NSA Needs a 12 Step Program

Addictive behavior hurts both addicts and people around them.

Since Edward Snowden started leaking details on how the National Security Agency gobbles up exabytes of data worldwide, it has become increasingly clear that it has an unhealthy addiction.

NSA chief Keith Alexander has said the agency needs to collect “haystacks” of data in order to detect terrorist needles, an effort that The Washington Post reported “occasionally threatened to overwhelm storage repositories, forcing the agency to halt its intake with ‘emergency detasking’ orders.”

The above are real signs of addiction -- and if we knew anyone trying to consume haystacks of cocaine that overwhelmed their systems, we would offer help.

Addictive behavior hurts both addicts and people around them --  in the case of the NSA, irritating the heads of state of Brazil, France, Germany and Mexico over the past months with reports of spying on those countries.

The explanation for this spying -- everyone does it -- is an excuse used by alcoholics on the tenth beer of the evening while everyone else at the bar slowly sips their second.

I’m not suggesting NSA or Alexander go cold turkey, but they might try tapering off -- a  terabyte at a time.