The National Security Agency is recruiting. Journalist Madiha R Tahir asks some uncomfortable questions of the panel at the University of Wisconsin.
Tahir: “Do you consider Germany and the countries that the NSA has been spying upon to be adversaries, or are you, right now, not speaking the truth?”
NSA Recruiter 1: “You can define adversary as ‘enemy’ and, clearly, Germany is not our enemy. But would we have foreign national interests from an intelligence perspective on what’s going on across the globe? Yeah, we do.”
Tahir: “So by ‘adversaries’, you actually mean anybody and everybody. There is nobody, then, by your definition that is not an adversary. Is that correct?”
NSA Recruiter 1: “That is not correct.”
NSA Recruiter 2: “… for us, our business is apolitical, OK? We do not generate the intelligence requirements. They are levied on us … We might use the word ‘target’.”
Tahir: “I’m just surprised that for language analysts, you’re incredibly imprecise with your language. And it just doesn’t seem to be clear.”
As an undergraduate I once considered taking the Foreign Service exam and exploring the diplomatic life. I understood then that the United States has no friends, no nation that could be trusted without qualification. We live in an adversarial world.
I do not know how to fix that.