Times are tough for the US intelligence services these days, what with 70 percent of the intel workforce reportedly on indefinite furlough amid the government shutdown. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is so concerned about the situation he warned at a Senate hearing Wednesday morning the shutdown could drive intelligence personnel to treason.
Perhaps in response to the barrage of criticism it has received over alleged abuses and misuses of its domestic spying apparatus, the NSA has announced the creation of a new position, the “Civil Liberties & Privacy Officer,” a “completely new role” in which the officer will “serve as the primary adviser to the Director of NSA for ensuring that privacy is protected and civil liberties are maintained” in the course of NSA activities.
Seems it could be a pretty important role, considering the NSA’s recent past, but is it “essential”? In a government shutdown does the privacy-officer to be get the boot with the rest of them?
“We can’t predict how that would be handled,” a government official with knowledge of the new position told TIME. “NSA’s director of compliance is essential. That’s a good indication.”