Meet the Young Journalist Who Ruined a Couple of NSA Spooks' Day
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Madiha: Right, but you're here recruiting, and so you're selling the organization. I'm less interested in what your specialized role is within the NSA. I don't care. The fact is you're here presenting a public face for the NSA, and you're trying to sell the organization to people that are as young as high schoolers and trying to tell us that this is an attractive option in a context in which we clearly know that the NSA has been telling us complete lies—so I'm wondering, is that a qualification?
Recruiter1: I don't believe the NSA is telling complete lies. I do believe that people can… you can read a lot of different things that are portrayed as fact, and that doesn't make them fact just because they're in newspapers and…
Madiha: Or intelligence reports?
Recruiter1: That's not really our… that's not our purpose here today, and I think if you're not interested in a… there are probably people here who are interested in a language career.
Madiha: The trouble is we can't opt out of NSA surveillance, and we don't get answers. It's not an option. You're posing it as a choice, like, "Oh, you know, people who are interested can just sit here, and those of us who are not interested can leave." If I could opt out of NSA surveillance and it was no longer my business, that would be fine, but it is my business, because all of us are being surveilled, so we're here.
Recruiter1: That's incorrect. That is not our business. That is not our business, and that is not what we do.
Madiha: That doesn't seem to be incorrect given the leaks, right? You are not able… the NSA has not been able to actually put out anything that is convincing contrary to that.
JH: That was just so much awesome. Madiha Tahir, I want to thank you so much for joining us.
MT: Thank you for having me.