The National Security Agency is telling its story like never before. Never mind whether that story is, well, true.
On Sunday night, CBSâ€™s 60 Minutes ran a remarkable piece that provided NSA officials, from director Keith Alexander to junior analysts, with a long, televised forum to push back against criticism of the powerful spy agency. Itâ€™s an opening salvo in an unprecedented push from the agency to win public confidence at a time when both White House reviews and pending legislation would restrict the NSAâ€™s powers.
But mixed in among the dramatic footage of Alexander receiving threat briefings and junior analysts solving Rubikâ€™s cubes in 90 seconds were a number of dubious claims: from the extent of surveillance to collecting on Google and Yahoo data centers to an online â€śkill-switchâ€ť for the global financial system developed by China.
Reporter John Miller, a former official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and an ex-FBI spokesman, allowed these claims to go unchallenged. The Guardian, not so much. Hereâ€™s our take: