Congressional Staffers Told To Pretend NSA Leak Docs Don't Exist; So How Are They Supposed To Respond?

from the i-prefer-not-to-be-governed-by-the-insane dept

Last week, we thought it was ridiculous enough that the DoD (of which the NSA is a key part) had reminded all staff that they were not allowed to look at any of the leaked NSA documents, even if they came across them in the press. If they spotted any, they had to alert various security officials and delete what they saw "by holding down the SHIFT key while pressing the DELETE key for Windows-based systems and clearing of the internet browser cache." As we noted at the time, pretending these documents aren't public does not make much sense, and suggests a government agency that does not want to live in reality.

Now we can add Congress to that list as well. Senate staffers have now been told not to look at the leaked documents, and similarly that they need to "contact the Office of Senate Security for assistance" if they happened across any of the documents accidentally. Once again, this is insane because it means Congress should deny reality and pretend to live with its collective head in the sand -- which is no way to govern.

However, the much bigger deal is that if this were actually obeyed (and it's not), this would effectively hinder Congress's required duty of oversight of the NSA to prevent abuse. If the very Congress that's supposed to monitor the NSA's practices, and which has already been directly lied to by the intelligence community is now being told that it can't even look at the leaks to understand what's going on, how the hell are they supposed to do their oversight job?

Furthermore, last week, we pointed to some video of Rep. Grayson on the House floor giving an impassioned speech about the leaks... and displaying many of the leaked NSA docs blown up on an easel. If Congress isn't allowed to look at them, but Congress is also presenting them on the floor of the House and broadcasting live on C-SPAN and YouTube for the world to see... was the rest of Congress just supposed to avert its eyes while Grayson spoke? Is that a reasonable world?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    Some mighty strange 'oversight' there

    So if congress is supposed to be the ones in charge of oversight over the NSA's actions, but they can be told not to review or even look at documents showing the NSA's actual actions, rather than just what they are told about their actions... who exactly is the boss of who again?

    Last I checked if an employee is able to tell their 'boss' what they can and cannot do, that's a pretty good indication that the 'boss' is not in fact the one in charge.

     

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  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:40am

    Wow, so you're really just going to milk this NSA thing all day again? When you were getting that Ivy League education, did you think you'd end up being a chubby click-loving FUD-pumper?

     

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  3.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    'Milk'

    Inigo Montoya, if you would...

    'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.'

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:49am

    Fingers in ears

    LALALA I can't hear you.
    LALALA I can't hear you.

     

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  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:51am

    Yes, we think it's broken. No idea how to fix it.

    A generic non-response, same as Masnick on copyright, which is an old tactic of appearing concerned but not giving away true position.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Re:

    HEY! There is nothing wrong with loving chubby chicks.

    Er, clicks.

    Uh…what were we talking about, again?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    The leaked stuff must be explosive if the do not want their staffers to look at it. hey must be scared it will turn them against the senators.
    /sarc (maybe)

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Enforcement

    How can they possibly expect to be able to enforce such a ban? They would need some way to constantly monitor all of the communications being sent to and from congressional staffers, and mine that data to determine if someone has not been following the order.

    Such a task is impossible and anyone who says otherwise must be lying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Re: Yes, we think it's broken. No idea how to fix it.

    A generic admission of trolling, same as it ever was, which is an old tactic of appearing to have something worthwhile to say but not actually saying it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:54am

    Re:

    " chubby click-loving FUD-pumper?"

    That sounds like an incredibly complex sexual act.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re:

    No one can get into that position, it’s impossible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 9:57am

    Re:

    Your tears taste so much better than milk.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Maybe

    A campaign is needed where people en masse email their Congressmen and Senators and attach the freely available leaked documents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:04am

    My demands

    1) I want a complete list of all federal agencies that have records of any of the following past or present information of mine:
    Name,
    address,
    ip addresses,
    phone #s,
    drivers license #,
    ssn,
    photo,
    fingerprints,
    any other information that can be tied to me.
    The list should include the types of information retained and the reasons that is stored.


    2) If there are any agencies in that list beyond the IRS, Census Bureau, and the SSA, I want that information immediately deleted.

    (The only exception is if I'm being investigated for a federal crime. In which case, if I'm not brought before a federal judge and charged within 6 months, all such information should be deleted.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:19am

    Re: Yes, we think it's broken. No idea how to fix it.

    Y-A-W-N.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:23am

    Re: My demands

    I want to add to the list:
    IMEIs
    usernames / user ids
    passwords

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:31am

    Re: Enforcement

    For anyone still naive enough to believe the NSA is not reading our emails:

    Americans Sent Over a Hundred Million Father’s Day Messages, Says N.S.A.
    -
    The N.S.A. director added that the agency had not foiled any terror plots over the weekend but did uncover between thirty and forty thousand extramarital relationships. Yeah...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:38am

    Re: My demands

    Write a map-reduce function.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    sorrykb (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Yes, we think it's broken. No idea how to fix it.

    S. T. Stone wrote:
    ...an old tactic of appearing to have something worthwhile to say but not actually saying it.

    I'm not sure about that. I don't think that first criterion was meant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:50am

    Re:

    Every other comment you make is about milk or milking, what is your obsession with milk? Do you have some kind of fetish of something?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Enforcement

    That is a Borowitz Report story. It is satire.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I pulled it off last week.

    Oh wait, that was a fudge-pumping. Never mind.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 11:09am

    Re: Re: Enforcement

    That was a satire at the New Yorker. Made me remember the David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell scandal. On that note:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/concoughlin/100221016/david-petraeus-is-back-with-a-warni ng-the-war-on-terror-is-far-from-over/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, they're milking Mike the Milker pretty hard. Isn't milk supposed to be good for you? You know who else drinks milk? Babies! And adults! You know who doesn't drink milk? Probably terrorists and other lawbreakers like pirates.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Glenn Quagmire, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re:

    Fat chicks need love too, they just gotta pay

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I bet Hitler was lactose intolorent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Harlan Quinn, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 11:55am

    One bit of security that the NSA has provided us is that we now have fewer freedoms for the terrorists to hate.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:05pm

    You have to pretend our lies are truth!

    Nevermind that the evidence suggests that we're lying, it's not evidence we supplied, so you can't base any of your beliefs on it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:06pm

    Re: You have to pretend our lies are truth!

    If I'm ever accused of a crime, I'm gonna use this defense: "You must pretend any statements that aren't my own don't exist - cuz terrorism!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:29pm

    Please, do not forget to use your built in UNSEE command in the EDIT menu.

    Ahem.

     

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  31.  
    icon
    jameshogg (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 12:37pm

    Stupid dumbasses.

    This is beyond hysterical. It will not work.

    Everyone knows that implementing the six-strikes policy on citizens is the best way of preventing them from ever getting their hands on unauthorised material.

    I mean for goodness sake. Does NOBODY know that installing DRM on everything is a proven method of stopping traitors, in this case NSA staff, from engaging in any kind of spying? Now do not get me wrong. It is not like you need to do tons of cross-referencing after you have built a giant database of copyrighted data or anything.

    That would be silly. INSTEAD, you need to wait until a website like MegaUpload builds it up for you and steal that. It saves you a lot of legal hassle.

    Just look at how well Xbox One is doing. All this media coverage, all this hate, and still NOBODY has been able to pirate a game yet! THAT is DRM in action, folks! Oh, I also heard that Microsoft have installed software on their Kinect systems to automatically blur out any other monitor in the room in case it is playing copyrighted material. See? Even MICROSOFT will not take the opportunity to pirate! That is how serious they are! The system can work! So take THAT, Gmail! Attachments promote piracy - never forget.

    So there you go. I am now going to read Dragonball Z on my lovely JManga app. I just bought the whole series a few days ago for just £100! Fucking bargain! This app brings my childhood back to life. Almost as if the Dragonballs wished it back, eh? Aww... last episode was SO funny. Dendee had made the wish to transport everyone on the planet Namek to the planet Earth except for Goku and Frieza, and as everyone on Namek is teleporting, Vegeta who had just been brought back to life flies over to a startled Frieza who cannot believe Vegeta is alive. "You must be a ghost!", claims Frieza. And Vegeta replies,

    "Can a ghost do THIS, FRIEZA?!"

    But before he can charge his energy ball to attack Frieza, he JUST TELEPORTS AND DISAPPEARS INTO THIN AIR! LOL!

    I love irony.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:07pm

    Since I am a target, it is not an exaggeration when William Binney said they can watch ideas FORM INSIDE YOUR HEAD. These documents and revelations are a very small part of a very sophisticated machine. It was a planned leak. Whether Snowden was an actual leaker or someones patsy/actor I don't know. Any little bit that makes the public more aware is a good idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    TaCktiX, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:13pm

    Re:

    Where's that sad but true button!?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Yes, we think it's broken. No idea how to fix it.

    Your comment is nonsensical and a waste of electricity just to display it on my monitor. If you cannot form a cogent argument and give supporting evidence, then you are little more than a troll. Please, go away.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 2:38pm

    Re:

    Another trollish comment from someone who wants us to put our heads in the sand, just like Congress. Why are you so interested in deflecting our interest in our government trying to avoid its responsibilities to the people?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    BearGriz72 (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Goodwin'd

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 4:14am

    Re:

    No X Box One games have been pirated because there are none in wide circulation. To maintain that level of security is unprofitable at the least.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 11:54am

    Re: My demands

    Be careful.

    At some point, it will be easier for them to delete you than all of your data.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Just me, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 1:12pm

    Putting their heads in the sand

    I don't think that part of your body is called 'sand'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jun 18th, 2013 @ 1:40pm

    Re: My demands

    If there are any agencies in that list beyond the IRS, Census Bureau, and the SSA, I want that information immediately deleted.

    I hope they remember to hold down SHIFT when they delete.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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