Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy United States

CBS 60 Minutes: NSA Speaks Out On Snowden, Spying 504

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-did-he-get? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This week CBS New's 60 Minutes program had a broadcast segment devoted to the NSA, and additional online features. It revealed that the first secret Snowden stole was the test and answers for a technical examination to get a job at NSA. When working at home, Snowden covered his head and screen with a hood so that his girlfriend couldn't see what he was doing. NSA considered the possibility that Snowden left malicious software behind and removed every computer and cable that Snowden had access to from its classified network, costing tens of millions of dollars. Snowden took approximately 1.7 million classified documents. Snowden never approached any of multiple Inspectors General, supervisors, or Congressional oversight committee members about his concerns. Snowden's activity caught the notice of other System Administrators. There were also other interesting details, such as the NSA has a highly competitive intern program for High School students that are given a Top Secret clearance and a chance to break codes that have resisted the efforts of NSA's analysts — some succeed. The NSA is only targeting the communications, as opposed to metadata, of less than 60 Americans. Targeting the actual communications of Americans, rather than metadata, requires a probable cause finding and a specific court order. NSA analysts working with metadata don't have access to the name, and can't listen to the call. The NSA's work is driven by requests for information by other parts of the government, and there are about 31,000 requests. Snowden apparently managed to steal a copy of that document, the 'crown jewels' of the intelligence world. With that information, foreign nations would know what the US does and doesn't know, and how to exploit it."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

CBS 60 Minutes: NSA Speaks Out On Snowden, Spying

Comments Filter:
  • Meta-data (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:57AM (#45702921)

    We know who your friends are we know where your children go to school, keep quiet and it will all be aright......

  • Rah! Rah! NSA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:58AM (#45702923)

    So it sounds like it will be pro-NSA spin-doctoring from our crony-corporatist media.

  • by bazmail (764941) on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:59AM (#45702929)
    The character assassination of Snowden begins.
  • Oh NSA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PlusFiveTroll (754249) on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:59AM (#45702931) Homepage

    >Snowden never approached any of multiple Inspectors General, supervisors, or Congressional oversight committee members about his concerns.

    Good idea too. Everyone else who did (that we know of) was fired and investigated. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Andrews_Drake [wikipedia.org]

    >The NSA is only targeting the communications, as opposed to metadata, of less than 60 Americans. Targeting the actual communications of Americans, rather than metadata, requires a probable cause finding and a specific court order.

    We don't believe you, and quit targeting my metadata without a warrant.

  • by twmcneil (942300) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:00AM (#45702943)
    Who in their right mind would believe anything the NSA says? They have lied to everyone about everything.
  • Biased much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:01AM (#45702951)

    Could this be more biased in favour of the NSA? I don't think so. It reads as pure propaganda.

    The fact is - the NSA, and the US government, has consistently been lying to the American people. Consistently. The Guardian publishes one thing, the US responds, and then the Guardian publishes another clearly indicating how the US government lied. Time and time again. How many times do we have to go over this?

  • Re:Rah! Rah! NSA! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon (845873) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:01AM (#45702955)
    In order for there to be a meaningful public discussion about government surveillance, the surveillance agencies need to be able to state their position. Indeed, it is hardly possible to refute their reasons for surveillance unless they have a chance to state them.
  • by Moof123 (1292134) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:02AM (#45702959)

    Excuse me while I go take care of my sudden onset nausea...

  • by Infestedkudzu (2557914) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:03AM (#45702971)
    Does this just seem like the heaviest kind of propaganda on how bad snowden is. the whole thing is just emphasizing how 'horrible' he is and making no mention of how unacceptable Almost all NSA actions are. Its when I post to these articles that I wonder how much slashdot articles get red flagged.
  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:06AM (#45702999) Journal

    Other than lies, lies and more damn lies, what else can NSA come up with ?

    No matter how slick or how polished their lies be, NSA's lies are still LIES.

    NSA has betrayed America.

    NSA has betrayed the Constitution.

    NSA is a rogue organization within the government of the United States of America.

  • Re:Rah! Rah! NSA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poetmatt (793785) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:06AM (#45703003) Journal

    CBS has never been anything other than sucking at the teat of corporatism. It's not an accident they didn't cover the arab spring, OWS or anything other than pro-us government leaning views until they were widely broadcast everywhere else.

    In short - if it's affiliated with any TV network public or private, then you're not the customer. The corporations are.

  • Re:Rah! Rah! NSA! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:07AM (#45703007)

    So it sounds like it will be pro-NSA spin-doctoring from our crony-corporatist media.

    I was thinking that 60 Minutes is now broadcasting fiction.

    Snowden never approached any of multiple Inspectors General, supervisors, or Congressional oversight committee members about his concerns.

    Assuming that's true ...

    Like they'd do anything about it and if he did, he could kiss his job good-bye and he would be told to shut up. And even if he ignored them and started blabbing on the Internet and media, who'd believe him? Without documentation, he's just another conspiracy theorist.

    Targeting the actual communications of Americans, rather than metadata, requires a probable cause finding and a specific court order.

    Yep, it does require it but they don't give a shit. They do it anyway.

    NSA analysts working with metadata don't have access to the name, and can't listen to the call.

    I do NOT believe this. Anyone who does is a rube.

  • Re:Oh NSA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dmbasso (1052166) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:07AM (#45703013)

    And approaching supervisors worked pretty well for Manning... [/sarcasm]

  • Crocodile Tears (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StoneyMahoney (1488261) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:08AM (#45703033)

    Not having access to 60-minutes in the UK, it would seem the main thrust of the NSA's argument is that the system has checks and balances for exactly this sort of situation, and that Snowden should have notified the right people about his findings rather than go public. What it doesn't seem to mention is that these very same people should already have known about this - everyone whose responsibility it was to either refrain from these actions or say "No" when someone else asked if they were allowed had already said "Yes" so I think removing the system's responsibility for self-regulation by public release in that context is exactly the right thing to do.

    By trying to paint Snowden's actions as irresponsible by failing to follow the preapproved script for this sort of violation, they are also trying to cover the arses of the self-regulators by claiming ignorance of the matter on their behalf. It's simultaneously a smear-attack on Snowden and an attempt to save the faces of the people he's made like utter f***wits. The logic-fail in this case is that they can't cover up what we already know from their own documents happened, so the ignorance play only makes the self-regulation argument even weaker as, prior to Snowden's releases, it had already comprehensively failed to protect those in it's charge over a long period of time.

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:09AM (#45703037)

    I was thinking the exact same thing when I watched it. Guess they couldn't trump up a rape charge, so that was the best they could do (for now, anyway).

  • Re:Oh NSA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Heed00 (1473203) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:11AM (#45703055)
    And, of course, there's a difference between actively "targeting" and collecting "incidentally" or "unwittingly." To deny the former does not exclude the latter. These guys lie for a living and love muddying the waters by using specific terms in specific contexts to sound like blanket denials which, in reality, turn out to be almost meaningless declarations.

    And yes, metadata can easily be more intrusive than content.
  • by garyok (218493) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:12AM (#45703065)
    So he broke into a secure environment, serruptitiously obtained confidential and/or classified information, and used his take to successfully gain a competive advantage over his peers? And somehow this makes him unsuitable for employment at the NSA? If he'd just 'fessed up he'd be the first new guy to start his job with an employee of the month award.
  • Re:Rah! Rah! NSA! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:12AM (#45703069)

    They've been "making their case" for years. This is nothing but spin doctoring and character assassination not an honest debate.

  • by StormReaver (59959) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:12AM (#45703075)

    So an organization whose existence is predicated on lying, and whose employees, from the top of the food chain to the bottom of the food chain, have done nothing but lie to their country, from the top of the food chain to the bottom of the food chain, goes on a national TV show and says stuff that we are supposed to believe?

    Either the NSA is staffed by utter morons, or they think we are the utter morons. There is a huge believability deficit in that agency, and an enormous cognitive disconnect among its leaders. It's yet another federal agency that needs a large funding reduction, and whose leaders need many years of therapy.

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:13AM (#45703081)

    It always cracks me up when whsiteblowers are criticized for not contacting their superiors with the information first--as if it's not THOSE VERY SAME SUPERIORS who aren't the ones PERPETUATING THE WRONGDOING IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    "Sir I think this Adolph Hitler may be nuts!"

    "Well, then you must report this concern to Herr Hitler immediately!"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:15AM (#45703105)

    "NSA is a rogue organization within the government of the United States of America."

    LoL.
    I don't think you understood, NSA IS the government of the United States.

    "The NSA's work is driven by requests for information by other parts of the government"

    And Angela Merkel says hi.

  • Re:Meta-data (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:16AM (#45703111)

    Metadata is nothing more than data to begin with. This distinction is absolutely absurd. Capturing the actual data wouldn't really be any more difficult for them, so how is that magically more private? It isn't. They're just abusing past irrelevant, ignorant court decisions for their own gain.

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:16AM (#45703113)

    If they're willing to openly lie to Congress, does anyone think for a second they wouldn't openly lie to the press? When NSA reps speak now, I don't even bother listening for how they parse their language. They're not even trying to *technically* tell the truth--they're just flat out lying, period.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:16AM (#45703117)

    Nothing that has been revealed so far shows any wrongdoing. Hell, half the civil libertarians probably wanted to find something to impeach Obama with, that is there whole interest in this.

    Having a computer store metadata that you don't try to hide from private companiees just isn't that big of a deal. And it sure doesn't warrant one story a day from Slashdot...

  • Re:Puff piece (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:16AM (#45703119)

    Have you considered that maybe they need to store data that's not your e-mails and phone calls? I mean, their focus is primarily foreign surveillance.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:17AM (#45703131) Journal

    The character assassination of Snowden begins

    No, it began when the Scotland Yard and the GCHQ tried to pin Snowden with the Pedophiles.

    http://slashdot.org/story/13/11/07/038216/edward-snowden-leaks-could-help-paedophiles-escape-police-says-uk-government [slashdot.org]

    Then NSA returned the favor and attacked Julian Assange

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/12/13/012210/was-julian-assange-involved-with-wiretapping-icelands-parliament [slashdot.org]

    This is the third round.

    There will be a fourth, a fifth, a sixth, and their intention is very simple -

    The want to fill the media media with LIES.

    They want to fill the world with SO MUCH LIES that nobody can discern truth from lies.

  • by g0bshiTe (596213) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:19AM (#45703137)
    My thoughts exactly, to that end it seems now the thing to do is to discredit Snowden who I consider a true patriot.

    Of all the things said about him by the NSA the one thing that strikes me about the whole case is that nowhere ever is it mentioned he did it for money or anything other than to expose what the NSA was up to to the world.
  • Re:Rah! Rah! NSA! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:19AM (#45703139) Homepage Journal

    but they have been lying about their position many times.

    also, why would NSA consider amnesty for Snowden? it is not NSA's job to consider that nor is it in their jurisdiction, at least it's not supposed to be.

    less than 60 americans? so 10 million in equipment per? really? shouldn't the number be zero anyways and surveillance on those sixty americans be done by the FBI?

  • by DrLang21 (900992) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:19AM (#45703145)
    "Snowden never approached any of multiple Inspectors General, supervisors, or Congressional oversight committee members about his concerns."

    And how would they expect that to be responded to if he did? "Keep your mouth shut if you know what's good for you."
  • Re:Rah! Rah! NSA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by H3lldr0p (40304) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:21AM (#45703155) Homepage

    And they can do this without resorting to channels that are known first and primarily as propaganda machines.

    Because, and let us be honest here, part of the reason why we are in this position is that the media in the US are not there to provide the informational bulwark so that we may function as close to an ideal republic as we can. They currently exist to sell us things and to make us feel better out said purchases. This extends to the government at all levels. Who better to give an interview to than the very apparatus that is there to appease and not investigate?

  • Re:Rah! Rah! NSA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StoneyMahoney (1488261) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:21AM (#45703159)

    In some ways the NSA are their own worst enemy in this situation. Snowden leaked huge quantities of documents directly from the horse's mouth, so to speak, that broadly incriminates the NSA of a host of crimes they were supposedly able to self-regulate against. The problem they have now is one of credibility - they have no channel through which to put out their version of the story that will allow it to carry the same credibility as Snowden's leak.

    I work in the media sector and myself and know that no self-respecting spin doctor could get this so badly wrong as it seems on the surface - there was a target demographic of supreme importance that they hit square in the face for some reason. Not that I can go looking for them from the other side of the pond...

  • Cryptoanalysis? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rmsilva123 (1417079) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:24AM (#45703201)
    "Joslyn: So the idea here is we’re looking at a sequence of numbers, and we want to determine whether they’re random or not random.
    John Miller: How are you approaching that? Can you show me?
    Joe: We are looking at this data here and it is a bunch of random numbers on the screen.
    John Miller: That looks a tad overwhelming.
    Joe: It is."

    They are trying to determine if the numbers are random by looking at them on the screen? If this was how they were doing cryptoanalysis at the NSA, we could all sleep better. Of course, as noted above, there's no reason to believe any information provided in an obvious propaganda piece like this one.
  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:28AM (#45703243) Journal

    In the balance of power/abuses, I'd still consider the NSA more appropriate than say... the Chinese/Russian equivalent ...

    Just look at the modus operandi of the apologists ...
     
    They are actually TRYING VERY HARD to compare an apple to an orange !

    RUSSIA and CHINA are NOT democratic countries.

    THEIR GOVERNMENTS are RUTHLESS and VERY AUTOCRATIC, and they have the power to PERSECUTE, and even EXECUTE their people WITHOUT REASON.

    I am from China. I know what I am talking about !

    On the other hand, the United States of America is supposed to be A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY - where *LAWS* are obeyed, and even the government has to OBEY THE LAWS.

    NSA is NOT an apparatus of the Russian nor an apparatus of the Chinese government.

    NSA is a branch of the government of the United States of America.

    Which means, NSA has the OBLIGATION to operate ACCORDING TO WHAT HAS BEEN CLEARLY STATED IN THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    Has NSA done that ?

    Nope.

    NSA has VIOLATED the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA !

    Apologist, you are forewarned !

    We will hunt you down, no matter where the fuck you are !

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:31AM (#45703273)

    Having a computer store metadata that you don't try to hide from private companiees just isn't that big of a deal.

    Actually many people do try to hide them from private companies. But even if this statement was entirely true, there is a big difference between what a corporation can do with the metadata vs what the government can do. Last time I checked, Google isn't able to send out a drone to extrajudicially kill a US citizen.

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:37AM (#45703323) Journal

    If he expected to be treated like previous NSA whistleblowers or previous Obama era whistleblowers/leakers, why would he do that?

    At best he could talk to someone like Ron Wyden or Mark Udall. Except they already knew what kind of shit the NSA was doing and couldn't say or do anything about it.

  • Re:Up Next... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Desler (1608317) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:42AM (#45703389)

    The LOVEINT scandal is one of the perfect examples of how that statement is patently bullshit. Unless they're going to claim that the FISA court is giving out LOVEINT warrants now.

  • Re:Rah! Rah! NSA! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Desler (1608317) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:45AM (#45703425)

    For a liar to be caught in a lie, he has to speak first.

    Oh so someone other than James "Least Untruthful Answer" Clapper [washingtonpost.com] or the Jean-Luc Picard wannabe Keith Alexander [theguardian.com]? I'm pretty sure both of them having been saying lots of things.

  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:48AM (#45703473) Homepage

    As important, even if Snowden was a scurrilous, devious shithead who cheated to get a job and stole that information for all the wrong reasons - as claimed in the interview - , that still in no way vindicates the actions of the NSA. Their methods were both morally and legally untenable and no matter the motives of the whistleblower, it is better that the citizens of the nation (and the world) are aware of the actions of the US government. It's the only way we can possibly hope to rein them in and prevent such abuses in the future. Even if that is a distant fantasy, it has a far greater probability of happening thanks to Snowden's actions. So no matter how the NSA - and the government at large - attempts to deflect the issue with attempts at character assassination, in the end we are still better off knowing their misdeeds.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:51AM (#45703507)

    What I find particularly worrying about those statements is that apparently no one else did either. Of everyone working at the NSA, no one did the right thing.
    If someone had, and reporting to the inspectors would actually yield something useful, they would definitely have mentioned it to further discredit Snowden. Why would they withhold the proof that their check & balances works? Because there is no proof, because it doesn't work.

    The only one who did the right thing, did so while making elaborate plans to escape the country, share the news with enough news agencies and reporters and pretty much all other things you find the good guys in movies doing when they fight the evil government.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:54AM (#45703537)
    I think the lesson is: the security apparutus NSA et al. has demonstrated its willingness to neutralize the threat posed by the democratic process to their autocratic organization. You only have to see the lack of punishment dealt out to the NSA Director fo rlying to the elected representivies of the people to get even a small glimpse into the power they wield over our so called "democracy".
  • by tom229 (1640685) on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:04AM (#45703645)

    Snowden never approached any of multiple Inspectors General, supervisors, or Congressional oversight committee members about his concerns.

    Ya, because he'd rather spend the rest of his life a fugitive, essentially exiled from his home country and family under fear of rotting in solitary confinement in a military prison without charge. He'd rather do this than simply follow the perfectly effective checks and balances this completely innocent organization is government by.

    How stupid do they think we are?

  • Re:Oh NSA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:09AM (#45703689)
    Right. If it's only 60 Americans, why are you building a massive data center in Utah?
  • by TWX (665546) on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:09AM (#45703691)
    Blowing the whistle only works when telling people that don't already know, and arguably aren't technically cleared to have such knowledge, as those that have clearance can't say anything even if they're told by a whistleblower, as it would spell an end to their clearance and probably their job, or in the case of an elected official, an end to their effectiveness at their job.

    I wonder, sometimes, how much less safe we'd really, actually be if the NSA or a like-organization didn't exist, or at least didn't get access to anything domestically without explicit court order. My guess is that it wouldn't be much, especially since for most cases of terrorism that have been launched from within the US (9/11, Tsasrnaev, Oklahoma City) have seemingly gone off without having triggered a response, especially considering that there was evidence of something being planned from the start that was brought to attention.

    I do not think that we are a whole lot safer on account of the NSA. As such, I don't think that the NSA's mission to collect information on Americans can even be justified by a safety argument.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:23AM (#45703835)

    Here are possibilities more clearly laid out:
    1) the NSA did nothing wrong
    2) the NSA did something wrong, but no one noticed
    3) the NSA did something wrong, but no one reported it
    4) the NSA did something wrong and people reported it but nothing changed

    So which one is it, NSA? (1) is laughable, (2) and (3) put their workforce in bad light, and (4) justifies Snowden's approach.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:24AM (#45703845)

    Given that nothing has changed even after the leaks so far, I can't imagine that telling the IG would have done any good...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:34AM (#45703945)

    You have got to be kidding. NSA specifically targeted an American company and copied their inter-data-center traffic for surveillance purposes, thereby stealing the personal information and papers and effects of millions of US citizens. You try that and let me know how prison treats you -- it's prohibited from both a civil rights and constitutional standpoint. It's a criminal act.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:39AM (#45703975)

    That his actions were justifiable or moral or whatever you think of him doesn't change the fact that was he did was illegal, and that's the only true fact they have to work with.

    Nor does it change that what they were doing was also illegal.

    This is just misdirection to say "see, he broke the law by telling you that we broke the law".

    And why on earth would he have gone to any of the people overseeing this to tell them the issues? Because those people knew damned well what they were doing and would have silenced him.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:59AM (#45704163)

    The 60-Minutes episode was not directed to you. The whole purpose was to "educate" the major part of the American people that are not certain what is going on but are absolutely sure that they need protection from the unknown enemy. After months of bad press, the NSA needed a well-scripted PR boost, and CBS was willing to give it to them.

    The sad truth is that a vast majority of the American people do not want to spend the time to analyze the raw data and come to their own conclusion. They want small, pre-digested sound-bites that they can post on Twitter and Facebook to make them feel like they have a handle on the situation. It's much easier to quote "Snowden is a bad terrorist" than it is to say "Snowden is very smart and likable, worked very hard to use his genius to advance security technology, and happened to feel very strongly that something was wrong in the NSA so he copied massive quantities of classified documents and sacrificed his career to reveal his findings."

    You're not the target audience of CBS, the lazy public is.

  • by conspirator57 (1123519) on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:59AM (#45704173)

    Moreover, It's not like he hasn't had the observable precedent of what the government did to vocal dissenters using the "process," namely to maliciously prosecute them and strip them of their retirement even when prosecution fails for the obvious reason that there was no evidence. Thomas Drake is a prime example of that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @12:03PM (#45704211)

    When someone asks the NSA the question, "Are you widely*collecting* information on millions of Americans?" and the answer given is that they "can only *target* Americans with a court order," then they are not answering the question that was asked. This is the way that they've been dodging this issue from the beginning, and I'm not sure that most people are noticing this.

    They should have been called on this. It was bad journalism.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday December 16, 2013 @12:14PM (#45704345) Homepage

    They don't. They can't. So the surreptitious, illicit actions of a US spy agency can undermine the diplomatic work of months and years.

    For example, imagine what would happen if the spooks simply made up a story that a country had (and/or had recently used) weapons of mass destruction, and provided what appeared to be actionable intelligence to the politicians who were theoretically in charge. I mean, there's no way the wise politicians wouldn't see through that and overwhelmingly move to start a war over nothing, right?

  • by JWW (79176) on Monday December 16, 2013 @12:26PM (#45704479)

    I love how a warrant awarded in secret with contents that are secret to collect data that will be kept secret is supposed to ok this type of behavior.

  • Re:Rah! Rah! NSA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday December 16, 2013 @12:29PM (#45704509) Journal

    the surveillance agencies need to be able to state their position.

    Surveillance agencies should not even have an opinion. Their job is to do what The People tell them to do. Their job is not to advocate for any position.

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday December 16, 2013 @12:38PM (#45704609)

    But as an American, I could not care less how bad the proverbial boogeymen "other countries" are. It is the US government that has the power to arrest me, not the goons running some random African hellhole.

  • by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Monday December 16, 2013 @12:39PM (#45704627) Homepage

    If we can't trust our government, then we can't trust each other.

    Oh really? I think you'll find that it's quite easy to trust the majority of our fellow human beings, those who haven't tried to set themselves up in a position of false authority, while simultaneously refusing to trust governments or other criminal organizations trying to rule over us.

  • by ai4px (1244212) on Monday December 16, 2013 @01:19PM (#45705085)
    What I love is that when a Snowden or an Assange comes along, they cue up the character assassinations. Why didnt you know Snowden's girlfriend was a stripper? That he made little ladies at the local bingo parlor say the F word by yelling BINGO at inappropriate times?

    It's to the point that I tend to believe a person is morally right as I hear more and more dirt on them.

  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex&project-retrograde,com> on Monday December 16, 2013 @01:20PM (#45705093) Homepage

    I had hoped that 60 minutes would do an insightful - investigation into NSA. What I heard from so-called reporter John Miller was a PR fluff piece that one would expect as a former national spokesman for the FBI.

    It's perfectly in line with what famous linguist Noam Chomsky told us about the media decades ago. [youtube.com] ABC and 60 minutes are some of the most blatantly bullshit of the mainstream media, rivaling Fox News. From airing things like "D is for Dad and Dumb" -- the weekend of father's day? [parents.com], to writing hit-pieces about human rights websites [staresattheworld.com] claiming coordinated harassment of Anita Sarkeesian while ignoring her blatant confirmation bias and clear evidence of victim-farming con artistry, [youtube.com] it's clear they do not present an objective or unbiased news source. It's also clear ABC are intentionally deceptive and seem to be harboring and furthering a sexist anti-male agenda.

    It's quite strange -- When I was younger I had assumed they were good; 60min was what grown-ups watched... right? It would be some kind of tin-foil-hatter conspiracy theory to think they weren't trustworthy news sources... right? Nope. Apparently Chomsky knew what he was talking about, and it applies now more than ever.

  • by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Monday December 16, 2013 @01:49PM (#45705395)

    but privacy is the culprit here. The NSA can go rogue because they have way too much privacy of a certain type, the "it never happened" type privacy, not the "no one knows what we are now talking about " privacy.

    They can plan and plot in a dark so dark no one can ever know what was said. That has to go. Every single they do, speak, write , everywhere they go, every access to every computer system anyone there ever avails themselves of has to be memorialized into an incorruptible audit trail which can "replayed" and otherwise analyzed by investigative authorities given the proper authorization to do so.

    To start with the premise that "we don't need this surveillance" is to concede the argument before it's even begun.

    You can't win an argument starting with a false picture of reality. We DO need this level of surveillance. We DO need these systems and we will need them even more going forward. That is a highly unpleasant fact about reality. We need new thinking here.

    So how do we stop an agency with that much assymetrical information from leveraging it into domestic political or global economic power and thus consuming on the one had our democracy and on the other our legitimacy as a world power?

    The answer is to make it impossible to abuse the system AND ALSO get away with it, both.

    The people in charge there now need to be moved out. People like Binney and Drake and Snowden - all true patriots- who KNOW how this technology can and is abused need to be put into positions of power. The old guard would never ever permit that , even to the point of staging a coup d'tat . Obama needs his own, legitimate, Sunday Night Massacre (Nixon 1973) there and he needs to move all at once and very suddenly with a clear vision of how that agency is going to be going forward.

    Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. We need the NSA and what it does. We need more of the same from the NSA in fact. But we need the contingency of ironclad transparency into the organization also.

    If you take the long view, it was predictable even obvious that the individuals who "came of age" in the NSA during the digital revolution would attempt to leverage their newly invented and secret powers into an position of untouchability and engage in lawlessness. These guys have a god complex the size of a mountain, and they can have and will continue to demonize, including in their own minds, anyone who opposes their personal vision of what their careers and lives are all about, what their mission is and the best way to achieve that mission.

    No point in picking their psychology apart, the point is they need to be relieved of duty and also we need to implement totalitarian-level of accounting within the organization that any lawbreaker will fear, even as we continue to spy as we have been, pushing the technological limits of what can be uncovered on our very real enemies.

  • So he broke into a secure environment, serruptitiously obtained confidential and/or classified information, and used his take to successfully gain a competive advantage over his peers? And somehow this makes him unsuitable for employment at the NSA?

    I guess it's a good thing he wasn't a state sponsored spy... I mean, just imagine what would happen if there were multiple powerful nations with "cyber armies" that wanted at that data and the gall to infiltrate and spy on the USA / NSA. Why, all that data would just be ripe for the taking, like a huge single point of failure. The NSA would be a huge threat to national security. I mean, wow, Snowden was a contractor; Just imagine if he had been a really bad guy trained in computer exploitation and given a big budget to buy any zero-day exploit on the black market he needed? Wow, scary stuff NSA. I guess they'll be shutting down now that the biggest threat to national security has been identified as the NSA itself... right?

  • by KingMotley (944240) on Monday December 16, 2013 @02:33PM (#45705863) Journal

    Not an excuse.

  • Re:BIOS Attack? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AndrewBuck (1120597) on Monday December 16, 2013 @02:46PM (#45706019)

    What is even more funny (and telling) about the reporting on this is that the NSA people in the interview claimed the NSA stopped this attack and then CBS reported that directly with no question about whether this was legitamate or not. They claim this would have bricked all the computers, which presumably includes the one I am typing this message on. So we are just told they stopped the attack... how.

    Seriously, how the fuck did they do that?

    They claim China wrote some super virus that could brick the bios on a PC and they stopped it. Really? Did they run some bios update on my computer to defend it against this malicious update, because I don't seem to recall taking such defensive measures myself. Or maybe they stopped the virus from propagating around the internet in the first place and therefore protected me from ever seeing the virus in the first place. That must be how they did it, I guess that would explain why the hundreds of antivirus companies never seemed to mention that a world ending virus is a thing that we should all be worried about and maybe, you know, buy some antivirus software from them to defend against.

    It also begs the question, if they can stop this virus in such a fashion, why couldn't they stop any other attack in a similar fashion. And then why, not 10 minutes later in the interview, does the head of US cyber command claim we are vulnerable to cyber attack (and therefore the NSA is totally justified in doing all this spying and oh by the way they sure could use a bigger budget).

    To call this reporting is just laughable. It's not reporting, it is propaganda, and not even good propaganda. Wow, you stopped a world ending virus, gee thanks NSA. Golly gee willickers I sure am glad you saved us all. Tell me some more about how awesome you all are. Give me a fucking break.

    -AndrewBuck

"Just Say No." - Nancy Reagan "No." - Ronald Reagan

Working...