The National Security Agency has won a prestigious Pulitzer Prize for its domestic surveillance program.
According to prize judges the NSA was recognized because it has “collected more information and broke more news stories than any newspaper, magazine or website in existence.”
“In the era when newspapers are laying off their staffs and ending daily circulation, the NSA has stepped in to provide important, need-to-know information, whether the American people wanted it or not,” the Pulitzer Prize Board said in a statement this evening.
“NSA employees tirelessly do whatever is needed to get the story — whether it’s listening in on people’s phone calls, checking their emails and texts, spying on organizations, lying to Congress, or breaking the law.
“If more journalists adhered to the NSA’s standards and used their methods for gathering information, then more people would trust the news media, since they know the information is based on hard data.”
The award comes as a surprise to observers who thought the Pulitzer Prize committee would either reward the media organizations that covered the ongoing NSA global surveillance disclosures, or play it safe by ignoring the issue.
In the end the organization decided to snub newspapers like The Guardian and The Washington Post and instead recognize the agency that made those groundbreaking revelations possible.
Committee chairman Jonah Jameson defended giving the Pulitzer to the NSA over the actual news media that cover the agency, despite the fact that the NSA does not voluntarily publish its information.
“Without the NSA doing all this work, Glenn Greenwald, The Washington Post and The Guardian wouldn’t have had all these stories to cover,” he said. “I don’t think it’s right for those organizations to take credit for the NSA’s work and get all the fame and glory.”
Jameson added that the NSA paid the $50 fee to be considered for a Pulitzer, just like every other media organization that entered.
Former NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander, who was recently hired by media magnate Rupert Murdoch to run his newspapers division, said he was proud of the work the NSA had done under his watch and thrilled by the mainstream recognition.
“I hope the members of Congress remember this when they attempt to reform or curtail our activities in any way,” he said.