NSA's catch-22: we can't tell you anything, because everything we do is a secret


#1

Clayton Seymour, a Navy vet, was outraged to discover that his Freedom of Information Act request to the NSA to see his file was rejected because telling him what information they'd gathered in secret would expose their secret information-gathering techniques. Obama's 2009 Executive Order 13526 requires all government agencies to make all records public, other… READ THE REST


NSA leaks as a demographic phenomena
#2

Hoping someone comes up with, if it does not exist already, some sort of SETI-like program where like-minded folk can flood their data mining efforts with bullshit using down time on my pc.


#3

Now that is an idea I like. It would need to be encrypted and full of nonsense dolor ipsum stuff. Salt it with any crazy keywords they might be looking for.

Unfortunately, it would quickly be classified as terrorist activities and used to justify a massive budget boost.


#4

The only legitimate hope of defeating this nonsense are an army of Ed Snowdens. Don't think this hasn't already been discussed.Maybe you can talk Warren Buffet into adopting Ed.I wouldn't hold my breath.

We opposed the Viet Nam war and were eventually joined by millions,but that wasn't within a closed system like the NSA. And that took a very long time to have any effect. Ellsberg had an important role,but he was by no means a decisive turning point.This is when we still had something resembling a free press.

Public opinion cannot by definition have an effect because nothing is public(with the exception of Snowden's revelations).Fighting this will take a lot of people and a lot of passion.


#5

Natsec concerns are the new loophole. If people find natsec loopholes acceptable, then organizations like the NSA will use it as an excuse to hide information from people. Hence, the executive order is bullshit and worthless. This is news?


#6

If they told us what they are doing the resulting shitstorm would be historic.


#7

I suspect that content is kept separately from meta data, giving them deniability.


#8

See, here's what I don't understand. We know about the metadata. Hell, we also know they're wiretapping everybody, based on lots of anecdotal evidence. Email, text, Skype - they're capturing everything.

Given we already know that, what else would be reveled about their methods if they released Seymour's file? I can't imagine a hell of a lot more that could be revealed, unless maybe they've assigned two agents in a car to actually tail every American citizen. And four agents for the two agents.

Therefore, the whole "national security" rationale falls apart. The only thing left to protect is the respectability of the powers on Capitol Hill. That's a whole different kind of "national security" - the kind where questioning authority is a serious offense. Are we there yet?


#9

...We're influential guys for the D.C.C.
We can lie so perfect
And we've got a party line
to every call
It's a very short circuit-
What we do is secret -- secret!

Licensed to drill with the torch
in our lives,
Walking on shallow water
Progressed to the
point of no distinction
Dementia of a higher order-
What we do is secret -- secret!


#10

you know why in the "olden days" this didn't happen but NOW it does? know what the difference is??

back then, they had HONOR

recall: nixon "wanted" to do something similar (ya ya.. probably apples and oranges but.. "somewhat" similar) but the head of the IRS back then wouldn't do what the pres was asking

HONOR


#11

There goes the simple backup strategy of sending FOIA requests to the NSA and getting all your communications back.


#12

Godwin.


#13

come on NSA, all we are asking for is the METADATA on your spying program, nothing compromising...


#14

I think any shred of evidence that would actually confirm that they are wiretapping everybody is what they want to avoid.

We and everyone on this corner of the internet may suspect they're doing it (and have suspected for years/decades), but we also suspected everything Snowden revealed - it's still a big deal to actually know. And once the general public knows, the reaction may not be what we hope but it'll be huge.

It'll happen soon enough, but the NSA and the rest are certainly not going to help - even if they must exploit and abuse every legal loophole possible to keep things contained as best they can.


#15

At this point, I believe we have sufficient evidence to conclude that NSA secrecy is only effective against the US public.

Look at the background of Snowden. If he is typical, then the NSA has no ability to protect secrets from any government or motivated corporation. The NSA appears to have systematically eliminated all the traditional sources of loyalty.


  • The NSA could not appeal to Snowden's patriotism, because the NSA was subverting the core values of the constitution.
  • The NSA could not appeal to his desire for job security, because he had none. He was an out-sourced contract employee. He knew he would be replaced as soon as the NSA could figure out a cheaper way to do his job.
  • The NSA could not appeal to this professionalism, because he was too young, isolated, and inexperienced.
  • The NSA could not appeal to Snowden's protective instincts, because he was in a position to discern that the threat from terrorism is minimal.

The NSA appears to have based their entire claim to his loyalty on his desire for money.

Snowden and the other intelligence contractors are simply mercenaries. Their job, is first and for-most to get paid. You buy their loyalty with money. Anybody who offers a greater reward, can shift their loyalty.

Showden ultimately, found a higher bid for his loyalty than his Booz/Allen/Hamilton paycheck.

This is not rocket science. This is simply Management 101. One of the most shocking revelations has been that the NSA is so incompetent in managing the basics of loyalty. I am afraid that we will eventually find that the only thing that is unique to Snowden is that he acted publicly.

It is very likely that the 'secrets' of the NSA have already been cheaply purchased by many governments and large corporations.


#16

This metadata nonsense has to stop. GPS coordinates, email to: and from:, ip addresses, phone numbers is not metadata, it's data.

They are not collecting metadata. They are collecting data.

But more to the point, what is the major crime that we can pin on them. Going after the NSA is like going after Al Capone. Even though Capone had corrupted the judicial system, he had broken so many laws there was still something the Feds could pin on him, in his case tax evasion. There has to be a large number of laws they have violated due to the unprecedented scale of their wire tapping program.


#17

Or one federal judge.

The Privacy Act of 1974 gives the right of any citizen to sue the federal government when a violation of the act has occurred.


#18

Assuming this mythical citizen had the time and energy and financial wherewithal to attempt this,where would this suit in all likelihood end up?I'd say there's a better chance of lightning striking a few members of SCOTUS.


#19

You mean, like all of Europe? They are being bugged, tapped and surveiled, but when it was revealed publicly, they were shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that the US would do such a thing. Meanwhile, years ago, those countries invited us in and paid the NSA to perform that surveillance work. It's all a bunch of hogwash.


#20

I can't tell for sure if the following is your intent, but your wording would strongly suggest you think Snowden is getting financially compensated for his actions... but I've not seen any information suggesting anything of the sort... so I can't just let the implication stand unchallenged.