Morale at the US spook agency the NSA has plummeted, according to an officialish survey. According to the Washington Post, spooks working for the NSA were apparently labouring under the impression that they were fighting the good fight and were the white hats in any US spying efforts.
The Edward Snowden revelations showed that they were not as squeaky clean as they thought, and that efforts were lowering the standards of the world. To make matters worse, they are concerned that President Barak Obama has not visited them to indicate his support for their actions – after all, he only lives around the corner.
If Obama does show up at the office Christmas party, it is likely that human rights groups might be angry that he appears to be backing the online snooping the agency has been doing.
Obama in June defended the NSA's surveillance as lawful but said that he welcomed the public debate which came from the Snowden leak. But he has also not endorsed legislation that would allow the NSA to carry on. Recently he has suggested that the NSA needs to be muzzled.
Joel Brenner, NSA inspector general from 2002 to 2006, said that the agency, from top to bottom, leadership to regular members, feels that it is had no support from the White House even though it has been carrying out publicly approved intelligence missions.
This was different from the days of George Bush who used to show up for tea and biscuits the moment the NSA had any public disasters. Bush paid a visit to the NSA in January 2006, in the wake of revelations by the New York Times that the agency engaged in a counterterrorism program of warrantless surveillance on U.S. soil beginning after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Brenner said that was a great help to morale and enabled the NSA officers to be enthusiastic and carry out more of their work. However Obama has not come.