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News Link • Intelligence: Use and Abuse

Misinformation on classified NSA programs includes statements by senior U.S. officials

• Greg Miller, Washington Post
Amid the cascading disclosures about National Security Agency surveillance programs, the top lawyer in the U.S. intelligence community opened his remarks at a rare public appearance last week with a lament about how much of the information being spilled was wrong.
“A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on,” said Robert Litt, citing a line often attributed to Mark Twain. “Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of misinformation that’s come out about these programs.”

The remark by Litt, general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, was aimed at news organizations. But details that have emerged from the exposure of hundreds of pages of previously classified NSA documents indicate that public assertions about these programs by senior U.S. officials have also often been misleading, erroneous or simply false.

The same day Litt spoke, the NSA quietly removed from its Web site a fact sheet about its collection activities because it contained inaccuracies discovered by lawmakers.


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