THE US NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY (NSA) has removed 'honesty' as the top priority in its mission statement and replaced it with 'commitment to service'.
The change, first noticed by The Intercept, means that the 'core values' listed on NSA.gov since at least May 2016 have been altered, with the parts about 'honesty' and the 'pledge to be truthful' removed.
The new top priority of 'commitment to service' means 'excellence in the pursuit of our critical mission', according to the NSA.
But it isn't just these changes that the NSA has made. In fact, the NSA had previously said that it would aim to be deserving of the 'great trust' placed in it by US leaders and citizens and that it would 'honour the public's need for openness'.
However, these phrases have also now been expunged, along with all references to 'trust', 'honour' and 'openness.'
The previous mission statement claimed that the NSA embraced transparency and that all of its actions were to 'ensure the safety, security and liberty of our fellow citizens.' This has been removed, and the transparency is now described as benefitting 'those who authorise and oversee NSA's work on behalf of the American people'.
The only core value that remains intact from the original is 'respect for the law' while the organisation has also made the additions of 'respect for people' and 'accountability'.
An NSA spokesperson told The Intercept that the changes were down to "nothing more than a website update".
It's unclear whether the organisation is aiming to shift the perception of prospective employees that their main duty is to abide by the law and protect their country, even if this isn't accomplished through 'honesty'.
Since the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013, the NSA has adopted a slightly more open attitude, opening a Twitter account that same year, and last year launching an official GitHub page. µ
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