No Civilian Leadership for NSA After All

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Last night I reported that, among other things, the president might be ready to change the leadership of the NSA. Going forward, it would get a civilian leader separate from the military leader of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command. By the time I woke up this morning, that idea was dead:

The Obama administration has decided to preserve a controversial arrangement by which a single military official is permitted to direct both the National Security Agency and the military’s cyberwarfare command, U.S. officials said.

The decision by President Obama comes amid signs that the White House is not inclined to impose significant new restraints on the NSA’s activities — especially its collection of data on virtually every phone call Americans make — although it is likely to impose additional privacy protection measures.

….“The big picture is there’s not going to be that much [additional] constraint,” said one U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “They’re really not hurting [the NSA] that much.”

It’s starting to look like the only part I got right last night might be this: “In the end, I suspect that most of this will amount to very little.”

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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