John Oliver Skewers Former NSA Chief: ‘How Much Data Do You Need?!’
Sunday night’s debut of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver concluded with the eponymous host grilling former NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander over the intelligence agency’s controversial surveillance activities.
“Peoples’ concerns, I think, are that you’re not just taking the haystack,” Oliver told Alexander. “You’re taking the whole farm, and the county, and the state, and you’ve now got some photos of the farmer’s wife in the shower as well.”
When Oliver asked about how much data collection is enough, Alexander conceded it was a “tough question” but boasted about the agency’s “tremendous and remarkable record.” Oliver shot back: “But you’re always going to err, aren’t you, in your position, on the side of wanting more rather than less — to be safe.”
After the pair had it out over Edward Snowden‘s leaks and the NSA’s own internal policies against abuse, Oliver mocked the intel agency by suggesting a rebranding of sorts. Potential logos included that of the Washington Redskins, a kitten in a rain boot named “Mr. Tiggles” (making it difficult to report negative stories about the agency), and your new best friend named Trevor who’s a great listener and just wants to hear about your day.
Watch the extended clip below, via HBO:
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