When I was a kid, I sometimes had the feeling that I was being watched. The adults told me it was all in my head. Today, I get the same feeling. This time, it’s not my imagination. Big Brother is watching.
It appears his eyesight is getting ever keener.
Take, for example, the National Security Agency. The spy agency is currently on one of its largest hiring sprees in 30 years, according to The Washington Times, and is actively recruiting laid-off Big Tech workers.
It makes sense if you’re the NSA. International intelligence gathering is essential, and so long as the NSA stays within that realm, they’re a necessary asset for national security.
But it is more than a bit worrisome when the NSA starts actively reaching out to technology workers through social media outlets like LinkedIn and job boards such as Glassdoor. That’s what they started doing last fall when word got out that Big Tech companies like Meta and Amazon were getting rid of tens of thousands of skilled workers.
NSA senior talent management strategist Christine Parker said that the agency took notice of the layoff predictions and jumped at the opportunity, in an interview with the Times.
“NSA started reaching out through LinkedIn, through some of our career boards, specifically sending messages to people that we thought might be linked to some companies that either were in the news saying they are going to lay off or were predicted to be laid off,” Parker said. “Just kind of let them know that we’re here and that we have this robust, ongoing hiring program.”
Parker said nearly 30,000 people looked at NSA’s job postings and about 2,000 people applied.
Molly Moore, NSA deputy director of workforce support activities, said that the agency intends to hire 3,000 more employees to be stationed throughout the country from Washington D.C. to Hawaii and numerous places in between.
The NSA wouldn’t say how much taxpayer money they’ll be using to fund the hiring spree, according to the Times. In 2022, the intelligence community cost taxpayers about $89.8 billion.
“We certainly offer stability, and that’s what’s really kind of front of mind for a lot of people these days in the wake of these layoffs,” Moore told the Times. “But we offer amazing missions, things that people can’t do in private-sector companies for the most part. This is not just a job; it’s a mission.”
Is Moore saying that the NSA is recruiting for spy missions to be carried out by people recruited for their expertise in domestic surveillance? It sounds like it.
That sounds great if you’re an out-of-work Big Tech type. In the private sector, companies aren’t allowed to use wiretaps, spy satellites and the like. The NSA and other governmental agencies can and do. That’s all well and good when the mission remains on the international side of things.
But Silicon Valley knows how to do it domestically, and they’re very good at it. It makes one wonder why the NSA is so interested in hiring people with a Silicon Valley skill set.
The CIA, in one example, has had its hand in Twitter’s internal content moderation for years. Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files” revealed “mountains of insistent moderation demands” from the Democratic National Committee, but not from the GOP, according to the New York Post.
In another example, independent journalist and former gubernatorial candidate for California Michael Shellenberger, in an interview on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” said the FBI efforts to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story looked like a CIA “psychological operation.”
Shellenberger’s reporting uncovered a “disturbing pattern” of “relentless pressure by external FBI agents on Twitter to basically adapt its content moderation, also to share information.”
“Then you had these forces inside Twitter — former FBI officials, particularly Jim Baker — who very strenuously argued for the censorship of the New York Post reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop and the emails that showed these very questionable business dealings with China and other countries,” Schellenberger said.
But the FBI is not the NSA, right? Sometimes it’s not so easy to tell.
Matt Taibbi’s reporting on the “Twitter Files,” found that “regular meeting[s] of the multi-agency Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF)” were attended by Twitter and “virtually every major tech firm [including] Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Reddit, even Pinterest, and many others.” It also included “FBI personnel, and nearly always one or two attendees marked ‘OGA’.”
“OGA, or ‘Other Government Organization,’ can be a euphemism for CIA, according to multiple former intelligence officials and contractors,” Taibbi reported.
FBI, CIA, NSA — it’s difficult to keep track of who works for who in the U.S. spy trade.
Whatever the case, U.S. intelligence, through the FITF, tasked Twitter analysts to investigate domestic Twitter accounts alleged to have foreign connections with bad actors through 2022.
Twitter analyzed users’ IP data, phone numbers and went so far as to determine whether or not user names were “Russian-sounding” to confirm the government’s accusations, reported the Post.
You get the picture. It is clear that U.S. intelligence agencies have monitored and manipulated domestic social media accounts to adjust or suppress narratives as they see fit.
Why would the NSA be so keen on hiring Big Tech people who know how to monitor domestic data and potentially leverage it? Does this say more about Big Tech or our American spy agencies? It’s getting more and more difficult to tell them apart as well.
When the NSA is openly recruiting laid-off Big Tech employees on social media and job boards, it should concern Americans. It’s like the spies are hiding in plain sight.
Big Brother is watching. And he might just be watching you.
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