Meet the NSA

posted at 6:38 pm on May 12, 2006 by Michelle

NSA website
Natl Cryptologic Museum
Natl Cryptologic Memorial
Americans support NSA
Bush defends

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That was an uplifting Vent.

ZRyan on May 12, 2006 at 6:56 PM

Meanwhile, USA Today, and others, are reserving comment for a future publication (re: never) of opinion columns and “factual” reporting of Google and Yahoo submitting to Chinese censorship laws and even providing “private and personal” information on users of their servies to the Chinese government leading to arrests.

hadsil on May 12, 2006 at 6:58 PM

“And for want of it”…our enemies must be watching with disbelief as our press provides them with all the intelligence they need to attack us. It beggars belief that our very own news agencies so cavalierly dispense information they KNOW will harm the USA. Each time another leak appears, another opening is gained by the bad guys. WHY? So they can claim a “scoop”? If we are destroyed, what are they going to “scoop” then? GREAT field trip!!

labwrs on May 12, 2006 at 7:06 PM

I loved this Vent….Like ZRyan, I found it uplifting.

Melba Toast on May 12, 2006 at 7:19 PM

Like it, heck loved it. Uplifting as the above all said! However, this was almost in the way of “news,” not as a vent! Thanks for returning today before my anticipation gave way to abject fear!

DougW on May 12, 2006 at 7:27 PM

Great Vent Michelle

Well worth the wait

DymunQ on May 12, 2006 at 7:28 PM


The Ugly American on May 12, 2006 at 7:39 PM


Thanks for the tour of the museum and an explanation of the NSA.

Perhaps there should be a T-Shirt or bumper sticker asking the question; “HAVE YOU HUGGED AN NSA AGENT TODAY?”

And of course, for the great stuff you do for us, Michelle, there should also be a “HAVE YOU HUGGED MICHELLE MALKIN TODAY?” T-Shirt with Mr. Malkin’s approval, of course :-).

The False Dervish on May 12, 2006 at 8:12 PM

Very nicely done, Michelle. The Washington quote should be rammed down the throat of everyone pulling a paycheck from the US Government and prosecutions should commence immediately thereafter.

Treason is not dissent.

Pablo on May 12, 2006 at 8:38 PM

Would that one or more of my kids aspired to NSA. Time for a field trip.

Thanks, Michelle.

sparta on May 12, 2006 at 9:30 PM

BravoZulu (Well Done)as the code book says.

If you know a bright young person into crossword puzzles, languages and mathematics then the NSA has an excellant reputation as an employer. As is unsurprising to most veterans the military controlled NSA (It is commanded by a General or Admiral) is a much more progressive employer than the civilian CIA. Back when Bobby Ray Inman was in charge the story was a young man was accused of homosexuality. This was before “Don’t Ask” and was normally a fast end to any job with a security clearance. The Admiral called the young man in question into his office, handed him the telephone, and said “Call your Mother.” Once he heard her told he was satisfied there was no risk of blackmail or a security leak so he told the employee to get back to work.

BTW Michelle, you once gave me your card at a Donald Smith Foundation Debate but your Comcast mailbox is full.

LifeofTheMind on May 12, 2006 at 9:58 PM

Best Vent yet.

Bob's Kid on May 12, 2006 at 10:21 PM


I am sorry, but this puts your site to shame. You are an awesome video blogger and I wish you did this over at your site.

Your sarcasm, intellect and charm have made blogging fun again, with all of the mess going around our nation (i.e. borders, elections, borders).

Keep up the good work!

hiddennook on May 13, 2006 at 12:30 AM

A nice sober, uplifting look at those who have worked in the shadows..

Thank you.

zeluna on May 13, 2006 at 12:31 AM

Great Vent! I like the field trip idea. I know more now about the NSA than I have ever gotten from the MSM.

d1carter on May 13, 2006 at 12:51 AM

Excellent Vent, as usual. Keep up the good work, everyone.

Incidentally, a guy called Rush Limbaugh today. He actually worked in Military Intel at NSA on the surveilance program, and he said they had very strict rules about gathering information and how they could use it. For instance, if they monitored a frequency and happened to pick up a domestic call in which someone was discussing commiting a crime, he would go to jail if he told anyone about it, since they did not have permission to use the information. Automatic 15 years. He really gave a clear view of how the law IS being obeyed.

Jezla on May 13, 2006 at 1:32 AM

Superb Vent, Michelle!

Very informative and uplifting.


Jack Deth on May 13, 2006 at 4:36 AM

During WWII, an American newspaper revealed in one of its stories that the we had cracked the Japanese Purple code in an article about one of the Pacific battles. Fortunately the Japanese never found out about that article but if it did, countless American lives would have been lost due to that revelation.

pjcomix on May 13, 2006 at 6:48 AM

What kind of place is this, anyway? Who says that the weekends are news free? Also, we darned well want our comments and sarcasm everyday or else!

Thanks for listening and have a great day!

Remember, tomorrow’s Mother’s Day so take her fishing so she can spend quality time with you!

DougW on May 13, 2006 at 9:59 AM

Another wonderful Vent Michelle. I so wish I could go to that museum.

I do have one small suggestion though and it was about the music played in the background….I found it a little annoying as it took away from me being able to focus on what you were saying. Maybe a gentler music could be used next time…the beat in that last piece was too noticable, and since my hubby is a film music composer…well, it just stands out – or I just have a trained ear for these things.

stacyharp on May 13, 2006 at 10:23 AM

I don’t know who this Preston guy is, but he is lucky to be closely associated with you. Your Vents are very cool. Most writers don’t easily make the leap from writing to scripted video, as Rich Lowry has, I hope, realised by now. But I still sense that you are less at ease in working from a script and the editing is also working against you. However, I heartily encourage you to continue in this medium as it will be the dominant form in my childrens’ generation.

I do hope you do not lose your extemporaneous style, though, with which you are most formidable. You are, as is Mr. Lowry, Ann Coulter, Jonah Goldberg and the rest of the younger conservative voices, vital to the conservative appeal and, I hope, growth over the coming generations.

Looking forward to a lot of Hot Air from you AND Mr. Preston.

netherman79 on May 13, 2006 at 1:55 PM

As Mark Steyn said in a recent interview with Hugh Hewitt:

“…the government, for example, knows pretty much about every nickel and dime that Americans spend. In other words, the principle of the income tax is that you have to justify the bit you keep. It doesn’t really matter whether the tax rate is 10% or 40% or 80%. You have to justify to them the legitimacy of the bits you keep. And that involves giving them an awful lot of information about your expenses on automobiles, and your expenses on purchases, and everything else.”

That pretty much proves the phoniness of those on the left who prattle about our “right to privacy”. Ask those privacy advocates whether they’d be willing to get rid of the income tax.

By the way, anyone who isn’t familiar with Mark Steyn or Hugh Hewitt should get to know them. Mr. Steyn is one of the best conservative columnists out there. He has a way with words which absolutely nails his points home.

Mr. Hewitt is a talk show host who also has an excellent blog. His talk show transcripts are usually posted on Radio Blogger. He often interviews media types and is unrelenting in exposing their bias and lack of knowledge.

Orcaswa on May 13, 2006 at 5:27 PM

Very nice piece of work! Looselips do sink ships. I wish secrets were kept better. We just don’t need to know everything the government does. But in total contradiction with those thoughts, I truly believe that “He Who Sacrifices Liberty for Security Deserves Neither”. Snoop all you want government but quit leaking it or getting caught!

airgun1 on May 13, 2006 at 5:54 PM

Excellent. The left in this country has lost all common sense, their national pride, and their minds.

Metro on May 13, 2006 at 6:16 PM

This is a difficult issue. I have absolutely no problem with a government I trust to be protecting this country knowing about me and what I do. If I think about George Bush knowing information about me, I have know problem. If I think about Bill or Hillary knowing information about me, it is quite another story. It is for this reason that the founding patriots put privacy laws and the right to keep an bear arms in place — they didn’t trust ANY government — even the one they were creating.

I am more willing to give up my freedoms when there is imminent danger, and we are in imminent danger. So I don’t mind my phone logs being analyzed in a data base. I suspect my financial transactions are being analyzed as well.

But really, I am not as afraid of terrorists as I am the traitors in this country who would destroy our government for the power to advance their own agendas. I think there are a large number who just have way left fanatical ideas — who want the concept of a Nation subject to God eradicated from reality. But there is a smaller group, far more sinister, who seem to be using the “disenfranchised victims” to hijack or destroy our country. I don’t know what the motives are, but I am very concerned. For these people, I am in favor of stealth and clandestine operations to find out this truth.

The problem is, the nature of thier evil as out of the realm our current laws, and gaining our country back will require exposing thier evil intent to the people of this democracy. I am afraid, however, that the people of this democracy have become so sedated and hypnotized by a hijacked educational system (K-12), university system, and media, that, even if the truth were exposed, we won’t have a critical mass to oppose them.

Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, and other founders were correct in thier assessments that the security of this country rested on the quality of education of our children. I think Mr. Jefferson would be troubled with the state of our educational system now. As referenced in Mischelle’s vent, I think neither he or Washington would have any trouble going to great lengths to expose the motives of those seeking to rewrite the truths of our history and principles of our union.

What is happening is treasonous, but how do we prosecute for treason without elliciting an outcry of “gestapo dictatorial government” from the blind left. We might be exposing the same NSA actions if Bill and Hillary were behind the data mining (or FBI file creation) because we don’t trust thier intent. We need to better expose the intent of the groups within our borders, and seek to have a nation united by common principles based on truth.

CountryDoc on May 13, 2006 at 8:55 PM

Great Vent field trip! I have some interest in cryptography myself, and would love to see that museum in person one day. If more people knew the kind of work that “No Such Agency” does on our behalf, fewer people would fear it…but some things must remain “secret even in success.”

(I am also reminded of your work on documenting the Japanese relocation during WWII and showing that it was absolutely justified…didn’t some of the impetus for that program come from intercepts of Japanese encrypted communications?)

Erbo on May 13, 2006 at 10:16 PM

The legitimacy of the Japanese internment should be debated, just as the NSA programs should be debated; no loss of freedom and privacy should ever be taken lightly.

As a died-in-the-wool conservative, what bothers me about “loss of privacy” and “government usurpation of power” is that the very concepts are little more than liberal Democratic talking points, anymore.

My personal tendancy is to agree that there was a good case for internment of Japanese-Americans (even if the implementation might have gone a bit overboard), and that there is even a better case for passive data mining today, such as the NSA is doing. Good people can disagree on these points, but the MSM and the Ralph Neas types seem to have abandoned any pretense of intelectual honesty in this matter.

That having been said, I am a true-blue patriot, and if I thought that it would help to catch a terrorist, I would gladly invite any interested government agency to tap my phones to prevent the death of even one civilian innocent. Most distrust of government seems to be ginned-up today simply because the wrong people are in power…the people with the (R)’s behind their names.

gryphon202 on May 13, 2006 at 10:47 PM

I wrote a long post that may have been filtered out a few hours ago. I’ll try to shorten it here and be less specific.

Compromising our freedoms is serious business. We have checks and balances in place for it: A judge must issue a search warrant. We give the president more liberties at war, to help us operate more efficiently. There were checks and balances here: There was debate between the phone companies and the government. There is ongoing accountability required. Bush and the NSA will remain accountable for what information they get and how they use it. So far there is no apparent improper use of the information, and it HAS FOILED terrorist attacks.

Now if Bush gathered FBI files for personal gain of political power, that would be serious. If something happened like that in this country, I would expect the media to be all over it, and to not report it would be aiding and abetting a criminal — Treasonous. And to publicly leak a secret program that was helping us track a national enemy — that is treasonous.

CountryDoc on May 13, 2006 at 11:16 PM

For 100 years or more our telephone companies have been listing in alphabetical order the names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone having a telephone. Then they give this info away free! Under today’s MSM frenzy over privacy, this should be viewed as a greater threat than the NSA. And remember the old movies where they instructed folks with a secret to use a pay phone? What’s new?

Crude One on May 14, 2006 at 12:14 AM

My history is a admittedly shamefully a little foggy, but during WWII, the allies cracked the German code. They learned that the German Airforce was going to bomb a British city and when. If they evacuated the city, the Germans would know the code was cracked. By not evacuating the city, the secret was kept and used to further the cause and win the war. They purposely lost a battle to win the war. Winston Churchill had visited the city after the bombing.

The MSM want to win the battle to lose the war they don’t even acknowledge exists.

hadsil on May 14, 2006 at 12:57 AM

I have been to the cryptologic museum and it is fabulous. However, the road to the musuem is horribly marked. I ended up at the NSA instead. I think it happens to a lot of people. When I talked to the guard, he rolled his eyes and said I missed my turn.

Great vent. Love history especially history related to spying. One of the few pieces of common ground I have with my lefty brother.

swampleg on May 14, 2006 at 11:04 AM

Good choice for your first field trip. Was it a ‘family day’ trip or specifically for ‘Vent’?

How long did it take to put that episode together (excluding photography), compared to a usual episode?

solitas on May 14, 2006 at 12:50 PM

This was one of the best Vents yet. Even if you take out the inspirational and political aspects, it’s still worth watching for sheer educational value. I’ve been enjoying Michelle’s writing for a couple of years now and have caught her on tv a couple of times but seeing her presenting; she’s such great screen presence. She’d own people on a debate show; she wouldn’t even have to say anything half the time; she can say so much with a look. Well done Michelle!

austinnelly on May 15, 2006 at 10:52 PM