In the wake of public outrage over the NSA’s domestic spying program, the agency has released a new Tumblr blog called IC (Intelligence Community) on the Record. The blog, which features statements from IC directors and articles on how the NSA operates, is being sold as a “hub of transparency.” It will, the agency claims, both enable the intelligence community to provide more public disclosures to the American people, and give the American people one easy place to look for information on what the NSA is really doing.
The Tumblr blog does provide some transparency. The administration used the platform to declassify several documents, but nothing important. For instance, it declassified the number of targets required to give it information, but not who those targets were.
But the IC on the Record also purports to provide an objective statement of what the intelligence committee really does: a “just the facts” campaign. Articles include titles like, “NSA Clears up Misconceptions About Compliance.” The blog also includes a series of “Fact Sheets” such as, “National Security Agency / Central Security Service Core Values” and “Facts on the Collection of Intelligence Pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.”
This sort of propaganda campaign is ironic given how often the administration’s been caught lying about the facts of the NSA’s spying.
Let’s review. Asked on March 12 by Senator Wyden, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (the man responsible for most of the tumblr posts) said “no.” He lied. As Slate points out in this excellent article, he knew he was