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A short synopsis of recent press articles on the NSA.  

The National Security Archive, not to be confused with the National Security Agency, has posted a list of 125 documents related to the Snowden releases.

Bruce Schneier, The Atlantic:

It's time to start cleaning up this mess. We need a special prosecutor, one not tied to the military, the corporations complicit in these programs, or the current political leadership, whether Democrat or Republican. This prosecutor needs free rein to go through the NSA's files and discover the full extent of what the agency is doing, as well as enough technical staff who have the capability to understand it. He needs the power to subpoena government officials and take their sworn testimony. He needs the ability to bring criminal indictments where appropriate. And, of course, he needs the requisite security clearance to see it all.

We also need something like South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where both government and corporate employees can come forward and tell their stories about NSA eavesdropping without fear of reprisal.

The Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto, has labeled NSA spying illegal.

Kim Zetter, Wired, parses a recent WaPo article:

The NSA runs a massive, full-time hacking operation targeting foreign systems, the latest leaks from Edward Snowden show. But unlike conventional cybercriminals, the agency is less interested in hacking PCs and Macs. Instead, America’s spooks have their eyes on the internet routers and switches that form the basic infrastructure of the net, and are largely overlooked as security vulnerabilities.

Under a $652-million program codenamed “Genie,” U.S. intel agencies have hacked into foreign computers and networks to monitor communications crossing them and to establish control over them...
Hijacking routers and switches could allow the NSA to do more than just eavesdrop on all the communications crossing that equipment. It would also let them bring down networks or prevent certain communication, such as military orders, from getting through...

David Auerbach, Slate:
The NSA has always been on the cutting edge of encryption, designing the widespread Secure Hash Algorithms and driving standardization of Suite B. I entirely believe that they may have made a cryptographic breakthrough allowing them to crack most encryption in use today.
What the NSA appears to be, then, is a sclerotic organization with individual pockets of brilliance. Agencywide infrastructure appears to be the agency’s most difficult challenge, which would account for its admitted inability to process the dragnet of data it sweeps up.
The best indicators we have as to the state of data management in the NSA is from its IT departments, and not just because that was where Snowden worked. The NSA spends nearly half its budget on operational IT, more than any other security agency.
hese budget numbers signal that the NSA is throwing more and more money at problems while failing to solve them.
Many IT positions tend to be contractor jobs with high turnover—hardly the place for dedicated civil servants with years of experience in the NSA. Yet they literally control the ability of everyone to get their jobs done, and the NSA gave some of these contractors the keys to the kingdom.
Snowden didn’t hack the NSA because there was no security to be hacked. That he and thousands of other low-level contractors had unfettered, untraceable access to the entirety of NSA systems is a security hole that makes Windows look like Fort Knox.
The group of insiders reviewing the NSA will talk to unnamed privacy advocates (and tech company people). I wonder if the names will remain classified.  

The NSA gets prank called. The WaPo's Brian Fung interviews the caller.

The press is making much of a comment Obama made in a press conference with the Swedish PM. I don't see much there. From Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian:

"Obama said there were 'legitimate questions' about the NSA. He said existing laws may not be sufficient to deal with advances in technology that have allowed the NSA to gather much more data than before."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks (12+ / 0-)

    The Syria "crisis" has been very effective in shifting attention away from the NSA issue.

    I'm sure the administration is very upset about that convenient side effect.

    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

    by DeadHead on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:30:47 PM PDT

    •  It's the gift that keeps on giving. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CroneWit, DeadHead, blueoasis, nota bene

      After the-shock-and-awe bombing is over, and Wolf Blizer is basking in his post-orgasmic bliss, it will still be news.  Remember, they fired 90% of their IT guys just a three weeks ago.  That's a lot of unemployed Snowdens with stories to leak to the press and no boss to report to.

  •  This should be a series. (6+ / 0-)

    Great summary with links.  Thank you.  A weekly roundup is a big undertaking but would be tremendous.

    Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

    by maxschell on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:46:40 PM PDT

  •  Excellent! I love that realization with thousands (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeadHead, Johnny Q, 3rdOption, CroneWit

    of other low-level contractors like Edward Snowden combined with the capacity to bring down entire internet networks, including the capacity to intercept military orders, we not only have moved the other nations and their citizens into "check" on this world chess board,

    but at the same time we've done it to ourselves, too. Checkmate!

    Heckuva job!

    Someone's been smokin' their lucrative government contracts so long they forgot they also could get burned.

    Fortunately, it's all out in the open and very unConstitutional and

    this Syria crisis can't blow out the smoke on something this big

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 01:46:56 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for recent NSA reporting, CharlesII (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, DeadHead, blueoasis

    It's important to keep the NSA issues in mind, and recently everybody was been in a whirlwind over Syria.  Thank you for taking the time and effort to compile and report this here for us.

  •  National Security Archives - great source! (5+ / 0-)

    Thanks for your link to the National Security Archives, CharlesII.   I just took a look and it's a wonderful resource.  The page you linked to  gives an overview of the post-Snowden revelations and their effects, with links to key documents.

    Here's a little more about the Archives --

    Founded in 1985 by journalists and scholars to check rising government secrecy, the National Security Archive combines a unique range of functions: investigative journalism center, research institute on international affairs, library and archive of declassified U.S. documents ("the world's largest nongovernmental collection" according to the Los Angeles Times), leading non-profit user of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, public interest law firm defending and expanding public access to government information, global advocate of open government, and indexer and publisher of former secrets.

    The National Security Archive has established an extraordinary track record of highly credible, award-winning investigative journalism and scholarship:


    Based at George Washington University's Gelman Library, the Archive relies for its 3 million yearly budget on publication revenues, grants individuals and grants from foundations such as the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations. The National Security Archive receives no government funding. Incorporated as an independent Washington, D.C. non-profit organization, the Archive is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt public charity.

    •  I recommend that anyone who wants to know history (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CroneWit, DeadHead, blueoasis

      I recommend that anyone who wants to know our less-stellar recent history subscribe to the NSArchive mailing list. It has published, for example, documents relating to the (US-sanctioned) Guatemalan genocide and the (probably US-sanctioned) Mexican mass killings at Tlatelolco.  

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