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November 3, 2013 7:15 PM   Subscribe

No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A.
posted by crossoverman (38 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
W. T. Snacks?
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:30 PM on November 3, 2013


Desktop version.
posted by Etrigan at 7:56 PM on November 3, 2013


I just posted this over in the other Snowden thread, but I think it's hilarious so I'm going to repost it here.

Take a look at the photo gallery in this article: The NSA is spying on Tel Aviv through the U.S. Embassy, says Israeli intelligence analyst

You'd think the NSA could afford some architectural frills on its suspicious rooftop boxes. Here's a link to the source article, which times out for me.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:05 PM on November 3, 2013


I'd be cool with the NSA if, tomorrow, they made all their findings public, like on Monday we could search it all via Google. Privacy? Fuck it. And seriously, at this point, why not? The asymmetry is growing more offensive than the original offense. The river has been crossed, and there is no turning back. What do our senators masturbate to? This should be as public a knowledge as the yellow pages. Why should they know, and we should not? Government of the people, and so on and so forth.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:55 PM on November 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Privacy? Fuck it.

How kind of you to make this decision for all of us.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:58 PM on November 3, 2013


It was already made.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:23 PM on November 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd be cool with the NSA if, tomorrow, they made all their findings public...

Really? What about the fact that vast amounts of this data is gathered illegally, unconstitutionally? I don't want the data. I would prefer the NSA shut down.
posted by greenhornet at 9:23 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


The NSA's activity and similar behavior in the private sector (e.g. Palatinir) is an inevitability borne from the nature of centralized telecommunications technology. Someone, in all cases at the moment, is at the center. Be they benevolent monarchs, or an intelligence committee, either way, an asymmetry of privacy is inevitable. The only end to it is a change of the very infrastructure we communicate digitally. But, until distributed mesh networks are really in place, there is a political alternative to naive demands that the central bodies self-regulate, and that is that they self-disclose. If everything collected had to be made public, then a lot less would be collected. The only privacy that matters to the powers are the powers'.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:32 PM on November 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


It will be interesting to see what sort of discussions we have 20 years from now when the NSA is still around, still doing exactly what they're doing now.
posted by user92371 at 10:27 PM on November 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


OK, so they're gathering all of this data to make us a lean, mean diplomatic and economic machine. Have they looked at the state of our diplomatic and economic efforts lately? Is pissing everyone off while making a lot of penny wise, pound foolish decisions part of some master strategy that I just don't get?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:44 PM on November 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Besides the poor diplomacy, the NSA's actions seem to have been taken without political oversight. There's always some chance that covert actions will be made public. Was tapping Merkel's phone really worth the political fallout? And for many of these things, once the cat is out of the bag it's out for all bags, forever. The USA might have gotten away with some of its covert actions indefinitely, but the revelation of these low-value, high-risk intrusions has put all of the NSA's activities at risk.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:02 PM on November 3, 2013


Surprising nobody: 'No clemency' for Edward Snowden - Congress committees
[Dianne Feinstein] said that if Mr Snowden had been a true whistleblower, he could have reported privately to her committee, but had chosen not to.

"We would have seen him and we would have looked at that information. That didn't happen, and now he's done this enormous disservice to our country," Senator Feinstein said in an interview on CBS television.

"I think the answer is no clemency," she said
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:09 PM on November 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Besides the poor diplomacy, the NSA's actions seem to have been taken without political oversight.

Wasn't that sort of Nixon's excuse? That he had executive privilege "to protect communications between high Government officials and those who advise and assist them"? If there is "no morsel too small" for the NSA, it would seem to me just a matter of time before it is revealed that - surprise - the NSA was and is also spying on American politicians. I'd like to see Senator Feinstein and her NSA cronies try to defend that.

My guess is that this is Snowden's get out of jail free card and if Skippy Obama doesn't come across with a presidential pardon the term NSA-gate, or Obama-gate, or whatever rhymes with Watergate will enter the vocabulary.
posted by three blind mice at 1:02 AM on November 4, 2013


Snowden initially said that he could have had anyone's phone tapped. The NSA denied this, but I think it was along the lines of "He couldn't have just listened in on anyone's calls from his desk!" The only argument I can see that US politicians haven't been deliberately surveilled is that nobody cared to do it, or nobody thought of doing it. Neither of those seem very likely.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:07 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm so very tired of listening to Feinstein and Rogers and their ilk. Yeah, a true whistleblower would have reported to the House Intelligence Committee. The same committee that itself withheld information from other members of Congress.

Given that our most powerful ally in Europe is trying to determine whether or not to label Snowden a political refugee, we (the U.S.) should just STFU about him and get back to plugging up our USB ports.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:47 AM on November 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


The only end to it is a change of the very infrastructure we communicate digitally. But, until distributed mesh networks are really in place, there is a political alternative to naive demands that the central bodies self-regulate, and that is that they self-disclose.

Advances in smartphone processing power, storage and network speed, system virtualization, distributed databases and encryption may make this a reality sooner rather than later. It will be easier and faster for everyone who uses a web service to run a digitally signed copy of the server locally as an app, and populate database updates peer-to-peer - also orders of magnitude cheaper for those running those services to offload their server infrastructure to their customers.

Things were sort of plodding this way... they will soon be sprinting along after the death of Silk Road and the Snowden Papers.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:20 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've said this before, but I really wish a Republican had been president when Snowden and Greenwald broke this story open. I honestly feel like Obama's administration has gotten a pass in the media that a Bush or McCain or a Romney wouldn't (and shouldn't) have gotten. Then we would have real societal, democratic pressure to rein this agency in. But because we don't have the media on board with the outrage against this scandal, the outrage doesn't resonate.
posted by resurrexit at 6:18 AM on November 4, 2013


...the term NSA-gate, or Obama-gate, or whatever rhymes with Watergate will enter the vocabulary.

The people most likely to try and make political hay out of this while Obama is still in office bought deeply into the "if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear" platitude when Obama was still the junior Senator from Illinois (and, in fact, largely voted to create this monster). The odds of them going after Obama over this are vanishingly small. Far easier to claim he's a gay Muslim Kenyan atheist space alien (you know, like they have been doing).
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:23 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


resurrexit: "I've said this before, but I really wish a Republican had been president when Snowden and Greenwald broke this story open. I honestly feel like Obama's administration has gotten a pass in the media that a Bush or McCain or a Romney wouldn't (and shouldn't) have gotten. Then we would have real societal, democratic pressure to rein this agency in. But because we don't have the media on board with the outrage against this scandal, the outrage doesn't resonate."

I might agree, if the press hadn't gone skipping along with the Bush Administration's war on Iraq.

The US major media are in bed with Washington, and for a variety of reasons. "Because a Dem is in office" doesn't seem to be one of them.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:58 AM on November 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Media Hype Edward Snowden’s Request for ‘Clemency’—but Did He Even Ask for It?
posted by KatlaDragon at 11:01 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bruce Schneier: Was PRISM itself a cover to launder information gathered through their dragnet infiltration of Google + Yahoo's internal networks?

Dave Lindorff: Is NSA Spying Really About Blackmail?
posted by anemone of the state at 11:03 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


resurrexit: I've said this before, but I really wish a Republican had been president when Snowden and Greenwald broke this story open. I honestly feel like Obama's administration has gotten a pass in the media that a Bush or McCain or a Romney wouldn't (and shouldn't) have gotten. Then we would have real societal, democratic pressure to rein this agency in. But because we don't have the media on board with the outrage against this scandal, the outrage doesn't resonate.

There's the rub: The media isn't giving this any less of a pass than it would have under a Republican president. The media is largely in thrall to the powerful in Washington, no matter who is in office.

What's becoming painfully clear is how the Democrats are largely as bad as the Republicans regarding these issues. Look at what Dianne Feinstein, John Kerry, or Hillary Clinton have said, not the least President "Constitutional Scholar" Obama.

It's actually good that this has happened under Obama because it erodes the base of the fake left-wing party, opening the door for real alternatives.
posted by anemone of the state at 11:15 AM on November 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


How cynical does one have to be to be ruefully amused by this image caption?
EARS ON THE WORLD The National Security Agency’s complex at Fort Gordon, Ga. Much of the agency’s eavesdropping is run from stations at home and abroad, far beyond its Maryland headquarters. GOOGLE EARTH
posted by Westringia F. at 12:22 PM on November 4, 2013


IAmBroom: I might agree, if the press hadn't gone skipping along with the Bush Administration's war on Iraq.

Agreed as to the run-up in early 2003. But the media savagely turned on him once the evidence was in; and both wars (even Afghanistan, which had virtually no dissenters in the media from 9/11 onwards) were undeniably crucial in the presidential election.

anemone of the state: What's becoming painfully clear is how the Democrats are largely as bad as the Republicans regarding these issues. Look at what Dianne Feinstein, John Kerry, or Hillary Clinton have said, not the least President "Constitutional Scholar" Obama.

Undeniably true (I love this quote). And while--sadly, from a party that more often adverts to the Constitution in its strategies--there are fewer surprises, it's been a good sorter for Republicans, too.

It's actually good that this has happened under Obama because it erodes the base of the fake left-wing party, opening the door for real alternatives.

I wonder at how much political traction we're getting on this issue in either party. So far, the 'who cares unless you're a terrorist?' line has worked for Dianne Feinsteins and Lindsey Grahams alike. But I hope you're right and the primaries start to sift some of this chaff; regardless of party, there's nothing more disgusting than having to vote for one of these people because the only alternative is the guy from the other party.
posted by resurrexit at 1:18 PM on November 4, 2013


But the media savagely turned on him once the evidence was in; and both wars (even Afghanistan, which had virtually no dissenters in the media from 9/11 onwards) were undeniably crucial in the presidential election.

Which election are you talking about? The one where the guy who started the war in Iraq won, the one where the economy was all anyone was talking about for the three months leading up to Election Day, or the one where the economy was all anyone was talking about for the four years leading up to Election Day?
posted by Etrigan at 1:37 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


At this point, domestic violence by unstable shooters and isolated losers (like the Tsarnaev brothers) seem to be more prevalent than foreign terrorism anyway. Fat lot harvesting social media data has been in preventing the former.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:52 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Haha, the second one, 2008--before September 2008, getting out of Iraq was Obama's golden ticket. The neo-conservative McCain could not legitimately offer an alternative to a position that had been made so (rightly) popular by the media. The September 2008 crash was just icing for Obama.

On another note, this is a pretty great article about bipartisan responses to the NSA story, showing how the civil liberties issue allows people to cross party lines without fear of being deemed ideologically impure.
posted by resurrexit at 3:06 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, obviously the NSA spying is partially about blackmail. How could it not be? Yeah, they must invent fake sources before executing said blackmail, but okay.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:38 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The entire "Snowden asked for clemency!" story seems really dubious. From KatlaDragon's link:

The media claim is that Snowden asked for this in a letter given to a German Green politician “on Friday.” Presumably, this is what became his “Manifesto for Truth” published by Der Spiegel. The Snowden line most quoted is: “Citizens have to fight against the suppression of information about affairs of essential importance for the public. Those who speak the truth are not committing a crime.”

...But none of the stories actually directly quote Snowden asking for clemency. Greenwald apparently believes there was no direct “clemency” bid and merely a creative interpretation. Indeed, Der Spiegel’s full report on the meeting between the German politician and Snowden makes no mention of a demand for clemency, but rather Snowden’s offer to come to Germany and offer testimony if it can be safely arranged.

posted by mediareport at 7:15 PM on November 4, 2013


before September 2008, getting out of Iraq was Obama's golden ticket. The neo-conservative McCain could not legitimately offer an alternative to a position that had been made so (rightly) popular by the media.

I would argue that it was Obama's golden ticket against Clinton rather than McCain, and the media's attitude toward Iraq was less important in the primaries, where the more ideological and less media-influenced voters are going to be turning out anyway.
posted by Etrigan at 6:01 AM on November 5, 2013


How the NSA Exposed the Media's Biggest Bias
posted by homunculus at 4:53 PM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Dianne Feinstein] said that if Mr Snowden had been a true whistleblower, he could have reported privately to her committee, but had chosen not to.

Edward Snowden: US would have buried NSA warnings forever. Whistleblower says he shared information with media because he could not trust internal reporting mechanisms
posted by homunculus at 4:59 PM on November 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Inspector General For Intelligence Community Rejects Congress' Request To Investigate The NSA
posted by homunculus at 1:21 PM on November 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Heidi Boghosian on Spying and Civil Liberties: A surveillance expert says the government and corporations are routinely watching our activities, making a mockery of our civil liberties.
posted by homunculus at 4:56 PM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Our Government Has Weaponized the Internet. Here’s How They Did It
posted by homunculus at 7:25 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


In other news: Anonymous Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison
posted by homunculus at 7:28 PM on November 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bruce Schneier has an interesting article on Defending Against Crypto Backdoors (see also his back doors tag)
posted by jeffburdges at 6:27 PM on December 3, 2013


Back Door Man
posted by homunculus at 6:45 PM on December 3, 2013


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