We Are All Probing Each Other, All the Time



    1. One of America's top spymasters. He was director of National Intelligence, the supreme authority over all US intelligence agencies, from Feb. 2007 to Jan. 2009, and director of the National Security Agency from 1992 to 1996. He spoke with NPQ editor Nathan Gardels in 2009.
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The recent scandal of the National Security Agency (NSA) “Hoovering” up the metadata on US and foreign citizens from Google, Facebook and Yahoo exposes in the full light of day the central paradox of the new digital age: The Internet enables us to know and learn more than ever before, but enables more to be known and learned about us by both snooping governments and monetizing information corporations alike.

In this section, Google's Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen discuss this paradox. We also reprint an interview from 2009 with Mike McConnell, a former chief of the National Security Agency and the driving force behind Booz, Allen, Hamilton's digital security operation. Edward Snowden, the systems administrator who blew the whistle, was employed by the NSA as a subcontractor from Booz, Allen, Hamilton.