Despite denials by the Silicon Valley’s top companies, they are the power behind the throne. In a recent interview, former head of the NSA, Michael V. Hayden, told the National Journal on Sunday, that the NSA doesn’t own a single phone or computer at the NSA HQ at Ft Meade that is owned by the NSA. He also said that all the technological know how came from private corporations in the Silicon Valley. That means that the NSA is not in control of the data collected.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who admits he misrepresented himself to a congressional committee (lied), when he described PRISM as, ”an internal government computer system.” That’s how the leak of the spying program was revealed. Snowden was an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton. Through his work on behalf of Booz Allen Hamilton for the NSA, he was able to gather information on the program. Even if you believe the NSA has the duty to gather this information, placing it in the hands of private industry does not promote confidence in the program.
Other companies from the Silicon Valley have played pivotal roles in aiding the NSA in spying on American citizens. They include, Palantir Technologies and Eagle Alliance, a joint venture of Computer Sciences Corp. and Northrup Grumman. Social media giants such as Google and Facebook have denied knowing about PRISM but Google has a history of handing over information to the government without a court order, and Facebook has been targeting conservative groups and bloggers, suspending or even deleting the accounts of those critical of Barack Obama, including Diane Sori, and the Girls on the Right. I have served 2 suspensions myself.
Not so coincidentally, Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg attended a fundraiser for Obama in San Francisco, with many other heads of Silicon Valley companies. Obama regularly cuddles up with execs from companies such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, and several of the other companies where the NSA was able to access data on private citizens. It seems to me that it is pretty disingenuous to suggest they had no knowledge what the NSA was doing. Their denials are understandable considering the embarrassment it has caused. But consider this, if the government can access these portals without their knowledge, just how secure could they actually be?
Steven Ahle is the Editor of Red Statements and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.