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.