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Gen. Keith Alexander On Metadata, Snowden, and the NSA: "We're At Greater Risk" 238

An anonymous reader writes with some snippets pulled from a lengthy Q&A session at The New Yorker with former NSA head Keith Alexander, in which Alexander defends the collection of metadata by U.S. spy agencies both abroad and within the United States: "The probability of an attack getting through to the United States, just based on the sheer numbers, from 2012 to 2013, that I gave you—look at the statistics. If you go from just eleven thousand to twenty thousand, what does that tell you? That's more. That's fair, right? [..] These aren't my stats. The University of Maryland does it for the State Department. [...] The probability is growing. What I saw at N.S.A. is that there is a lot more coming our way. Just as someone is revealing all the tools and the capabilities we have. What that tells me is we're at greater risk. I can't measure it. You can't say, Well, is that enough to get through? I don't know. It means that the intel community, the military community, and law enforcement are going to work harder."
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Gen. Keith Alexander On Metadata, Snowden, and the NSA: "We're At Greater Risk"

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  • Sign (Score:5, Informative)

    by cultiv8 ( 1660093 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:04PM (#47018831) Homepage
    Well worth the watch if you have the time, gives a very good overview of how the NSA amassed as much power as it has: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/... [pbs.org]
  • Re:probabilities? (Score:3, Informative)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:51PM (#47019277)
    While I hate the security theater industry, that's not quite a fair criticism. They get a lot of noise, and his name was misspelled [reuters.com].

    Infinitely more important though, lets not fall into the trap of using their logic. No government agency can protect against any possible psycho wanting to kill people. We should reject the premise that homeland security CAN protect us against such people if we just allow them to keep secret watchlists and give up our rights.

    Instead I'd frame it as "Homeland security did the best job they possibly could, which was pathetically short of the job we give them billions of dollars and our rights to do, thus we should scrap the whole department and the approach. Instead just close security holes where they don't interfere with rights. For instance: locking cockpit doors and having bomb-sniffing dogs good, secret no fly lists bad."
  • Re:probabilities? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @03:45PM (#47020445)

    They get a lot of noise, and his name was misspelled.

    Irrelevant. It was misspelled in a way that is entirely common and should have been anticipated. Has nobody at NSA even heard of Soundex or any of those other word-matching algorithms? It would appear not, but in reality of course they have. So why weren't they using one or more of them?

    I'm doing work where such algorithms might end up coming in handy eventually. And I know about them and they are readily available. And I'm hardly a highly-paid NSA employee right now.

Forty two.