by Jake Anderson, Activist Post:
The Intercept recently began releasing batches of top secret internal newsletters from the most important division of the NSA, the Signals Intelligence Directorate, or SIGINT. This is basically the spy division. The internal newsletter, SIDtoday, was never meant to be read by anyone outside of the agency, but it trickled out with the Snowden leak and has been waiting for proper publication. The Intercept will release nine years worth of articles in batches. So far there have been two, and they contain hundreds of articles. They start in the very early stages of the Iraq war, with the first one dated March 31st, 2003.
The articles range in content from a veteran NSA agent nostalgically remembering when there was a beer machine in the cafeteria to the SIGINT director telling everyone the emotions he felt after a top Iraqi leader was killed.
There are light-hearted entries — an article about the origin of April Fool’s Day, a review of Neal Stephenson novel Cryptonomicon, instructions for changing the font size in Netscape and Internet Explorer — and arcane articles that are difficult to understand because of the agency’s strange internal lexicon. Quite frankly, most of it is boring. But it’s an inside look at the human clockwork of one of the most mysterious agencies in the U.S. government. And every so often there is a gem, an illuminating missive straight from the heart of the NSA’s secret files.
After reading hundreds of them, here is my list of the most Orwellian SIDtoday NSA newsletters:
1. An interesting revelation that becomes clear early on is that employees of the Signals Intelligence Directorate speak in corporate lingo. As noted by Peter Maas in his article for the Intercept, intelligence reports are considered “products” and the government agencies requesting intelligence (CIA, DoD, etc.) are considered the “customers.” There is an entire division called “Customer Relationship Directorate.” And, perhaps most eerily, they have a category of “products” referred to as the “Counterterrorism Product Line.”
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