Chief DHS Privacy Officer: Government Called Privacy Office "Terrorists"

George Washington's picture

Wall Street Journal reporter Jennifer Valentino tweets:

Former DHS Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan: DHS Privacy Office was accused monthly of being "terrorists" by DHS, IC

"DHS" stands for the Department of Homeland Security; "IC" stands for the intelligence community.

This is not an isolated or melodramatic statement.  Rather, it is how the homeland security and intelligence communities look at privacy.

For example, former NSA and CIA boss Michael Hayden compared privacy advocates to terrorists:

“If and when our government grabs Edward Snowden, and brings him back here to the United States for trial, what does this group do?” said retired air force general Michael Hayden, who from 1999 to 2009 ran the NSA and then the CIA, referring to “nihilists, anarchists, activists, Lulzsec, Anonymous, twentysomethings who haven’t talked to the opposite sex in five or six years”.


“They may want to come after the US government, but frankly, you know, the dot-mil stuff is about the hardest target in the United States,” Hayden said, using a shorthand for US military networks. “So if they can’t create great harm to dot-mil, who are they going after? Who for them are the World Trade Centers? The World Trade Centers, as they were for al-Qaida.”


Hayden provided his speculation during a speech on cybersecurity to a Washington group, the Bipartisan Policy Center, in which he confessed to being deliberately provocative.

Similarly, Slate reported last year:

If you’ve ever cared about privacy while using the Internet in public, you might be a terrorist. At least that’s the message from the FBI and Justice Department’s Communities Against Terrorism initiative. The project created flyers to help employees at several types of businesses—including military surplus stores, financial institutions, and even tattoo shops—recognize “warning signs” of terrorism or extremism. An admirable goal, perhaps, but the execution is flawed—particularly for the flyers intended to help suss out terrorists using Internet cafes.


The flyers haven’t been publicly available online, but Public Intelligence, a project promoting the right to access information, collected 25 documents that it found elsewhere on the Web. As Public Intelligence puts it, “Do you like online privacy? You may be a terrorist.”

Sadly, in its paranoid bunker mentality, the government considers just about all Americans to be terrorists.

Postscript (Irony Alert):  University of Washington Law School professor Ryan Calo points out an amusing irony in this story:

Former DHS chief privacy officer says # of privacy officers at NSA, including the chief privacy officer, was zero.

(Calo was reporting on a statement made by former chief DHS Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan at a recent talk.)

Tech Dirt explains:

Mary Ellen Callahan was the Chief Privacy Officer (and the Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer) at the Department of Homeland Security from 2009 until 2012 (though, don't tell DHS, since they still have a page on their website about her claiming she still has that role -- even though she left over a year ago).

In other words, the DHS considers government privacy officers to be terrorists, doesn't have any ... and yet - in blatant propaganda - pretends it does.

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Madcow's picture

The sad state of US Government Policy Debate:

"You're a terrorist."

- "No, You're a terrorist."

"Am not" 

- "Are too"

"Am not"

- Are too"

"You're a terrorist"

- "No You're a terrorist"

I hope Obama can put an end to all of this by develping a special commission to recommend a panel to develop an international federation of counsels to determine once and for all - who are the most terroristy terrorists in terror town - and when is it an act of terror to accuse someone of terrorizing terrorists in a terrorizing manner. 

Madcow's picture

The sad state of US Government Policy Debate:

"You're a terrorist."

- "No, You're a terrorist."

"Am not" 

- "Are too"

"Am not"

- Are too"

"You're a terrorist"

- "No You're a terrorist"

I hope Obama can put an end to all of this by develping a special commission to recommend a panel to develop an international federation of counsels to determine once and for all - who are the most terroristy terrorists in terror town - and when is it an act of terror to accuse someone of terrorizing terrorists in a terrorizing manner. 

grekko's picture

I think that if we just give away enough free obama-phones, all these little problems will disappear. "Bread & Circuses" anyone?

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Pink Cammo is the new rage

Military guys are the new Lotharios.

Wow, just shoot me now...

Flammonde's picture

The aptness of the adage none dare call it treason comes  foremost to mind considering 9/11 was designed to create a police state.  And moreover, the silence of the lambs regarding 9/11 is indicative that the terror masters were correct in their assment that Americans are doddering King Lear. This failure of nerve and failure of imagination will bring us gulags and a USSA for many many years---Festung Amerika.

grekko's picture

Methinks Flammonde might have a good point.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Like this article proves even the most loyal followers of the "police state" can wake up one day and be fodder when the leadership becomes paranoid for it's own safety and no longer feels it has the means to protect itself because they have dishonored and disgraced the Nation they represent too many times by their actions.  It's a balancing act and knowing "who will" and "who won't" comply inevitably determines the outcome.

I would like to believe that the American people would never turn on their own, but when I see what we've done everyplace else in the World, why would anyone trust our men and women in uniform at home when they have abandoned their oaths to this Country and the rule of law countless times already?

To your point.  If we were to have turned the corner it would have already happened by now.  It absolutely astounds me how many in the U.S. military know and understand the truths about 9/11 but stay in active service anyway.  How do they continue doing that when they know the truth? Is it lack of imagination, creativity and discipline to do other things with the skills they already possess?

I guess this Nation and the rest of the World will know we have turned the corner when we see uniforms and those in the intelligence community walking off the jobs while at home or refusing to report for combat duty OCONUS.

Now is a great time to be showing that level of courage during this shutdown.


grekko's picture

So, everyone not in the intel part of the gov is a terrorist. Also some of the 1 million working for the intel part are terrorists as well. So, the only true non-terrists are the neocons. Did i get that correct? If so then all us terrists need to get together for a kegger at the nat'l mall. It'd be the biggest party this country ever saw.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Yes I believe you have that summary correct.

When you go to these lengths as Michael Hayden's rant suggests and others have, it essentially translates into being scared shitless for your own skin and that their is nothing left to cover your ass anymore.

Translation: The "f-ing wheels are off" and dissention is ripe in all ranks and direction and there is a veritable assembly line of Ed Snowden's waiting in the ranks.

Sleep tight Mike!

fallout11's picture

Stalin and his lackey's similarly saw "boogiemen" under every rock and around every corner, so much so that he had a sizeable percentage of his nation's populace killed, imprisoned, tortured, and/or surveiled. We've become what we once reveiled.  I similarly expect "purges" and "gulags" in this country in the coming years.

CH1's picture

Stop obeying these assholes!

rustymason's picture

Holy cow, looking through the comments, seems we have had a swarm of commie-sympathizers land on the site recently.

Socratic Dog's picture

Commie-sympathizers?  You mean Dem and Repub voters?

rustymason's picture

I understand that big newspapers have "accuracy czars" and the Devil has a "morality officer" too.

luckylongshot's picture

The Nazis would be envious of these pricks.

doctor10's picture

The major deficit in the Founders thinking and writing was that none of them could imagine a world in which one's right to privacy could be so easily aborted.

The right to privacy is the challenge of this generation. Without privacy, there is no leverage the individual can exert on the world and they are indeed a complete "subject"

Zero Point's picture

Envious? The Nazis BECAME these pricks.

Terminus C's picture

LOL, you have a downvoter who just doesn't get it, or doesn't want to get it... or doesn't want you and others to get it.


Emergency Ward's picture

The "Down-voter" is considered an essential part of FedGov and was not shut down.

Intoxicologist's picture

I was replying to Akak in Bruce Krasting's post that a neighbor of mine, who's lifelong hobby is photography, was out taking photos of eagles near us.  He loaded his pics onto his computer, cropped one he liked of a particular eagle in flight, zoomed in on it, and there in the background, flying behind the eagle was a military drone. 

Oh, the irony....

lakecity55's picture

All the marks of a collapsing government.

RazvanM's picture

It's disgraceful how a Gov servant is insulting the taxpayers paying his salary. I wonder if there is any woman that would talk with such an example of a dickhead.

New American Revolution's picture

Hillary Clinton, Donna Rice, Chelsea Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, that Wasserman bitch, Cheri Bustos (dog with a note in her mouth), Mata Hari, Typhoid Mary, Mrs. O'Leary, Janet Reno, Donna Shlayla, Attila the Huns wife (that poisoned him), Cleopatra, Lillith (devourer of children)... let me know when you want me to stop...

dexter_morgan's picture

Shocking......NOT. Hey didn't ol' Hairy Reid say that those opposing the budget shenanigans were 'anarchists' and gubmit haters just yesterday?

They all sing from the same hymnal - who writes that hymnal?


Fred C Dobbs's picture

They will all be put on trail someday. 

Miles Kendig's picture

For example, former NSA and CIA boss Michael Hayden compared privacy advocates to terrorists....

Few things will terrorize an individual/collection of paranoid sociopaths more than transparency and accountability.

It seems the people dedicated to hacking and cracking every human and human system on the planet are those most vociferous that they are the only ones that can possibly safeguard these very humans and their systems.  An amazingly vulgar display from those that purport to be an American version of a spiritual and military vanguard defending the purity of the faith while any questioning of their actions or motives is defined as terrorism. So much for the supposed foundations of liberal democracy in the US and those charged with safeguarding them.

nugjuice's picture

Judging by the looks of this chick you can't trust her alone in a room with a cupcake.

Why should we trust her alone in the room with access to millions' of files of personal information? 

rlouis's picture

I'll bet Mr. Hayden has a lot of secrets he doesn't want anyone to know about.

fallout11's picture

His intellectual predecessor J. Edgar Hoover certainly did as well, and like him Hoover found imaginary "enemies" under every rock.

Ignatius's picture

Breaking the 9/11 fraud is the key to disempower dangerous dumb fucks like Hayden. 

For those unfamiliar, Massimo Mazzucco's new 5 hour documentary September 11 The New Pearl Harbor is a great overview and can be watched for free: (support the film with purchase if you can).

Gen. Keith Alexander's picture

These "twentysomethings who haven’t talked to the opposite sex in five or six years" are just the kind of people we are looking for.  If you know someone, send them on over; a big paycheck awaits.

kchrisc's picture

"Former DHS Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan: DHS Privacy Office was accused monthly of being "terrorists" by DHS, IC"

If they labeled her a "terrorist" shouldn't she be in military custody as per NDAA?!

Emergency Ward's picture

<< Nixon Administration

<< Obama Administration


  • Which is more paranoid?
Mototard at Large's picture

Slightly off topic, but the “War on the Rocks” website has an article on how big data is being used to try and figure out if the war in Afghanistan is being won or lost.  Not a pretty picture, but an interesting article.

shovelhead's picture

The Privacy Officer left because they showed her pictures of the toys in her underwear drawer.

She had ZERO sense of humor.

LawyerScum's picture

Doesn't he look like a developmentally challenged version of Hans Blofeld (or is it just me) ?

azzhatter's picture

I'll bet this assclown has the 1/4 inch penis

AGuy's picture

Pobably not, but I do recall something about a clone that is 1/4 is size. I believe he refers to his clone as "Mini-me", or something like that.

And that's Dr. Assclown. He didn't go to 6 years of clown school to become Mister Assclown!


Dr. Bonzo's picture

Looks like he has the genetic make-up of a pedofile. Of course he needs Total Control over information. What better place for a pedo to exist than the nexus of all information that could be generated against HIM?



Winston of Oceania's picture

I heard a little rumor that the waste companies are being paid to search through your trash as well, no dirty little secrets for you...

Hilroy's picture

 Bring back some blue collar jobs and dollars to donuts, this caliber of "logic" and "reason" will return to the home it once knew.

curbyourrisk's picture

I would love to comment.....really I would.

But I love my privacy......


Chupacabra-322's picture

That's because in their sick, Psychopathic minds, you are a terrorist. Just read pages 1-3 & you'll' get the answer in their own words.


Office of Detention and Removal Strategic Plan, 2003 - 2012
Detention and Removal Strategy for a Secure Homeland

shovelhead's picture


Doing a bang up job removing illegals.

The other dept. is handing out maps and instructions on how to apply for benefits.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Those who are most illegal are those who declare others to be illegal - just imagine when YOU are declared illegal by THEM.

Remember if you're in America and you're white YOU'RE ALL ILLEGAL.

nugjuice's picture

Hey we bought the country off them fair and square....for the most part.....for some furs.

No one said it was a FAIR trade.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

for the most part the women & children were slaughtered when left alone & diseases were used to wipe out most of the rest.

That's the facts.

That's not a purchase of any sort. It wasn't any kind of trade.

They certainly were able to get furs WITHOUT your help.

fallout11's picture

Correct. Both coercion and deception were employed, both anathema to any real libertarian.