Who works for the NSA?

With every awful new revelation about the NSA, I ask myself: Who works there? It must take many thousands of very smart technicians to break the internet: mathematicians, computer scientists, hackers. Who are these people, and why do they decide to do what they do?

Are they in it for the money?

Is the work really that interesting?

Are they the kinds of people who’d be cracking illegally anyway, and the NSA gives them some legitimacy?

Do they imagine themselves engaged in some kind of noble pursuit, protecting the world from wrongdoers?

I’m continually perplexed that so many people, who presumably could be making much more money doing work that is more visible and less creepy, choose this path.

2 thoughts on “Who works for the NSA?

  1. ubernaut

    i think it’s hard to imagine the mentality of spook if you aren’t a spy yourself, but i would imagine it would be similar to the motivations of people who enter most of the homeland security, fbi, military or other para-military branches of the government. They probably think they are fighting against enemy countries and organizations.

    i would imagine that they actually have to spend a great deal of effort in recruiting since technical people probably tend to be more open minded and less inclined to spookery.

    Also i would not ethat most of those people probably have crazy nondisclosure agreements so that you may know a bunch of them and not even know it.


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