Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Ellen Nakashima reports at the Washington Post that morale has taken a hit at the National Security Agency in the wake of controversy over the agency’s surveillance activities and officials are dismayed that President Obama has not visited the agency to show his support. "It is not clear whether or when Obama might travel the 23 miles up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to visit Fort Meade, the NSA’s headquarters in Maryland," writes Nakashima, "but agency employees are privately voicing frustration at what they perceive as White House ambivalence amid the pounding the agency has taken from critics." Though Obama has asserted that the NSA’s collection of virtually all Americans’ phone records is lawful and has saved lives, the administration has not endorsed legislation that would codify it. And his recent statements suggest Obama thinks some of the NSA’s activities should be constrained. “The agency, from top to bottom, leadership to rank and file, feels that it is had no support from the White House even though it’s been carrying out publicly approved intelligence missions,” says Joel Brenner, NSA inspector general from 2002 to 2006. “They feel they’ve been hung out to dry, and they’re right.” Former officials note how President George W. Bush paid a visit to the NSA in January 2006, in the wake of revelations by the New York Times that the agency engaged in a counterterrorism program of warrantless surveillance on U.S. soil beginning after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. “Bush came out and spoke to the workforce, and the effect on morale was tremendous,” Brenner said. “There’s been nothing like that from this White House.” Morale is “bad overall' says another former NSA official. “It’s become very public and very personal. Literally, neighbors are asking people, 'Why are you spying on Grandma?’".
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