After an Easy Hearing, the NSA and FBI are Ready for a Drink

The Atlantic – by Philip Bump

If you were wondering how the NSA and FBI felt about the very friendly hearing the House Intelligence Committee invited them to today, a hot mic has your answer. “Tell your boss,” NSA Director Keith Alexander told the FBI deputy director, “I owe him another friggin’ beer.”  

Ben Doernberg caught the exchange, which we’ve clipped below. Alexander, being photographed at bottom center, is speaking with FBI deputy director Sean Joyce, to his left.

Throughout the hearing the two worked together, with Alexander frequently setting up topics upon which Joyce expounded. When Alexander said that the government’s surveillance tools had stopped over 50 terror attacks, Joyce described four of them. And so on. Over the course of three hours, the two faced little in the way of critique.

Nonetheless, they were ready for a brew. Their more informal exchange came after Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan banged the gavel.

Alexander: Thank you, Sean.

Joyce: Good to see you.

Alexander: Tell your boss … tell your boss I owe him another friggin’ beer.

Joyce: Him?

Alexander: Yeah.

Joyce: Tell him to give it to me.

Alexander: (laughs) You want him to give it to you?

Joyce: Alright?

After today’s performance, we’re pretty sure that either Rogers — or Obama — would be happy to buy a round for all three.

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