could have two airlines, AMERICAN Airlines with no searches and SISSY Airlines for those that are afraid. Problem solved.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        Someone brushing their hands by my nuts doesn't constitute (#metoo) sexual assault, no matter what I think about it.

        Actually, it does, and it's only assault when it's unwanted, which clearly, in your case, it isn't.

  • At least they're being honest about it now.

  • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @11:09AM (#55993093)

    Maybe these things should simply be assumed and don't need to appear in every mission statement know to man?

    I know folks will make this into "See They don't CARE about being honest! They took it out of their mission statement!" but I think that's a bit of overreach. Maybe they just assume that honest and ethical activity is always required and they want to highlight what the organization actually does in its mission statement, not how they do it.

    And if you think about their activity... Openness and transparency might not be a good thing to put in a mission statement where it could be misconstrued by individuals in the organization dedicated to the clandestine collection of information.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Privacy is something that is assumed. In fact it is assumed so much that is is not even included in most things, because it is obvious.

      Without privacy all other rights are nullified as they become meaningless.

    • I know folks will make this into "See They don't CARE about being honest! They took it out of their mission statement!" but I think that's a bit of overreach. Maybe they just assume that honest and ethical activity is always required and they want to highlight what the organization actually does in its mission statement, not how they do it.

      Why would you expect anyone appointed by Donald Trump to care about either respecting the law or honesty? I doubt the reason for removing that wording is anything other that a lack of perceived value, and to avoid embarrassing the President by having his spy agencies be seen as more honest than him.

      • I know folks will make this into "See They don't CARE about being honest! They took it out of their mission statement!" but I think that's a bit of overreach. Maybe they just assume that honest and ethical activity is always required and they want to highlight what the organization actually does in its mission statement, not how they do it.

        Why would you expect anyone appointed by Donald Trump to care about either respecting the law or honesty? I doubt the reason for removing that wording is anything other that a lack of perceived value, and to avoid embarrassing the President by having his spy agencies be seen as more honest than him.

        Is that blue partisan Cool-Aide tasty? I think you have been drinking a bit too much of it.

        Seems like there is a limited bag of tricks over there. Bush lied, Trump lies... Bush was a racist, Trump is a racist... I know more than one republican and I can tell you not all of us are lying racists who want grandma dead and starving children, in fact, I don't know even one true republican who fits that description, including Trump. Lay off the blue stuff. You don't have to agree with our choice of methods

        • Seems like there is a limited bag of tricks over there. Bush lied, Trump lies... Bush was a racist, Trump is a racist...

          Sorry buddy, but they aren't tricks. Bush lied (or was duped by Cheney) and Trump lies are both truthful statements.

          On the other hand, while Trump is certainly racist, it's the ignorant racism of an ignorant man, rather than the deliberately malicious racism of an angry skinhead. As for Bush, I don't remember any credible claims that he was racist, and the majority of the claims of racism that were made came from people who were angry over the handling of Hurricane Katrina.

          I know more than one republican and I can tell you not all of us are lying racists who want grandma dead and starving children.

          Well that's certainly a strawman

          • Yea that blue Cool-Aid runs deep with this one...

            Bush lied.... Or Cheney duped him? Way to go with the sound bite over substance and personal attacks over truth...

            How about this.. I'll drink my color, you yours and call this done. I've had arguments with your type before and it doesn't accomplish anything...

            I don't agree with your version of events, I have actual evidence and a valid argument, but you are not interested in hearing it and I'm not interested in wasting my time sifting though all your ina

            • I don't agree with your version of events, I have actual evidence and a valid argument, but you are not interested in hearing it and I'm not interested in wasting my time sifting though all your inaccurate statements about something that happened more than a decade ago now.

              No, actually you don't and that's why you're running away with your tail between your legs. I commend you for putting on a brave show, during your retreat, though. Very convincing, but everyone who's not blinded by partisanship knows the pretence for the invasion of Iraq was false.

              My point is, the argument from your side remains the same and nauseatingly so... And you keep recycling the same things....

              I don't have a side here, I don't have a stake in your politics (petty or otherwise). The things you claim are partisanship are merely true, and you might want to ask yourself why you can't acknowledge obvious truths.

              • AND, you assume that Bush MADE UP the pretense to invade Iraq and knowingly lied about it....

                Words mean things.. Lying is willfully misleading somebody. Bush didn't do that. He was using information given to him by the intelligence community, which pretty much everybody agreed was true at the time. Turns out they where wrong..

                The question is why the Intel community got the WMD in Iraq question so wrong. But you persist with the "Bush Lied" narrative.

                So can we stop this now or do you want to keep beati

                • AND, you assume that Bush MADE UP the pretense to invade Iraq and knowingly lied about it....

                  No, from the evidence, I conclude that Bush either knew that the reasons given for invading Iraq were flimsy (if not completely false) or he was manipulated by Cheney. There is plenty of evidence that that the Bush White House put pressure on American intelligence agencies to provide a justification for the invasion, rather than the other way around.

                  Even Repbulicans in the house, like Republican Porter Goss have said that the intelligence used to justify the invasion was "fragmentary and sporadic".

                  The question is why the Intel community got the WMD in Iraq question so wrong. But you persist with the "Bush Lied" narrative.

                  That's p

                  • You have no evidence Bush knew the evidence he had was false, you are making that part up. All the intelligence reports we have from the time clearly show WMD's where expected in Iraq, and our intelligence community wasn't the only organization with the same perspective.

                    Bush had no ability to force the intelligence community from other countries to agree with anything. Certainly there where more than a few who would have relished the ability to call Bush's bluff at the UN when all this went before the Se

                    • Did you read the Down Street Memo [wikipedia.org]? People knew, at the time, that the case was flimsy. I knew, at the time, that the case for invading Iraq was mostly smoke and mirrors. They were giant flame wars on Slashdot, at the time, over whether or not the the Iraq war justifications were bullshit.

                      I repeat I am not a Democrat and have nothing to do with American politics, however, according to you anyone critical of anything Republican must be a Democrat.

                      Can you say "Russian Collusion" narrative was obviously invented?

                      How hypocritical.

  • They're a spy organization for god's sake.

    But, "honesty"? I guess in the Trump White House it doesn't matter, which is unfortunate because the information is going to be used to place Americans in harm's way and would be critical in negotiating with other countries (trade, arms reduction, etc.).

    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      Deception is part and parcel to the industry. Why would you expect otherwise, and why blame the change on Trump?

      • Deception to outsiders - any government needs honesty in its intelligence organizations.

        Who else to give responsibility for the changes to?

        • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

          I don't disagree. But to the general public, how can it be honest while deceiving an enemy?...it can't. And so, the public simply doesn't get to know what goes on, and it shouldn't, unless those with oversight bring out some abuse of power. These agencies become the fall guy for many politicians ("it was an intelligence failure") because they know that the agencies can do nothing to fight back.

    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      They're a spy organization for god's sake.

      But, "honesty"? I guess in the Trump White House it doesn't matter, which is unfortunate because the information is going to be used to place Americans in harm's way and would be critical in negotiating with other countries (trade, arms reduction, etc.).

      Lack of honesty undermines the NSA's other job of protecting U.S. communications networks and information systems. They might as well remove this as well.

      They also managed to undermine NIST. I no longer trust them either.

  • by Lucas123 ( 935744 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @11:19AM (#55993157) Homepage
    Since at least May 2016 (whoa... that long!), the surveillance agency had featured honesty as the first of four "core values" listed on NSA.gov. They're being more honest now by not attempting to deceive people into believing that they'll open about their work above other values, such as "commitment to service." Just because they removed the feel-good language doesn't mean they'll not continue to be working in the nation's best interests and within the law. But, publications need page views, and this is certainly click-bait worthy.
  • by RJBeery ( 956252 ) <rjbeery@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @11:20AM (#55993167)
    It's much more dishonest to speak about honesty and transparency when they aren't actually embraced to achieve your mission.
  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @11:21AM (#55993175)

    By removing honesty and truthfulness from their mission statement, they are being honest and truthful - perhaps more so that ever!

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @11:22AM (#55993183)

    It's not a change in protocol, it's just admitting what has been reality for a long time.

  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @11:26AM (#55993221)

    ... of what we all knew long ago.

    You can tell that NSA is inhabited by a lot of super-nerds. It's actually a quiet little in-joke. They are virtue signalling by honestly admitting that, not only are they not honest, it isn't even on their "to-do" list.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      You can tell that NSA is inhabited by a lot of super-nerds. It's actually a quiet little in-joke.

      While they do, I doubt any of them were involved. This was probably the result of some senior executive strategy seminar where they discussed their "vision" and "core values" at some fancy executive retreat. No doubt there's a follow-up planned in a year or two to "evaluate" it too.

  • The ENTIRE department of Justice and PLENTY of intelligence agencies run without any oversight from ELECTED officials.

    Chuck Schumer himself mentioned the week Trump was elected the intelligence community has six ways past sunday to fight anyone they don't like.

    That includes voters.

    That includes the American people.

    The president will get held accountable based on what he can pull off, but he has NO control over these organizations that are supposed to operate in his branch of government.

    The Do
  • Technically, by removing those items, maybe the are in fact being more 'honest' in the sense that they are letting everyone know they are not or can not be.
  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @12:02PM (#55993523)
    The NSA had to remove it because they were threatened to be sued for False Advertising.
  • Then you know they are just directly and shamelessly lying to you anyways. Scum stays scum, even (or often specifically) when they go into government jobs.

  • This is a surprise? The NSA is a weapon, not a charity, so that's ironically the most honest thing they've done. They don't exist to make friends, they exist to dominate.
  • They should have gone the other way and elevated their honesty, even putting it in their name.

    Like: Department of Honesty.

    Or: Ministry of Honesty

    Or: Ministry of Truth

    Or: Minitrue, for short.

    • Double plus good!
    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      Department of Justice instead of Department of Law - Justice has nothing to do with law.
      Department of Defense instead of Department of War
      Law Enforcement - Well, that's accurate.
      Homeland Security - Wow, maybe they should have called it NIghtwatch.

  • I, for one, welcome our new fascist overlords!
  • In 2003 the Army deleted the following from their creed:

    I will use every means I have, even beyond the line of duty, to restrain my Army comrades from actions disgraceful to themselves and to the uniform [wikipedia.org].

    So I guess now you are now supposed to support your Army and comrades in committing actions disgraceful to themselves and to the uniform. [wikipedia.org]

    So quickly we forget the lessons of history.

  • "Fake News" and honesty are mutually exclusive... Don't want to embarrass anyone... Now that's settled, let's get back to making America Great Again.

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