The Washington Post’s article detailing the fourth amendment abuses by the NSA got some push back from the administration who attempted to “edit” the article before publication. The internal audit referenced in the article was obtained by the WaPo from Edward Snowden. The details of the audit indicated repeated and growing privacy violations by the NSA, violations which included obtaining thousands of American citizen’s communications records and using methods of information collection that were later deemed unconstitutional by a court.
The Post was able to interview John Delong, NSA director of compliance for the article and they were initially informed “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.” However, the WH subsequently changed their minds. The Washington Post included the following statement with their article:
The 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.