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View Diary: Open Letter to NSA Analysts (476 comments)

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  •  if the national security agency (13+ / 0-)

    can't keep itself secure, how well does it keep the nation secure?

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 01:42:46 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  That TOTALLY makes Snowden not a crook. (8+ / 0-)

      "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

      by raptavio on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 02:46:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Note that they called him "brilliant." (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, Onomastic, Timaeus, Sandino

      Maybe they never assumed that someone would hack them from the inside? It's the NSA, we can guess at this point.

      •  with hundreds of thousands (13+ / 0-)

        of people getting high level security clearances, who could have imagined?

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:12:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I saw a quote today where some NSA honcho (6+ / 0-)

        said they'd made a big mistake by hiring a brilliant person for Snowden's job, because brilliant people are so dangerous.  What a pathetic excuse.

        He was a sysadmin.  He had root access.  It doesn't sound that brilliant to me.  But the NSA's lack of security shows tremendous arrogance and stupidity.

        It shouldn't be that hard to run a constant keylog on all sysadmins.  That could be set up so that the sysadmin couldn't evade or interrupt, I think.

        •  Snowden wasn't sysadmin... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yoshimi

          ... he was a tech

          His next employment was as a National Security Agency (NSA) security guard for the Center for Advanced Study of Language at the University of Maryland,[51] before, he said, joining the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to work on IT security.[52] In May 2006 Snowden wrote in Ars Technica that he had no trouble getting work because he was a "computer wizard". In August he wrote about a possible path in government service, perhaps involving China, but said it "just doesn't seem like as much 'fun' as some of the other places."[49]

          Snowden said that in 2007 the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was responsible for maintaining computer network security.[53] Snowden described his CIA experience in Geneva as "formative", stating that the CIA deliberately got a Swiss banker drunk and encouraged him to drive home. Snowden said that when the latter was arrested, a CIA operative offered to intervene and later recruited the banker.[54] Swiss President Ueli Maurer said it did not seem likely "that this incident played out as it has been described by Snowden and by the media."[55] The revelations were said to be sensitive as the Swiss government was passing legislation for more banking transparency.[56]

          Snowden left the CIA in 2009 and began work for a private contractor inside an NSA facility on a US military base in Japan[22] later identified as Dell.[57] Snowden remained on the Dell payroll until early 2013.[57] Persons familiar with the 2013 government investigation into Snowden's history said that Snowden had downloaded sensitive NSA material in April 2012.[58] NSA Director Keith Alexander has said that Snowden held a position at the NSA for the twelve months prior to his next job as a consultant,[59] with top secret Sensitive Compartmented Information clearances.[60] According to The New York Times, Snowden took a Certified Ethical Hacker training course in 2010.[61] USIS completed a background check on Snowden in 2011.[62]

          Snowden described his life as "very comfortable", earning a salary of "roughly US$200,000".[63] At the time of his departure from the US in May 2013, he had been employed by consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton for less than three months inside the NSA at the Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center in Hawaii,[64][65][66] earning $122,000.[67] While intelligence officials have described his position there as a "system administrator", Snowden has said he was an "infrastructure analyst", which meant that his job was to look for new ways to break into Internet and telephone traffic around the world.[68] He said he had taken a pay cut to work at Booz Allen,[69] and that he sought employment in order to gather data on NSA surveillance around the world so he could leak it.[70] The firm said Snowden's employment was terminated on June 10, 2013 "for violations of the firm's code of ethics and firm policy".[67][71]

          Nothing in his work history says sysadmin.  But if he stole credentials to gain access to classified data, it makes him a common thief.

          Looking through the bent backed tulips, To see how the other half lives, Looking through a glass onion - John Lennon and Paul McCartney

          by Hey338Too on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 09:36:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Close your eyes and imagine say . . . (0+ / 0-)

        Bob Newhart reciting that "Brilliant" line. That's how I read it in the original report. I've been known to use the word that way too ;^)

    •  That's an important question for a variety (25+ / 0-)

      of reasons, including the ties between the "Sneaks" and "Geeks".  The Snowden Affair is emblematic of the connection between the spy industry in Silicone Valley and the government. I, for one, would like to see an in depth examination of that.

      Speaking of Silicone Valley, I'd also like to see a full on discussion about tech businesses' increasing invasion of our privacy, all in the name of business. I'd think it would be rather pertinent given that Google has recently taken a patent out on a program for an app that will allow them to watch us watching them.

      Why do they want to watch us? So they can gauge our reaction to advertisements by how our eye pupils react to the ads. I find just the idea of that creepy and horribly invasive.

      Of course none of the above exists with in a vacuum. It's all connected with myriad threads linked to legalities or the lack there of, security or the lack there of, business and government, what we as a society have be come accustomed to, or not, the trustworthiness of our MSM or not, etc, etc, etc.

      It all needs to be dispassionately examined, discussed, and solutions proposed.

      Do you think what has been happening here accomplishes that, for I surely do not.

      It has been profoundly frustrating seeing such important issues drowned by incessant innuendos and accusations disguised as "policy" discussions.

      I'd like to see solutions being worked towards. I fail to see how this helps achieve that.

      There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

      by Onomastic on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:04:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  as joan's post earlier today made clear (20+ / 0-)

        tens of billions are going to private contractors. snowden was working for a private contractor. whatever one thinks of snowden or the entire nsa spying scandal, the money and resources being given to private contractors ought to be a screaming alarm.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:14:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It certainly has my alarm going off. (11+ / 0-)

          It all does for a variety of reasons. I just choose not to yell about it or define how others should react.

          It's too important for that. It's too important for all the BS accusations of shillery going on as well.

          If anyone actually did want to weaken this site and keep it from doing what it does best, that would be a good way of going about it.

          Without some basic level of trust we can't come together to accomplish anything.

          There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

          by Onomastic on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:20:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  i do think (10+ / 0-)

            people on this site have very different values and ideals, and issues such as this bring it to the fore.

            i've been outraged by nsa spying and abuse of government security agencies since i was a child- since my parents' best friends were victimized by the latter, and since frank church investigated and spoke out against the former. i thought bill casey's cia should have been completely exposed and brought to account. i thought bush's abuses should have gotten him removed from office.

            when wyden and udall hinted at this story two years ago, i kept hoping someone would break it into the open. now, with everyone watching, and with the vast majority of the country upset about the revealed nsa abuses, i'm hoping we finally- decades later than was needed- get accountability and transparency and oversight. i don't have much patience with anyone who doesn't see that as an enormously important immediate goal. it has been for me since i was a child.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:31:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  As it has for me, too, LL. As a person raised in (23+ / 0-)

              a McCarthy- and later FBI-hunted family, I agree it's always been important.  But the fact that it only seems important now to folks who've ignored the toll it's taken on the poor, POC, and true leftists for decades upon decades makes all this outrage and slipping into totally offensive comparisons to totalitarianism (which the folks making that claim have clearly never lived under -- or they'd know their mere ability to post such tripe here proves they're not living under such a system) deeply offensive and ultimately tiresome to the rest of us.

              Just sayin'.

              Isn't it time for the US Govt to give Leonard Peltier back his freedom? ** "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

              by Yasuragi on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:59:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  ^^^^^THIS^^^^^ (10+ / 0-)

                With much love and respect for what both LL & Yasu have said.

                Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

                by earicicle on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:05:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  but i don't see that (10+ / 0-)

                this site was all over bush's warrantless wiretapping, which was one of the key issues driving the site's impeachment debates. no one here then was denying or downplaying what was revealed- first by anonymous insider leaks to james risen and eric lichtblau of the new york times- the only debate here was whether it would be politically expedient to push for full investigations possibly leading to impeachment. but there was unanimity on the site that it was a big fucking deal. and there also was a lot of anger on the site when the new democratic congress voted to make some of the bush abuses legal, while also immunizing the telecoms for their complicity in them.

                i don't know who is worried about this only now. this community was all over it, during the bush years. and the fact that i have personal experience with close family friends having been targeted- decades ago- having their lives potentially destroyed- doesn't make me shrug if some people were only now beginning to pay attention- it makes me want to seize this moment! finally!

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 04:52:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  note the crickets (0+ / 0-)

                  received in response to this particular comment.

                  Guess the projections and sneering "true leftists" comments are going to continue ad nauseum.

                  Whatever their individual provenance, those taking the 'it's all hyperbole and anyone that says different is a phoney' are arguing a disingenuous position. One seemingly based almost entirely on personality differences and their own invented notion of the motives of those whom they argue against.

                  Thanks for your posts, LL... Sincerely appreciate your taking the time/effort.

                  Money speaks for money, the devil for his own... Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone?

                  by LeftOverAmerica on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 11:46:21 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Totalitarianism always has to have a (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Onomastic

                mother and a father and the space to grow from very small to very big. Some people see the seeds sprouting and imagine the fully grown tree. I am with you as far as overblown hyperbole, but at the same time there is much to be credited to those who are vigilantly  noting that the small seeds might be getting getting a little too much sunshine, water and air.

                Me, I would rather err on the side of too much vigilance rather than not enough.

                I'm not offended by the hyperbole, but it does lessen the credibility of the arguments being made.

                When you start sounding like a CT nutcase, you risk people will judge you in the same vein.

                The Fierce Urgency of Later

                by Faroutman on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 11:10:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I'm so sorry your family's friends (15+ / 0-)

              went through that nightmare, Laurence. No one should and far too many have. It must have affected everyone who cared for them.

              It's a nasty, nasty, business.

              Of course you're going to care deeply about the issue and want it resolved now so it never happens again to anyone.

              How could you not?

              How could anyone?

              I just don't think that there is that much of a difference in "values and ideals" as perhaps there is the emphasis placed on an issue at any given time.

              We are all here together on this site after all, a site dedicated to improving our political progress towards more a more inclusive, just, and open, democracy through a specific mechanism - electing more and better Democrats.

              That's the base line and that does reflect our values and ideals.

              Where there may be differences seems to occur on the stress placed upon specific issues, how those issues are defined, and how they are to be resolved.

              Too often we get bogged down in the defining aspect, especially when that is used as cover to beat one another up.

              And that's what can suck the air out of the room and leave people saying "a pox on both your houses" and walking away.

              I don't like speaking for others. I find it presumptuous, at best, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it's not that people don't care. It is that they don't care for how the issue gets lost in argumentative, personality driven, BS, vs having a respectful open discussion whose goal is actually to fix the problem.

              At least that the way I see it anyway.

               

              There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

              by Onomastic on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 05:52:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  but personality is driving much of this (5+ / 0-)

                no one was demonizing greenwald when he was exposing bush's lies and crimes. no one was demonizing lichtblau and risen or questioning or demonizing their sources. no one considered it important that their sources had violated their security clearances to leak information that was important for the public to know. no one was denying what was revealed, or saying it was being blown out of proportion. the difference between the reactions during the bush era and the reactions now could not be more striking.

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 06:12:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Steny Hoyer (of whom I'm not that fond): (8+ / 0-)
                  "The difference between this program and the Bush program [is that] the Bush program was not sanctioned by law; this is pursuant to law.  I think that's a very important distinction that some people don't draw, but they ought to draw."
                  Which pretty much my answer.

                  There've been limits imposed.

                  Do I feel that they go far enough?  Of course not.  But the hyperbole of declaring this president Hitler, totalitarian, and Stasi-like is absurd -- particularly when you ignore all the good he's done in the face of this continuing program.  It's up to Congress to change the laws now.  How do we make that happen, and why aren't we working toward that instead of just ranting day in and day out?

                  Isn't it time for the US Govt to give Leonard Peltier back his freedom? ** "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

                  by Yasuragi on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 06:29:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  as we have seen (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Onomastic, poco, aliasalias, gooderservice

                    those limits are nothing but rubberstamp mechanisms, and despite that are often violated, anyway.

                    hoyer is right in that some of what was illegal under bush now is legal, which is why there were so many calls for potential impeachment then, yet so few- if any- calls for it now. but legal doesn't make it okay. and we do know that there have been many violations of current law, too, which need to be fully investigated. if nsa agents are abusing their abilities to spy on people, they need to be held accountable.

                    many of us were pissed off when democrats voted to make bush's violations legal- we knew then that there were too many loopholes, plus too little transparency and oversight. we were right.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 06:44:35 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  But you didn't answer my question. (7+ / 0-)

                      How do we work together to make Congress address these issues?

                      Isn't it time for the US Govt to give Leonard Peltier back his freedom? ** "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

                      by Yasuragi on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 06:56:16 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  we could start (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Yasuragi, poco, gooderservice

                        by not shooting the messengers, by not trying to deny the revealed facts. amash-conyers came very close to passing, and it took some serious last minute arm twisting by pelosi to prevent its passage. with a majority of house democrats voting for, anyway. we can get this done!

                        we have to back the reforms, regardless of the personalities. whatever we think of greenwald and snowden personally, we have to pay attention to the evidence that they're bringing to light. is this the most important issue in the world? no- to me, as i've written many times, climate change is, because it trumps everything else, and encompasses so many other issues. but this is a huge deal, because it undermines the functioning of democracy itself, undermines the ability of activists in so many fields to accomplish their goals, and plays in so many other issues.

                        instead of shrugging because this is nothing new, and because certain demographics and activists have been suffering from such abuses forever (including my parents' friends- now my brother's parents-in-law), we should all be working together to channel the outrage- whether it is new or longstanding- and demand that our government not play games, or enact only partial measures, or pretend that the foxes can guard the henhouses. as activists, we have to work together to end this. for everyone. and then repeal the damn "patriot" act, which only russ feingold in the senate had the guts to vote against the first time.

                        as i've written many times, this shit really goes back to the era of the alien and sedition acts. so, this scandal can be used to move the country forward to where it never has been, and always has deluded itself into thinking it has been- where the ideals of the first and fourth amendments are real, for everyone, once and for all. it must be. because if it isn't, these abuses will be normalized, with every technological advance becoming just another means of structural control, and potential repression.

                        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                        by Laurence Lewis on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 11:48:27 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Shooting the messengers isn't exactly what's (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Onomastic, poco, kj in missouri

                          happening.

                          It's not unwise to examine who brings information and with what motives, and whether you can trust the information.

                          I do believe all this is happening.  I also believe Greenwald is disingenuous and slanted.  I believe Ray is one of the most divisive forces on this site and alienates more people than he engages.

                          I've tried having conversations about actual activism rather than just a sustained emotional state of outrage.  Because I've always been an activist.  I get nowhere.  All I get is the same sustained outrage, and no good ideas.  None.

                          We can't march on Washington over this issue: the greater majority of voters seem to think this is fine.  There are no corporations to boycott over this -- not practically, anyway, unless you can enlighten me.  (I quit Verizon over it, but how much impact does that have?)

                          I've signed every petition sent my way.  How effective are they any more, when every political group asks you to sign six or more a day?

                          What is the action to take?

                          Isn't it time for the US Govt to give Leonard Peltier back his freedom? ** "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

                          by Yasuragi on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 06:00:20 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  Apparently I missed the reaction here to (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  poco, StellaRay

                  Bush's subversion of everything we hold dear as I didn't join the site until August of 08 and was a very shy newbie for awhile.

                  Though god knows I was having a fit about Bush and his cabal for years before I did join.

                  Finding this site was a god send. I was in that much despair over what was happening to our country, but back to your point.

                  We loathed Bush and everything he stood for. Still do. Same with the legacy of Reagan.

                  What both men embody is what we're still having to fight against and will be for a long time.

                  President Obama is not equal to either. Is he perfect? Of course not. No one is, but to expect the same reaction to a Democratic President to be equal to the reaction to one of the worst Republican Presidents of any life time is going to be doomed to disappointment.

                  Especially as Democratic hold on both Federal and State governments is tenuous with so many forces determined to take the Democrats out of office.

                  I could be wrong but I think that, at least in part, there is a real fear that unless things are handled carefully we could end up with a depressed vote in the upcoming elections and all that would entail.

                  We've seen what the Republican controlled House has done. We've seen what has happened to Republican controlled states like Wisconsin and North Carolina.

                  Given the blasphemous Citizens United and on going Voter suppression our upcoming elections could not be more crucial.

                  And for me, that leads to what should be the real focus in order to get rid of Citizens United, the Patriot Act, ensure voting rights, and lastly, but far from least, advance our laws to address how technology has opened a pandora's box that has stripped away our privacy - Congress.

                  Congress writes the laws. The Supreme Court either verifies those laws as Constitutional or does not.

                  We can't change anything unless we have a majority in the Senate and the House, and make sure that we have a liberal bench on the Court.

                  I can't separate out the NSA, Citizens United, or anything else from the politics, legal system, and culture that gave rise to them

                  Since we don't have a British style multi party system at this point, though some day I hope we do, we have to work to get the best possible Democrats in office everywhere possible.

                  And that leads me to the final piece of the puzzle, as far as I see it anyway, reaching average Americans, getting our message across, and getting them to the polls.

                  Until and unless we do that, we can't fix anything.

                  My apologies for rambling on so. The issues are all so intertwined. At least for me, it's impossible to look at one without tripping over the rest.

                  It's a right mess. And that is the legacy Reagan and Bush have left us. It's going to take a great deal of work for a long time to repair.

                  My biggest fear is of Republicans winning more seats in Congress, taking back the Presidency, and the control of more states.

                  We've seen what they've done in Wisconsin and North Carolina, to name but two. We've seen what the Republican controlled House continues to do.

                  It's a road map for what they will do everywhere if they have the opportunity.

                  And if they do our chances of changing anything will be gone for long years.

                  That leads to a tension between addressing issues and doing so in a way that does not give aid and comfort to Republicans.

                  Blanket statements like "both parties are the same," "Obama is just Bush lite," are untenable to me for a variety of reasons, especially for their lack of factuality and for how they can work to dispirit activists and voters.

                  People not only need to know what the problems are, they also need hope that they can be solved. Unless we do both I fear that we will never actually get the work done.

                  And here I'll stop for fear I'm just going all over the place.

                  Thanks for the conversation. I really enjoyed it.

                  There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

                  by Onomastic on Fri Aug 30, 2013 at 07:34:38 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  On vacation and (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Onomastic

                    not posting much, but stopped by this morning. Glad I came upon this post Ono, as it speaks for me perfectly. You should diary this. And if that doesn't strike your fancy, thanks for writing it all out here.

                    "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

                    by StellaRay on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 07:36:17 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  How very kind of you, StellaRay! (0+ / 0-)

                      Hope you're having a vacation that feeds body and soul. :)

                      Not sure how I feel about enlarging this into a diary. Just returned home from having a lovely, peaceful day with a friend at her camp on the lake.

                      Haven't felt this relaxed in ages and would like to stay that way for a little while.

                      If turning the comment into a diary just leads to more meta instead of a thoughtful, respectful conversation, then I'll have to pass. I'm past being tired of the quick draw assumptions.

                      However, if you think it would help I will think about it.

                      Hope your vacation continues for awhile. You have fun out there, ok? :)

                      There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

                      by Onomastic on Sat Aug 31, 2013 at 04:11:45 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  This, exactly. ^^^ (3+ / 0-)

                Isn't it time for the US Govt to give Leonard Peltier back his freedom? ** "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

                by Yasuragi on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 06:18:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  I love you, Ono, you know... (11+ / 0-)

        So you won't hate me for pointing out that there is a big diff between Silicon and Silicone. One goes into microchips and the other into breast implants. Just don't want an unfriendly commenter to point this out to you!

        Love always,
        ear
        Your Breast Friend

        Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

        by earicicle on Thu Aug 29, 2013 at 03:18:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Language police: Silicon not Silicone. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic, earicicle, Hey338Too

        Good comment.

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