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The historical connection between tech companies and the NSA

by Take Two®

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A woman in Hong Kong walks past a banner displayed in support of Edward Snowden. Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

When Edward Snowden leaked documents about the National Security Agency (NSA) spying on Americans, it sent shivers through the nation's intelligence community. But there was also more than a little fear and loathing at some very well-known tech firms.

Documents revealed that household names like Microsoft, Facebook and Google regularly cooperated with the NSA, and handed over data to the spy agency.

For many, this was a startling revelation, but as Michael Hirsh reports in the current issue of National Journal, the tech companies have a long history with the NSA and other spy agencies.

Hirsh says there are some very good reasons for tech firms to curry favor with the NSA.  One big one is that the agency can give a thumbs up or thumbs down on a companies ability to export certain kinds of technology.  

Hirsh says some of the more thoughtful members of the tech and intelligence communities think it may have been a mistake not to be more open with the public about the need for data collection.

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