On Friday, Glenn Greenwald’s new website, The Intercept, published a number of internal NSA documents that didn’t necessarily reveal any great state secrets, but instead cast some light on the NSA’s office culture. Those documents, leaked by former security contractor Edward Snowden, were actually from an advice column series, written by a 20-year veteran of NSA management under the pen name “Zelda.”
The “Ask Zelda” column was circulated on the NSA’s intranet, and it offered lighthearted advice on how to deal with any number of interpersonal office situations. But as Intercept writer Peter Maass writes, the column featured one response in particular from September 2011 which might resonate with civil liberties advocates. In it, an NSA employee is concerned that his or her manager is listening in on the conversations of his employees to stay apprised of all the office gossip.

The manager even designates “snitches” to fill him in on what employees are talking about, but the aim of his snooping is nebulous.
“Needless to say, this creates a certain amount of tension between team members who normally would get along well and adds stress in an already stressful atmosphere,” writes the NSA employee. “There is also an unspoken belief that [the manager] will move people to different desks to break up what he perceives as people becoming too ‘chummy.’”

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