Here Are the Unretouched Photos of Obama’s Big NSA Speech

Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 17 2014 6:47 PM

Here Are the Unretouched Photos of Obama’s Big NSA Speech

Glenn Greenwald made the astute observation on Twitter today that the background for President Obama’s big speech announcing his NSA reforms wasn’t nearly patriotic enough.

Greenwald, who of course broke the Edward Snowden story for the Guardian last year, is right that the official photos of the event made the president look lacking in American spirit:

U.S. President Barack Obama

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images


It turns out that Obama’s communications team staged a much showier presentation to demonstrate the president’s zeal for protecting America, but the original background was photoshopped in order to better match our skewed contemporary ideals of feminine beauty.

We were able to get our hands on the unretouched photos of the event. Here is the president at the beginning of the speech walking through the history of the NSA and why he believes this country needs it as a surveillance apparatus:


Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photos by Getty Images & Thinkstock.

And here he is announcing his new presidential policy directive:


Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photos by Getty Images & Thinkstock.

And finally, here’s the president as he closed the speech with a grand call for an NSA that acts to protect the nation without trampling on individual freedoms:


Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photos by Getty Images & Thinkstock.

We hope you like these unaltered photographs, because we paid $10,000 for them. God bless America.

Jeremy Stahl is a Slate senior editor. You can follow him on Twitter.


Lisa Larson-Walker is a Slate photo editor.


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