More Confirmation: NSA Analysts Willfully Abused Surveillance Powers

from the another-day,-another-claim-falls dept

On Monday, we pointed out that (1) it was ridiculous for NSA defenders to argue that the thousands of violations were no problem because they weren't "willful" and (2) that there was an admission by the NSA that there had been "a couple" of willful violations by NSA staff in the past few years. Five days later, Bloomberg appears to have discovered the same quotes we saw on Monday, noting that there had been willful violations:
Some National Security Agency analysts deliberately ignored restrictions on their authority to spy on Americans multiple times in the past decade, contradicting Obama administration officials’ and lawmakers’ statements that no willful violations occurred.

“Over the past decade, very rare instances of willful violations of NSA’s authorities have been found,” the NSA said in a statement to Bloomberg News. “NSA takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, and cooperates fully with any investigations -- responding as appropriate. NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities.”
As far as I can tell, this is the identical quote that we saw from John DeLong of the NSA on Monday. Either way, it's good that the press is finally realizing that, yes, the NSA has admitted to multiple willful violations.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    blaktron (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 12:37pm

    The quote is identical, and its a logical fallacy to deliberately setup a system that has the capability to outpace its requirements, and then claim that any outpacing the requirements was an accident. Just because the ANALYST was not 'willfully breaking the law', his managers were when they gave him access to do so. Thats how delegated privilege works.

     

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    AndrewLee, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    “NSA takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, and cooperates fully with any investigations -- responding as appropriate. NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities.”

    Let me guess, the punishment is a 30 day paid "vacation" suspension.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 12:47pm

    Again we see the paradigm of a liar. Every lie requires another to cover the first. At some point it all falls apart when it is discovered the liars can't keep track of their past lies.

    I think we've already gotten enough clues that this is totally unlawful and illegal of the intents and purposes of what the US claims it stands for. It has been busted in the act.

    The question now becomes how will this be handled? In the process will those that willfully violated laws and regulations and ignored reporting requirements be faced with actual penalties or will they go the path of all these other incidents where only the whistle blower gets punished? How it is handled will tell me a lot.

    I am at this point of the belief that Obama is in this right up to his pointy little ears and if so, a full independent investigation is called for and depending on what is revealed, an impeachment process initiated.

    Incidentally I read last night where some talking head was discussing impeachment on the public media saying there was no cause. The idea that it came up at all, means that there are others calling for this behind the scenes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 12:49pm

    naturally!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 12:53pm

    does this mean...

    Joe biden will soon be sworn in? Lol you can't win with these fuckers.

     

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  6.  
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    Ben (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 1:12pm

    Investigations?

    He said:
    NSA takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, and cooperates fully with any investigations ...
    Haven't we already found that there are no investigations of secret programs? So "any investigation" is accurate since there have been, apparently, no investigations.

     

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  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 1:17pm

    And yet goes on without pause!

    I'll try this "limited hangout" analysis yet again, as at least "FM Hilton" and "Rikuo" seem unable to grasp that NSA may have actually wanted the Snowden "leak":

    1) Nothing new revealed since Klein, Binney, others; some Powerpoint slides is all that's visible.
    2) As Naomi Wolf said in June: "why have a giant Big Brother apparatus spying on us at all times — unless we know about it?" -- And now even dolts do, or should.
    3) Only given to specific gatekeepers who are dribbling it out (IF there's any huge trove) for their own purposes.
    4) A big hoopla in media to foster the illusion that there is opposition and some hope for change;
    5) but beyond a few "noises" (Mike's term) from Congress, nothing has changed.
    6) IF Snowden had a trove that would gravely damage US intelligence, then he'd have been snatched -- or with the "deadman" switch, far easier to kill him and trigger it.
    7) The calls from the usual fascists for MORE surveillance should alarm anyone with sense: public opinion could easily tip to FOR the NSA.
    8) The US/UK cooperation over the Miranda flap is more revealing than I've seen stated: it's manifest that there's more than shared interests, it's visibly one organization.
    9) The endless stories about minor aspects of the crimes just wearies the public
    10) And now Snowden is having to claim that he hasn't given some info to whoever: at best the whole flap is being subverted and turn to intelligence agency ends.

    11) Oh, and the collaborating corporations: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft -- they're all forgotten despite Snowden saying NSA has "direct access" to their servers.

     

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  8.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 1:47pm

    Re:

    Nah, they just give them a stern warning to not get caught again.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 2:23pm

    "Very Rare"

    I wonder how often "very rare" is for 20 million queries per month for a decade.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 2:57pm

    Re: And yet goes on without pause!

    Agreed. Soon as i see some dirt on is ra el (conspicuosly missing in all this) ill start to believe snowdens "leaks" are not planned all along.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 3:25pm

    it will be even better when the UK starts admitting what it has been/is doing just so it can carry on in the footsteps of the USG, screwing as many people as possible on the way, but still denying any wrong doing and crying out that it was all in order to stop terrorism! what absolute bollocks!!

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 3:55pm

    Isn't the sharing of surveillance with other govt agencies 'willful'?

    Or is this sharing another series of typos? How is evading tax or selling drugs 'terrorism'? Or trying to frame Kim Dotcom for copyright 'violations' with data from surveillance.

    They commit 'willful violations of NSA’s authorities' on an on-going basis.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 6:15pm

    Re: And yet goes on without pause!

    1) Nothing new revealed since Klein, Binney, others; some Powerpoint slides is all that's visible.

    False. Many of the Snowden leaks have revealed quite a bit, including details of PRISM, the nature of the metadata collection program, the secret interpretation of Section 215, the direct abuses of the system, and the reason behind the FISC smackdown. None of that was known before.

    2) As Naomi Wolf said in June: "why have a giant Big Brother apparatus spying on us at all times — unless we know about it?" -- And now even dolts do, or should.

    That makes no sense. Easy ways to reveal that without it being through this leak.

    3) Only given to specific gatekeepers who are dribbling it out (IF there's any huge trove) for their own purposes.

    Meaning what?

    4) A big hoopla in media to foster the illusion that there is opposition and some hope for change;


    If you haven't noticed, Congress is fucking pissed about this. Things will change.

    5) but beyond a few "noises" (Mike's term) from Congress, nothing has changed.


    Wait and see...

    6) IF Snowden had a trove that would gravely damage US intelligence, then he'd have been snatched -- or with the "deadman" switch, far easier to kill him and trigger it.


    You assume he's clueless. That seems unlikely.

    7) The calls from the usual fascists for MORE surveillance should alarm anyone with sense: public opinion could easily tip to FOR the NSA.

    None of those calls seem to be getting any traction, unlike the calls to limit the surveillance. If this is the game they're playing, they're about to get fucked.

    8) The US/UK cooperation over the Miranda flap is more revealing than I've seen stated: it's manifest that there's more than shared interests, it's visibly one organization.

    Yes, so?

    9) The endless stories about minor aspects of the crimes just wearies the public


    Public opinion polls show something entirely different. The anger at these programs has been growing, not waning.

    10) And now Snowden is having to claim that he hasn't given some info to whoever: at best the whole flap is being subverted and turn to intelligence agency ends.

    Huh? Did you even read the details or are you just trying to fit a headline you didn't understand into your narrative?

    11) Oh, and the collaborating corporations: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft -- they're all forgotten despite Snowden saying NSA has "direct access" to their servers.

    Oh right, your blind obsession with something that you misread once, because you hate tech companies.

    OOTB, you really are not very smart.

     

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  14.  
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    Postulator (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 8:28pm

    Is "very rare" based on absolute numbers, or proportion? It may mean thousands out of millions of searches were in violation of law and/or policy. It may mean that "we conducted some very rare breaches in order to get dirt on key politicians".

    Context is everything.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 8:56pm

    Re: Re: And yet goes on without pause!

    I think he's onto something. Its all about fear. Shit we've all known and assumed this shit for years. Duh al keyda has for longer and took precautions long before we even considered the possibility. And we havnt seen abything we didn't assume already. Leaks lol yeah uh huh.

     

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  16.  
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    MtVernonCannabisFarms, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 9:01pm

    don't look now but......

    the ENTIRE program was a 'willful' violation until FISA approved it .

    Salt Lake City was total comint during the olympics , in violation of federal law .

    the New Zealand Kim DotCom episode revealed '5 eyes targeting'

    these databases are being hammered 240 million queries a year

     

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  17.  
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    MtVernonCannabisFarms, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 9:19pm

    ps. selectors take the form of paypal@wikileaks.com

     

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  18.  
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    horse with no name, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 3:37am

    jumping up and down

    I see a lot of jumping up and down here, but not very much actual "content". Basically, you could replace NSA with "New York City Police" and find as many bad warrants or poorly written jaywalking tickets. To suggest that their systems would not get abused by individuals is to deny that the people working there are human and fallible.

    What is lacking in all of this bluster is a true show of systematic, routine, day in day out, authorizes from the top sorts of abuses that would make this really be big. For the moment, it's just not adding up to all the bluster this site and a few others seem to be applying to the situation.

    (oh, and yes, this post will be censored and left to rot for 24 to 48 hours before getting posted - thanks to the fine Techdirt censorship department)

     

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  19.  
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    gamesmith94134 (profile), Aug 24th, 2013 @ 5:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: And yet goes on without pause!

    Gamesmith94134: NSA say some Analysts willfully violated Spying Authority
    You are right of the less harm if they were Chinese Government; if they were no secrecy like Lavabit and Silentcircle. However, such tactics was applied to secure the regime in the monopolization of controls of all information and citizens; then no one will know what they do, just like Orwell's 1984. The proliferation of the monopoly on information put fear in Mr. Snowden that he must fled to avoid being harm even he must cleanse himself by leaking the program. But, what is the program or plot---"Just do it"? Why is Mr. Snowden making the Faustian exchange to Mr. Putin after Mr. Xi? Or, did he realize that he had cracked Mr. Agnew's or some else safe?

    US media did not reveal the sensible plot to the public yet even if they knew them; and we did not know what happened to Bengahzi but Mrs. Clinton is limited to security of State Department. Are we in the city of Grotham? And why would Muslim or other hate American so much? Inasmuch, through the electronic surveillance, did American successfully tattoo the forearm of all the Al Qaeda’ members electronically just like the Jews with the yellow star? Auschwitz for Al Qaeda is becoming of the
    Final Solution from NSA or US.
    "We get all these allegations of what [NSA staff] could be doing," Alexander said. "But when people check what the NSA is doing, they've found zero times that's happened. And that's no bulls—t. Those are the facts."

    Now, I am studying the timeline on WWII and holocaust and I am open for debate on “believe it or not”.

     

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  20.  
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    BernardoVerda (profile), Aug 24th, 2013 @ 5:58pm

    Next revelation:

    NSA employees spied on their lovers using eavesdropping programme
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10263880/NSA-employees-spied-on-their-l overs-using-eavesdropping-programme.html

    It just keeps getting worse, and the denials of impropriety and claims of scrupulous oversight are getting ever more laughable.

    If this was a television drama series, it would would have been dumped in less than a season, as it would have been just too implausible to sustain the audience's "suspension of disbelief". (That's no longer true, of course).

    It might, however, have made for a great sit-com...

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2013 @ 8:49pm

    Re: jumping up and down

    I see a lot of jumping up and down here, but not very much actual "content". Basically, you could replace NSA with "New York City Police" and find as many bad warrants or poorly written jaywalking tickets.

    Except that the NYPD can't do a search on all your emails and phone calls. Pretty big difference between having that data to go through and issuing a bad targeted warrant.

    Also, NYC doesn't do jaywalking tickets. Rudy tried once and it was laughed out of court and that was the end of that.

     

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