Chief DHS Privacy Officer: Government Called Privacy Office “Terrorists”

Washington’s Blog

DHS Pretends It Still Has Privacy Officers … When They’ve All Quit In Disgust

Wall Street Journal reporter Jennifer Valentino tweets:

Former DHS Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan: DHS Privacy Office was accused monthly of being “terrorists” by DHS, IC  

“DHS” stands for the Department of Homeland Security; “IC” stands for the intelligence community.

This is not an isolated or melodramatic statement.  Rather, it is how the homeland security and intelligence communities look at privacy.

For example, former NSA and CIA boss Michael Hayden compared privacy advocates to terrorists:

“If and when our government grabs Edward Snowden, and brings him back here to the United States for trial, what does this group do?” said retired air force general Michael Hayden, who from 1999 to 2009 ran the NSA and then the CIA, referring to “nihilists, anarchists, activists, Lulzsec, Anonymous, twentysomethings who haven’t talked to the opposite sex in five or six years”.

“They may want to come after the US government, but frankly, you know, the dot-mil stuff is about the hardest target in the United States,” Hayden said, using a shorthand for US military networks. “So if they can’t create great harm to dot-mil, who are they going after? Who for them are the World Trade Centers? The World Trade Centers, as they were for al-Qaida.”

Hayden provided his speculation during a speech on cybersecurity to a Washington group, the Bipartisan Policy Center, in which he confessed to being deliberately provocative.

Similarly, Slate reported last year:

If you’ve ever cared about privacy while using the Internet in public, you might be a terrorist. At least that’s the message from the FBI and Justice Department’s Communities Against Terrorism initiative. The project created flyers to help employees at several types of businesses—including military surplus stores, financial institutions, and even tattoo shops—recognize “warning signs” of terrorism or extremism. An admirable goal, perhaps, but the execution is flawed—particularly for the flyers intended to help suss out terrorists using Internet cafes.

The flyers haven’t been publicly available online, but Public Intelligence, a project promoting the right to access information, collected 25 documents that it found elsewhere on the Web. As Public Intelligence puts it, “Do you like online privacy? You may be a terrorist.”

Sadly, in its paranoid bunker mentality, the government considers just about all Americans to be terrorists.

Postscript (Irony Alert):  University of Washington Law School professor Ryan Calo points out anamusing irony in this story:

Former DHS chief privacy officer says # of privacy officers at NSA, including the chief privacy officer, was zero.

(Calo was reporting on a statement made by former chief DHS Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan at arecent talk.)

Tech Dirt explains:

Mary Ellen Callahan was the Chief Privacy Officer (and the Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer) at the Department of Homeland Security from 2009 until 2012 (though, don’t tell DHS, since they still have a page on their website about her claiming she still has that role — even though she left over a year ago).

In other words, the DHS considers government privacy officers to be terrorists, doesn’t have any … and yet – in blatant propaganda – pretends it does.

One thought on “Chief DHS Privacy Officer: Government Called Privacy Office “Terrorists”

  1. I guess that’s why Microsoft and NSA are working so hard to force everyone to have Windows 8 on their computers, since everything on that operating system is one big public domain that makes Facebook look like a kindergarten program. Everything is public and shared with Microsoft and the Internet by default and you have to manually go in and select private for everything in order to shut it off. No lie. It’s one big GPS/homing beacon. It promotes collectivism and spying at the same time.

    I think Microsoft brought it out thinking that everyone on Facebook and social networking sites would have no problem giving over all their data on their computer to them and making Windows 8 the new Facebook of the computer innovation. Unfortunately, they didn’t take into consideration that the NSA scandal would come out and that more and more people would be waking up to the fact that privacy is good and public life is bad. They are finding out that increasing numbers of people are leaving social networking sites and finding out that NSA and the government are spying on them.

    It’s a no brainer and Microsoft just shot themselves in the foot as they gambled big time, hoping the people would be dumb enough to transmit their entire life and lost. Sucks to be them!

    No one wants Windows 8. The people refuse to have Windows 8 on their computers and only want Windows XP or Windows 7 and that’s it. They will not give in.

    Another loss for the NWO and another win for WE the people!

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