The NSA and the tech industry, together in feeling misunderstood

Tech industry executives, many for the first time, talk in a new piece in Wired on their frustrations with the government’s national surveillance programs but also in getting their story out.

Face­book’s global communications head, Michael Buckley, told Wired’s Steven Levy that “we can put out any statement or statistics, but in the wake of what feels like weekly disclosures of other government activity, the question is, will anyone believe us?”

Levy notes that the tech industry’s concerns about not being understood are echoed among national security leaders about their own work.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the 7,000+ word article, which is mostly a rehash of the events of the past seven months, were interviews with National Security Agency leaders, including U.S. Army General Keith Alexander and Rick Ledgett, who heads the agency’s Media Leaks Task Force, a position was created last summer specifically for handling the NSA leak stories.

Some quotes from Ledgett:

No one knows how the NSA works…It’s always been a black box, Enemy of the State movies, stuff like that. People don’t understand the NSA’s checks and balances.

And on Americans now worried they are being spied on:

It’s almost delusional….I wish I could get to the high mountaintop to scream, ‘You’re not a target!’

Above: The National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, MD. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Michelle Quinn Michelle Quinn (213 Posts)

Michelle Quinn is a Business Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. Prior to her current role, she was the Silicon Valley correspondent at Politico covering tech policy and politics. She has also covered the tech industry at the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She was a blogger for the New York Times.