Staffers at the National Security Agency feel overlooked by the White House amid revelations of the agency's vast domestic surveillance programs, according to a Washington Post report published Saturday.
According to former agency officials quoted by the newspaper, morale is down across the board and frustrations with President Barack Obama are running high in the months since government contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents on the agency's covert practices.
The Post reports:
“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,” said Joel Brenner, NSA inspector general from 2002 to 2006. “They feel they’ve been hung out to dry, and they’re right.”
A former U.S. official — who like several other former officials interviewed for this story requested anonymity because he still has dealings with the agency — said: “The president has multiple constituencies — I get it. But he must agree that the signals intelligence NSA is providing is one of the most important sources of intelligence today.
“So if that’s the case, why isn’t the president taking care of one of the most important elements of the national security apparatus?”
While White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough visited the agency's Fort Meade, Md. headquarters to express the president's support, the commander-in-chief himself has yet to stop by.
Meanwhile, Obama has said new rules are on the way to curb the agency's more controversial surveillance practices.
“I’ll be proposing some self-restraint on the NSA and to initiate some reforms to give people more confidence,” Obama said during an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews last week.
Last month, a review group tasked with making recommendations for changes to the agency's programs presented its preliminary findings to White House officials. The final report is due December 15.
"We expect that the outcomes of their work will be made public in some way once the final report is submitted," White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.