White House Tries and Fails to Rewrite NSA Quotes to Washington Post


The White House has targeted journalists for prosecution to a much greater degree than any administration in the past. You might think they’d have backed down after the furor around the identification of James Rosen as a criminal for regular news-gathering, but it seems like they’re doubling down on their war on news media.

After interviewing an NSA official on the administration’s position on domestic spying, the Washington Post was contacted by the White House and told they were not to use any of the interview they had obtained.

Below is the explanation of events from the Washington Post:

An NSA interview, rewrittenThe Obama administration referred all questions for this article to John DeLong, the NSA’s director of compliance, who answered questions freely in a 90-minute interview. DeLong and members of the NSA communications staff said he could be quoted “by name and title” on some of his answers after an unspecified internal review. The Post said it would not permit the editing of quotes. Two days later, White House and NSA spokesmen said that none of DeLong’s comments could be quoted on the record and sent instead a prepared statement in his name. The Post declines to accept the substitute language as quotations from DeLong. The statement is below.

We want people to report if they have made a mistake or even if they believe that an NSA activity is not consistent with the rules. NSA, like other regulated organizations, also has a “hotline” for people to report — and no adverse action or reprisal can be taken for the simple act of reporting. We take each report seriously, investigate the matter, address the issue, constantly look for trends, and address them as well — all as a part of NSA’s internal oversight and compliance efforts. What’s more, we keep our overseers informed through both immediate reporting and periodic reporting. Our internal privacy compliance program has more than 300 personnel assigned to it: a fourfold increase since 2009. They manage NSA’s rules, train personnel, develop and implement technical safeguards, and set up systems to continually monitor and guide NSA’s activities. We take this work very seriously.

It’s remarkable that the Obama administration thinks they can so easily demand the news media change their stories to suit their agenda needs, but also that the Post didn’t bend. Further, how is it that they need to retract quotes they were fully prepared to give, under conditions fully known to both parties? Add incompetence to the sheer arrogance of this administration.

OK everyone, say it with me, “what if Bush had done that?!”

h/t Ace of Spades