Former NSA Boss Says NSA Should Just Reveal Everything Itself And Move On

from the rip-off-that-bandaid dept

While former NSA boss Michael Hayden has been out there defending everything the NSA has been doing, another former NSA boss, Bobby Ray Inman, is taking a different approach. A couple months ago, he argued that the NSA's lies were a big mistake, and now he's gone a step further. The NY Times had a big article this weekend revealing a bunch of things about how the NSA acts based on going through a bunch of Snowden documents. There's a lot of new stuff in there, but mostly minor, targeted issues, rather than the big bombshells that have been coming out every few days.

But all the way at the very, very end, they get to a quote from Inman, suggesting a more radical way for the NSA to get ahead of these leaks: just reveal everything and move on:
Bobby R. Inman, who weathered his own turbulent period as N.S.A. director from 1977 to 1981, offers his hyper-secret former agency a radical suggestion for right now. "My advice would be to take everything you think Snowden has and get it out yourself," he said. "It would certainly be a shock to the agency. But bad news doesn't get better with age. The sooner they get it out and put it behind them, the faster they can begin to rebuild."
That's surprisingly similar to the suggestion made by Bruce Schneier a few months ago. As it stands now, the info keeps coming out anyway, and, each time, it makes the NSA look bad -- and their weak reactions and claims that people just don't understand ring very hollow. If the NSA actually got all this stuff out then there could be a real discussion. Somehow, I just don't see it happening, though.


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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 7:41am

    Just arguing limited hangout: they're not going to reveal ALL.

    It also fits with notion the whole Snowden "leak" is PR ploy to normalize this criminal spying.

    The only positive sign of reform is people are in jail for known crimes.

    This is more distraction, courtesy of Mimeograph, Me-too, Mike.

    Google. Making your life better by spying right up to the creepy limit. (tm) -- And soon as you're used to it, we get creepier!

    03:41:22[d-682-4]

     

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    Ninja (profile), Nov 4th, 2013 @ 7:43am

    My advice would be to take everything you think Snowden has and get it out yourself

    Considering the excellent oversight and tidy internal procedures and access tracking I think they'll need to release every single document.

     

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    pegr, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 7:47am

    Not gonna happen

    That approach goes against everything the agency stands for. Everything is secret, see? There is no one person within the NSA that even has a clue what all Snowden took. And then there are those taht will argue, "yeah, but what if Snowden didn't get . We'd be ratting ourselves out for no reason!"

    No, the Snowden releases are going extremely well. Just one drip after another. I can't imagine playing this better. The NSA should take a different approach, but nobody wants to volunteer responsibility for doing something different, so they are frozen in fear, waiting for the opportunity to lie, then being made fools of. No one can stop it.

    I, for one, don't have enough popcorn for this show.

     

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    pegr, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    Re: Not gonna happen

    I should preview...

    "but what if Snowden didn't get [fill in the blank]..."

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 7:51am

    "If the NSA actually got all this stuff out then there could be a real discussion."

    Wait, you actually think this proposal has anything to do with opening up a debate?

    His proposal is just for the NSA to engage in a radical form of damage control: leak everything and suffer the full impact of the leaks now and in one go, rather than go through the slow and excruciating process we have now.

    This will let the story die out a lot sooner than it would if you allow Snowden and co. to slowly bleed this stuff out and keep it in the public eye. And even if they don't leak absolutely everything, the scale of future leaks will seem minor in comparison, so future damage is also mitigated.

    But I think it is far too late for this strategy to work. This should have been done right near the beginning.

     

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    no more banksters, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 7:52am

    "Training" societies in tolerating interceptions

     

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    Ninja (profile), Nov 4th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    Re: Just arguing limited hangout: they're not going to reveal ALL.

    The only positive sign of reform is people are in jail for known crimes.

    So it means you are gonna personally jail them? Enlighten us oh wise god among gods! How are you planning to do it without raising awareness and gathering support from the population? Got a Mjölnir to smash some justice on them?

    We are waiting OH enlightened one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 7:56am

    I don't think they can release that information because it might be illegal.

     

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    ambrellite (profile), Nov 4th, 2013 @ 8:07am

    Exactly what I was thinking

    ...when he said "rebuild". Rebuild the massive domestic spying network of such dubious usefulness that puts everyone at greater risk? Why would we want to, after realizing what the NSA did in our name?

    Inman believes, as Hayden and Alexander clearly do, that the political controversy is temporary, and whatever law is passed to constrain the NSA will be ineffective, either by its own wording or the NSA's capability to secretly flout it, and there will be no real consequences for NSA officials. Having seen and experienced the results of the Church committee (creation of the secret rubber-stamping FISA court) they may well be right.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 8:09am

    Re: Just arguing limited hangout: they're not going to reveal ALL.

    Why do you keep whining, out_of_the_blue? Why do you not propose solutions? Why do you always avoid the questions? Why are you such a complete idiot at everything?

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 8:15am

    Maybe the reason the NSA does not cone clean and reveal the truth is that the NSA lies are really a cover up of what the NSA was really doing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 8:33am

    No Stories Allowed , Never Say Anything ,Not Saying Anything ,

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 4th, 2013 @ 8:39am

    Re:

    I think they'll need to release every single document.
    What, you mean like the "bury 'em in an avalanche of paper" technique favoured by lawyers? Hmm, that might work better than their current tactics come to think of it...

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 8:52am

    "If he wants to come back and open up to the responsibility of the fact that he took and stole information, he violated his oath, he disclosed classified information -- that by the way has allowed three different terrorist organizations, affiliates of al Qaeda to change the way they communicate -- I'd be happy to have that discussion with him," Rogers said on "Face the Nation."

    I read that in an article this morning. More unsubstantiated claims by Rogers.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 8:58am

    Re:

    A better option is for individual people to be allowed to request their own information. I want to know everything the NSA has relating to me. That would allow the most informed discussion.

     

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  16.  
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    Paul, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 9:05am

    A definition of NSA Transparency as it stands: We can see thru their LIES! Just close the agency. There are enough other agencies doing just about every same thing as the NSA. Then when that agency is caught lying we can start the process over again. A forever repeating cycle of abuse will continue with the power hungry criminals we have running things.

    We need thousands of Arrests, trials, convictions & jail sentences to bring this to a personal level where we can flush the garbage. Personal accountability for corrupt activities is a great way to deter the illegal actions. Why are officials like Clapper still in office rather than a holding cell awaiting their fate for their crimes against "We the People" and The American Constitution??

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 9:10am

    "NSA conducts all of its activities in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies—and assertions to the contrary do a grave disservice to the nation, its allies and partners, and the men and women who make up the National Security Agency" -NSA Bitches

    Schmidty is shocked, shocked I tell you: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-11-04/google-ceo-blasts-outrageous-illegal-domestic-nsa-spying

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 9:29am

    your being very kind Mike,

    "Ring Hollow"?

    They are epic huge Liars, they lied to the public, they lie to congress they lie to oversight they lie to everyone. They are standing there with their pants on fire, I'm not sure if their words ringing hollow covers it.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 9:47am

    Re:

    "If the NSA actually got all this stuff out then there could be a real discussion."

    Wait, you actually think this proposal has anything to do with opening up a debate?

    His proposal is just for the NSA to engage in a radical form of damage control: leak everything and suffer the full impact of the leaks now and in one go, rather than go through the slow and excruciating process we have now.


    Exactly. The proposal is not so that we can have a discussion, it's so they can take their lumps real quick, then everyone can forget about the whole thing.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    Telling the NSA to reveal everything, is like telling a lion to eat vegetables. They just don't go together at all.

     

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  21.  
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    vastrightwing, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 11:23am

    The new Hollywood

    I hope the NSA won't come clean. I enjoy hearing the leaks drop by drop. Every day a new morsel to savor. I enjoy hearing the rhetoric vacillations and duplicity coming out of the mouths of all the shills. I want to hear a new revelation every day and a new excuse as to why this is good for us and why we should enjoy this. I mean, I read where someone said there would be people annoyed that the NSA didn't spy on them. Brilliant! Turn the tables around and make the victims look like worthily targets and all the people who weren't spied on losers. Now this is great theater!

    Hollywood, are you listening? You can't write this well!

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 12:20pm

    Re:

    Who would arrest them? The police? They're only too happy to have helped them do away with rule of law. No more warrants or oversight, no more pesky regulations or technicalities. Now if a suspect says they have no right to arrest him, they can simply beat him to death, and then later find some sort of vague association that lets them claim he was a terrorist. Much easier.

     

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  23.  
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    rufus, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 12:37pm

    The big dump

    Dumping everything is what Snowden wanted to avoid, hence it was given to journalists with instructions to beat a steady drumbeat over a period of time.

    Want to annoy Snowden? Dump everything at once…

    Of course, shutting it all down would be a fun response, too.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 3:02pm

    would work would turn what the newspapers have into stale news, a public discussion with culminating with alexander getting sacked--fired in sepo speak. would let the us intellegence community get back to businness as usual.


    alexander cant put the country first, he has to put his carreer first. how did a cove like that ever get promoted general.

     

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    Postulator (profile), Nov 4th, 2013 @ 5:49pm

    A good idea

    The Snowden leaks have actually been managed impeccably. They have been released gradually, allowing the media and the public time to analyse each new revelation. They have in some cases been timed to contradict something an official said days earlier. Basically, the leakers have control. That must frustrate the NSA and its friends no end.

    They cannot just "publish the lot" though. First, I'd be surprised if they do really know everything that Mr Snowden took. Their claim to do so implies some sort of auditability that they have so far shown a total lack of.

    Publishing everything brings another problem. If Edward Snowden is a traitor for leaking NSA records, then surely the agency would likewise be treacherous if it released/declassified what he has. Worse (from the NSA's perspective) - doing so may carry the implication that Snowden was right in releasing information, and destroy any criminal case against him.

    So yes, revealing everything would be sensible as it would take control of the situation back. However, it carries with it significant pain and the NSA just won't accept that responsibility.

     

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