Insights & Analyses

NSA revises mission statement, no longer lists ‘honesty’ or ‘openness’ as core values

January 25, 2018

The U.S. National Security Agency recently revised its publicly listed “Mission & Values” statement to remove the words “honesty” and “openness,” though the government intelligence organization does still adhere to other values such as “transparency,” “integrity,” and “accountability.”

The official NSA page was modified on Jan. 12 with the new language, as spotted by The Intercept. The original mission statement had been on the NSA’s website since at least May 2016.

Other changes include the striking of words like “trust,” “honor,” and “openness.” Previously, the mission statement said the NSA would “honor the public’s need for openness,” but the revised document makes no such pledge.

Some additions have come in their place, including “respect for the people” and “accountability.” Other core values include “respect for the law” and “commitment to service.”

A spokesperson for the agency told The Intercept that the changes were “nothing more than a website update.”

The NSA has come under fire from watchdog organizations over the years for monitoring communications among American citizens. In addition to questions about what the NSA does with such data, privacy advocates also cite the security concerns in storing such information — particularly in light of the Shadow Brokers hack that shared stolen NSA materials for hacking onto the internet.

The Intercept launched in 2014 as a platform to report on documents released by ex-NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Snowden was the keynote speaker at OWI’s 2017 KNOW Identity Conference, where he tackled the question of how well companies need to know their customers to do business. This year, KNOW returns to Washington D.C. March 26 through 28 where it will boast more than 130 speakers and nearly 400 organizations. Registrations are now being accepted to attend KNOW Identity 2018.