For years, the National Security Agency (NSA), the major league of electronic monitoring and surveillance, has sponsored programs that try to turn high schools and colleges into their private farm system.
As the snoops explain on their website under a tab called “Opportunities for You”:
Today's job marketplace is competitive. To get a step ahead you need to gain practical experience before you graduate. Come work with the top professionals in your field at NSA. Our internships, co-op program, scholarships, and work study programs will help you to develop and shape your career well before your studies are through.
Come on, kids. Learn how cool it is to violate the Fourth Amendment. Not only will you not be prosecuted, but you’ll be paid and get killer federal government health insurance benefits!
The NSA isn’t looking for dummies, though. They want public schools to funnel the best and brightest into the agency’s ranks. Again, from the website:
The National Security Agency’s (NSA) Gifted and Talented Program is only open to high school seniors. The program is designed for high school students who have demonstrated an aptitude for Engineering, Math and Science. This program provides a tremendous opportunity to gain valuable experience in the area of STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics].
Why waste those extraordinary talents on lawful, helpful, and noble pursuits when you can come spy on your fellow citizens? Heck, play your cards right and once you’re hired you can even use our substantial surveillance resources to keep an ear on that girl you’ve had your eye on.
Are you a college student faced with the prospect of a boring summer away from the books? The NSA has a summer program sure to be a cure for the holiday hum-drums:
NSA's Intelligence Analysis Summer Program offers rising college seniors the opportunity to receive training in a multi-faceted cryptologic discipline. This experience involves their research, analysis, and presentation of their findings, in conjunction with experienced NSA mentoring to increase NSA insight into high-priority intelligence targets. Their findings become part of NSA's effort to provide the fullest possible signals intelligence (SIGINT) picture to U.S. policy makers, military commanders, and other intelligence community members. They gain practical and theoretical knowledge of NSA, the SIGINT process, and the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC).
For 12 weeks, undergrads can learn to use their language skills to help their government intercept and interpret surveillance targets who aren’t courteous enough to speak English.
One state touts its cozy relationship with the NSA and how they are proud to let the government take advantage of its citizens' unique multilingual character.
The Economic Development Corporation of Utah bragged in a recently published report, “The National Security Agency (NSA) selected Utah for its language analyst offices. The NSA commented that Utah’s famous facility with languages was a big factor in its site selection process.”
Just how impressive is that “famous facility with languages?” The group explains in the same report:
Seventy-seven percent of Brigham Young University’s (BYU) 30,000 students speak a second language and 47% have lived outside the U.S. for at least one year.
BYU offers studies in 80+ world language courses and there are over 170 languages spoken by BYU students, according to a 2004 campus survey.
Many students at BYU serve overseas on foreign-speaking missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the school’s owner.
The NSA must really like Utah, as they chose the state to be the home of its massive data center, as well.
BYU doesn’t have a monopoly on the NSA’s affections, however, as evidenced in a recent press release issued by the agency:
Four new schools have been selected for the National Security Agency's National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations Program, which was designed to cultivate more U.S. cyber professionals in an ever-changing global environment.
After a rigorous application and screening process, NSA selected the following schools to receive the CAE-Cyber Operations designation for the 2013-2014 academic year:
Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio;
Auburn University, Alabama;
Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania; and
Mississippi State University.
The program, which now has a total of eight schools, complements more than 100 existing centers of academic excellence (CAEs) in research and information assurance education — jointly overseen by NSA and the Department of Homeland Security.
Spreading the love as it spreads the surveillance net.
Nullify NSA is a project of the Tenth Amendment Center, and they are taking notice of the NSA’s activities on campus and in public schools. An article from October 4 entitled “NSA on Campus: Big Brother is Recruiting Your Kids” describes the situation perfectly:
The NSA is redoubling its efforts to create and maintain their Orwellian surveillance system, and they’re banking on compliance and assistance from America’s youth. Both students and faculty will be targeted under this program by the rapacious government snoopers and recruited into the massive surveillance bureaucracy.
This is yet another example of big government using the higher education system to do their bidding. In another instance, the University of Maryland recently received over $10 million from the Department of Homeland Security to produce "intelligence" that classified advocates of decentralized government as potential terrorists. Thus, any type of partnership between big government and higher education must be looked at with an extreme amount of caution.
The group sees hope, however, in the findings of a recent Institute of Politics poll that indicate that “fifty-three percent of respondents said they were concerned with the moral direction of the country.”
Add to that the fact that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is himself a member of that age group known as “millennials” and perhaps there’s something to the notion that there is a strong distrust of government among Americans 18-29 years old.
None of this will dissuade the NSA and her sister agencies from trolling college campuses and high schools looking for the next generation of über-intelligent agents who are just young enough and just impressionable enough to be disabused of that distrust and come to see surveillance as the best way to guarantee the world will be around when they grow up.
Given the gargantuan budgets of these federally funded surveillance agencies, the time to act to thwart their scholastic schemes is now.
The Nullify NSA program has a suggestion for how to stop the recruitment: "Universities need to refuse to comply with the NSA if we are to avoid Orwellian 1984. In addition to the four schools mentioned, there are 166 universities partnering with the NSA."
The group has a four-point plan for students, parents, faculty, and administration concerned about the NSA’s activities at their schools:
1. Work with a campus organization to pass an official resolution opposing your school’s NSA partnership and call for it to end as long as warrantless spying continues.
2. Ask your student body government to pass a resolution stating the same.
3. Make some flyers, hand them out, inform others of the status of your University.
4. Encourage your campus organization to join our coalition.
The hour is late and unless concerned citizens take a stand and demand that the NSA stop scouring schools for the next generation of government apparatchiks, the allure of scholarships and “free intensive programs” will likely attract the attention of many American kids who will be brainwashed into believing that the only way to keep this country safe is to keep everybody under the watchful eye of government and to consider every citizen a suspect.
Photo is of the Eyring Science Center at Brigham Young University