By Kat Capps rt.com
Sen. Dianne Feinstein referred to the US, Canada and Mexico as “the Homeland” at an NSA Senate briefing on Wednesday, presenting a map that united the three nations as one.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting held to acquire details on the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs, Sen. Feinstein (D-Calif.) made a geographic mistake in which she united three large countries into one. The error went by without comment during the briefing, but generated a significant response upon closer examination of the map.
Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (C) speaks as ranking member Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) (L) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) listen during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee July 31, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC (AFP Photo / Alex Wong)
During the briefing, Feinstein, who serves as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was defending the NSA’s data-collection programs when she pulled out a world map that identified North America as the “Homeland”. The newly-declassified diagram showed terror activity that the NSA had allegedly disrupted throughout the world.
But while Europe, Africa and Asia were correctly identified by their continent’s name, countries of North America were all encompassed as a new mega-nation.
“Now, the NSA has produced and declassified a chart, which I’d like to make available to all members. It has the 54 total (terror) events,” Feinstein said. “And it shows the events disrupted… 13 in the Homeland, 25 in Europe, five in Africa and 11 in Asia.”
Although it might be easy to brush off the map as nothing more than a mistake made by a staffer, a writer at The Atlantic suggested that it might indicate a potential NSA attempt at tallying thwarted attacks in North America to make anti-terrorism efforts in the US look more successful.
“Normally, this would be written off as a design goof, as one of the NSA’s (newly adept) graphics guys using a little more light blue than he ought,” writes the Atlantic’s Philip Bump. “This being the NSA, we’re not inclined to offer that benefit of the doubt. Is this a way of blending in Canadian and Mexican terror activity disruptions (which, we’ll remind you, is different from actual plots interrupted) to give a larger sense of the NSA’s success at halting terrorism within our borders?”
Whatever the reason for the NSA’s creation of “the Homeland”, the spy agency has already been condemned for failing to respect the sovereignty of other nations through its extensive data-collection efforts.