The letter below was sent to the Goucher College newspaper, The Quindecim.
John Inglis was a very poor choice for the 2014 President's Forum.
It was quite a disappointment to discover that John Inglis, who was forced out as the deputy director of the National Security Agency, would be the speaker at Goucher College's 2014 President's Forum. While there was a worthy topic, "Security and Privacy: Values and Conflict," it would have been better explored if Thomas Drake, an NSA whistleblower, would have been the speaker. Or if the format was a debate rather than an opportunity for Inglis to defend the NSA's unconstitutional behavior.
As a long-time protester of the NSA, I went to the forum on February 20, as it is rare to hear from an NSA insider. Would Inglis apologize for the unconstitutional operations of the NSA? No. Would he thank Edward Snowden for exposing such nefarious actions as spying on German Chancellor Angela
Merkel? No. In fact, he pointedly avoided mentioning Snowden's name.
Inglis, despite Snowden's revelations to the contrary, claimed there are checks and balances. Actually, there is almost no Congressional oversight, and the secret Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Court is a rubber stamp. Senator Barbara Mikulski, who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote this to me: "All intelligence programs must be constitutional, legal, authorized and necessary." Sadly, the NSA repeatedly fails on all counts.
During the Q & A, after a series of softball questions, I quickly asked four questions:
1] Why were there no resignations by high-level officials at the NSA after the massive intelligence failure relating to the 9/11 terrorist attack?
2] Were you involved in ordering NSA operative Frank Koza to work with British intelligence to bug United Nations Security Council members prior to a vote on invading Iraq in 2003?
3] Why did your former boss Gen. Keith Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lie to Congress?
4] What role does the NSA play in the killer drone assassination program that has resulted in at least five U.S. citizens being murdered?
Of course, in response Inglis obfuscated. He claimed the NSA did excellent work prior to 9/11, that James Clapper has performed admirably in his decades of government service and that the NSA simply follows policy from the executive branch.
Despite the fact we live in a national security state with very little governmental transparency, the NSA failed miserably to protect us on 9/11.
Inglis dodged the Frank Koza question, as this operation was blatantly criminal. Claiming the NSA follows the policy of the administration, he neglected to note that he swore to uphold the constitution and thus should not have followed any illegal order. There was only one student who expressed any misgivings about the NSA. He said, "You may be doing good and legal work, but it's immoral." Actually, the NSA has repeatedly violated the constitution.
The Goucher College community would benefit if instead of an NSA apologist/obfuscator, the university hosted a NSA critic. There are many.
Thanks to Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, we are better aware of the machinations of the NSA. Of course, the Obama administration has gone on attack to stifle whistleblowers and journalists who expose government malfeasance. Some are imprisoned, and others are facing trials. For example, Chelsea Manning, who exposed war crimes, received a 35-year jail term.
The Fourth Amendment, against illegal search and seizures, guarantees a right to privacy. However, unless we the people force our government to honor the constitution and to abide by basic moral standards, the National Security Agency will continue with vigor to shred the constitution.
Max Obuszewski can be reached at mobuszewski at Verizon.net.
Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net.
Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs