cartoon of the week

National Insecurity Agency?

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CREDIT: Jack Ohman, 2016. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. All rights reserved.

Last week, news broke that the F.B.I. had secretly arrested a former National Security Agency (N.S.A.) contractor back in August. They’re investigating whether he stole and disclosed highly classified computer code developed by the agency to hack into the networks of foreign governments, including Russia, China, and Iran.

The arrest raises the embarrassing prospect that for the second time in three years, an N.S.A. contractor managed to steal highly classified information. In 2013, N.S.A. contractor Edward Snowden exposed secret N.S.A. surveillance programs, including the bulk collection of metadata about millions of Americans’ phone calls. The program, aimed at fighting terrorism, was ended by Congress last year and Snowden remains in Russia, where he fled to avoid prosecution for acts of espionage.

The recent security breach comes at a time of mounting concern over hacking. Last week, the U.S. government formally accused Russia of conducting cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations to disrupt the election.


  1. Who do the people in the cartoon represent, and where are they?
  2. Why are they discussing whether they locked the door, and why is that ironic?
  3. What point do you think the cartoonist is trying to make?
  4. Why do you think government contractors sometimes turn against the government? Do you think this can be avoided? Explain.
  5. Do you think people and governments are doing enough to prevent hacking? Why or why not?

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