Just Weeks Ago, Keith Alexander Said Review Of NSA Found Not A Single Violation; Reality: Thousands Of Violations

from the lying-will-get-you-nowhere dept

It's been clear that various defenders of the NSA program have been lying, but given yesterday's revelations, now we can show just how much and how explicitly they were lying. It was just a couple weeks ago at the Black Hat conference that Keith Alexander told an audience that a review of NSA activities showed no violations at all:
Congress did a review of this program over a four-year period, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. And over that four-year period, they found no willful or knowledgeable violations of the law or the intent of the law in this program.

More specifically, they found no one at NSA had ever gone outside the boundaries of what we’ve been given. That’s the fact. What you’re hearing, what you’re seeing, what people are saying is, well, they could. The fact is they don’t. And if they did, our auditing tools would detect them, and they would be held accountable.
Note the hedge in the first paragraph, that they found "no willful or knowledgeable violations." And, indeed, the Inspector General's report revealed last night notes that most of the violations they found were accidental. But, the line between "accidental" and "intentional but covered up by claiming it was an accident" is a somewhat fuzzy line. If you're an NSA analyst who wants to spy on someone, given how the agency treats "accidental" searches as no big deal, it appears that all you have to do is figure out a way to write a query that you can then claim accidentally, or "incidentally" just happened to collect the information you were looking for. "Oops."

Either way, even with those caveats in the first paragraph, in the second paragraph Alexander makes claims without such caveats. There he argues that "no one at NSA had ever gone outside the boundaries of what we've been given. That's a fact." Actually, that's a lie. As the report showed quite clearly, there are thousands of incidents in which they went outside the boundaries. That they were "accidental" or "incidental" doesn't change that fact.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 12:38pm

    given what absolute liars these various security heads are, did anyone expect an honest answer from any of them? i suppose it must have been a main requirement at the job interview

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 12:42pm

    Rapid lying

    Can all of these "from-the-they're-lying-their-asses-off" dept stories be condenced into one story towards the end of the day? I feel like I'm being spammed.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 1:01pm

      Re: Rapid lying

      Sorry, I'm responding to my own comment, but had a further thought.

      If we can believe snowden when he said truth was coming, then we can expect countless "they're were lying" articles. Sites like this where stories get "burried" as new ones come out gives certain characters incentive to get their names bumped down to page two. That could be good, as they compete not to have their names up front. I recant. my last post.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        LivingInNavarre (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 1:33pm

        Re: Re: Rapid lying

        With how many storied TD has run about the NSA lately I'm suprised they haven't started a whole new site devoted just to the NSA.

        I'd bookmark NSA-Dirt!

         

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

  •  
    icon
    ArkieGuy (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    Of course if HIS definition of the boundaries INCLUDE "accidental" or "incidental" disclosures, he's technically still telling the "truth"... well, sort of.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 1:08pm

    You asked if we can all now admit that Snowden is in fact a whistleblower. Can we also all admit now that Alexander and Clapper both belong in jail?

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 1:09pm

    Why is the director of the NSA quoting a Congressional review of the NSA to tell us what's going on there. It's like asking a kid how many cookies he stole from the cookie jar, and have him answer, "None, ... as far as Dad knows."

    Perhaps his answer reveals that Congress wasn't notified of these abuses. Or perhaps even worse, maybe when he says, "no one at NSA had ever gone outside the boundaries of what we’ve been given.", he really indicating that there isn't much in the way of boundaries.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 1:22pm

      Re:

      Since when has there EVER been "much in the way of boundaries" with regards to ANYTHING the NSA has ever done?

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Duke (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 1:25pm

      Re:

      Why is the director of the NSA quoting a Congressional review of the NSA to tell us what's going on there.
      So he can say what he did without lying. He didn't say that "no one at NSA had ever gone outside the boundaries" he said that "[Congress] found no one had ever gone outside the boundaries", which is a completely different statement.

      The latest report that exposed all of these violations was an internal NSA report, rather than the Congressional one. The latter somehow missed all of these abuses, demonstrating how meaningless their system of congressional oversight is.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 1:34pm

        Re: Re:

        So what your saying is that the NSA did an internal report and found tons of violations that they purposely withheld from Congress so that the violations wouldn't show up in the Congressional one and then instead of referring to what they actually knew from their own investigation when speaking to the public, they parrot the Congressional report that they knew was inaccurate because of the withheld information. Yeah, that's makes technically not lying SO much better.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          weknowwhereyouareandwhatyouredoing, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 2:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No they released the mistake telling congress that , we heard your conversations and if you want them public ..fine here's what we're willing to offer .. how about all your records or contents of your calls .

           

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 1:21pm

    Other than taking their words for future record checks, why is anyone paying any attention to what these two with a vested interest in coverup and lying are saying? When does enough records showing they are activity lying with the knowledge that they are doing such become enough?

    It has already been established that these two can simply not be believed along with their boss, Obama. None of them have any intention now or in the future of ever telling the truth. All three have had their creditability run through the mud by the lies they have been caught in to date. At this point there should be a statement added as a comment to every public proclamation they make that these are known twisters of the truth and can never be believed.

    The eventual outcome of straightening this out will at this stage require an outside independent investigator designated by congress. Already too many inconsistencies showing the real intents of these three are on record for all to see. Enough of the fancy footwork that makes a stumble bum look like a ballerina in comparison.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 1:27pm

      Re:

      "When does enough records showing they are activity lying with the knowledge that they are doing such become enough?"

      I'll answer that. When the evidence builds to the point that it outrages enough people that public demands that they be arrested and held accountable for their actions. Then and only then will it be enough.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    Accountability - we have none.

    Go ahead and lie over and over again to Congress without punishment. If that were any of us, we'd be sitting in a federal prison by now.

    Clearly, this government is out of control.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    TheLastCzarnian (profile), Aug 16th, 2013 @ 2:18pm

    President Joe?

    This is getting pretty bad. I wonder if Joey Biden has started prepping his Presidential acceptance speech? You know, the one he gives after Obama is impeached and needs to be pardoned.
    Of course, something a little more serious will have to come to light. Bold-faced lying seems to be expected.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Sporky, Aug 16th, 2013 @ 7:13pm

    And remember, this number of violations only represents the "Ft. Meade headquarters and nearby facilities", but if other areas were included "they would not double", meaning, of course, they would triple, quadruple, quintuple, etc..

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 1:56am

    Welp, Alexander just lost all credibility with me.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Gary Malcolm, Aug 17th, 2013 @ 9:21am

    How Many queries

    On NPR yesterday the NSA spokesperson claimed that 2700 violations on between 20 Million and 1 Billion queries in 2012 was a very small number. All I could think was 20 MILLION QUERIES!!!! What the hell are they doing?

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This