NSA director Keith Alexander: “Make no mistake about it: These are great people who we’re slamming and tarnishing and it’s wrong. They’re the heroes, not this other and these leakers!”
“The bad guys…hide amongst us to kill our people. Our job is to stop them without impacting your civil liberties and privacy and these programs are set up to do that … The reason we use secrecy is not to hide it from the American people, but to hide it from the people who walk among you and are trying to kill you …”
Mike Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCC) and lawyer for Palantir, tech spying software contractor for the NSA: “Just seeing us here …that inspires confidence, because we’re not a bunch of ogres.”
When you’re protesting you’re “not a bunch of ogres,” it’s a tacit admission of self-consciousness over moral standing in the national security megaplex.
Army general and NSA director Keith Alexander is a special case. As someone who publicly tries to pass off the fiction that Chinese cyber-espionage is the “greatest transfer of wealth in history” at a time of great personal hardship for millions of Americans he is easy to portray as socially tone deaf on a grand scale, someone at the top of the national security pyramid pursuing and building things which are only of importance to the mandarins, corporate and government.
Alexander cannot even capitalize on the normal faux reverence Americans show for all things military. Despite the chest of decorations, he is colorless even in a corps of military men characterized by their appearance as government technocrats serving time until their tickets are punched in the private sector.
And he’s going to rightly have the “greatest transfer of wealth in history” quote hung on him until he’s retired.
As a refresher, from just this morning on the salient problems facing this country in 2013:
46.2 million people in poverty
“Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.”
“Marriage rates are in decline across all races, and the number of white mother-headed households living in poverty has risen to the level of black ones.”
From the census: “[People] ages 35-45 had a 17 percent risk of encountering poverty during the 1969-1989 time period; that risk increased to 23 percent during the 1989-2009 period. For those ages 45-55, the risk of poverty jumped from 11.8 percent to 17.7 percent.”
Comparative statistics, Keith Alexander’s salary: somewhere between 230,000 and 290,000/year.
Amount spent on the military and homeland security during the war on terror: $8 trillion.
The annual Aspen Security Forum, make no mistake, is for the privileged in American society, those who work as the peddlers and crafters of the national security megaplex. It has more in common with a summer festival for wealth in Monaco than anything the American citizenry might experience.
And therein lies a central dilemma in any attempt to restore prosperity, genuine security and fairness in the country. They’re a big part of the problem.
The A-list at the Aspen Security Rent-Seeker Forum — from Cryptome.