Public Relations at the NSA

by cindybrugge

At his March 11th Senate confirmation, new NSA Chief Michael Rogers said that the biggest problem that the National Security Agency faces this year is not its controversial issues with personal data storage. Rather, his only intended reform is to better incorporate public relations. 

The NSA has begun operating in those promises, by working to promote positive public relations during the past weeks. Already the organization has dispersed press kits to promote positive media coverage


Other than what I’ve heard on the news, I’m not all that emotionally involved in the actions of the NSA. I tend to be pretty unaware or simply not affected by fears of the NSA. I definitely should be more concerned, but I don’t suffer from anxiety from the government’s actions. Therefore, I had a conversation with my dad on his thoughts about the NSA and quickly I understood. His voice and blood pressure quickly rose, as he spiraled into a rant about their recent actions. 

His speech included phrases like “the NSA is in a delusionary state” and “their actions prove that anybody can abuse the system. He showed deep distress for the constitutional rights of Americans and how the NSA has violated them.

“They need to get a grip,” he continued, as he discussed the need for an oversight committee. “If they could have oversight that isn’t controlled by a puppet master, then maybe there would be some change.”

What I found is that my father knows much more about the NSA than I do, while I no much more about public relations. Yet, our opinions on the NSA’s new communication attempts were completely aligned.

“It shows that they’ve been caught with their pants down and they are trying to minimize the damage,” he said.

I could not have agreed more fully. I think that it is an obvious attempt to simply redirect the conversation away from their failures, rather than actually making the changes America wants. 

These actions give a bad name to public relations. Corrupt organizations use public relations to cover up bad decisions, instead of correcting their mistakes. The NSA doesn’t plan to make any changes, other than public relations. I will be interested to see if the media focus shifts, during the next few months. If so, we will know that public relations does really work.