NSA Deletes Honesty and Openness From Core Values
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Intercept
Posted: February 5th, 2018
The National Security Agency maintains a page on its website that outlines its mission statement. 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. 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 agencys 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. All references to trust, honor, and openness have disappeared. The agency previously stated on its website that it embraced transparency and claimed that all of its activities were aimed at ensuring the safety, security, and liberty of our fellow citizens. That has also been discarded. The new list of values includes the additions respect for people and accountability. But the section on respecting people is a reference to diversity within the NSA workforce, not a general commitment to members of the public. Accountability is defined as taking responsibility for our decisions. The one core value that remains essentially unchanged is respect for the law, which the agency says means it is grounded in our adherence to the U.S. Constitution and compliance with the U.S. laws, regulations and policies that govern our activities.