NSA Funding Bill Passed By Senate Intelligence Community Gives Agency Extra Cash To Hunt 'Insider Threats'

from the because-you-can't-be-'protected'-unless-you're-discovered,-amiri dept

An earlier attempt to defund NSA programs via amendments to the Defense Dept. appropriations bill went nowhere (but by a much narrower margin than many expected), and now it's up to both the House and Senate to push bills through reauthorizing the NSA's budget.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has already given its thumbs up to NSA spending, advancing a bill that contains a little something extra for its favorite agency.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has advanced legislation to reauthorize funding for the National Security Agency and surveillance programs.

The bill includes new funding for technology to combat "insider threats" and leaks of classified information.

The committee approved the legislation in a 13-2 vote late Tuesday.
The NSA's budget is currently $10.2 billion (which we know thanks to leaked documents). This additional funding will be earmarked for barn door closing and witch hunting.
The bill would empower the director of national intelligence to make improvements to the government's process for investigating people with security clearances, such as Snowden.
The phrase, "throwing good money after bad" comes to mind. An intelligence agency of this size and reach should have been prepared for this eventuality and maybe, just maybe, shouldn't have been so willing to outsource everything from system administration to the background checks themselves. Giving the NSA more money in order to help it guard against an eventuality like Snowden's massive disclosures is basically rewarding it for running a leaky ship.

The bad news is that the government doesn't know how to approach the "insider threat" issue. Any nuance is obliterated by a horrible combination of bureaucracy and paranoia, which results in the government suggesting that an employee's "dissatisfaction with US policies" or financial problems indicate he or she is a possible "insider threat."

According to the press release issued by the committee, the bill will also include some sort of protection for whistleblowers provided, of course, they go through official channels.
[Institutes] new statutory protections that protect the ability of legitimate whistleblowers to bring concerns directly to the attention of lawmakers, inspectors general and intelligence community leaders
That's the press release wording, so we'll have to wait until the text of the bill is made public before we'll be able to judge the merits of this claim. The administration has talked a strong game about transparency but has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other administrations combined. Requiring whistleblowers to go through official channels in order to be afforded any legal protections just makes it that much more difficult for any true whistleblowing to occur. Official channels are in place to discourage whistleblowing rather than accommodate it, no matter what assurances might be included in the legislation. Besides, any bill that aims at both rooting out "insider threats" (many of whom may just be whistleblowers) and protecting whistleblowers is at odds with itself.

The bill passed 13-2 out of committee. Even without a roll call of those votes, it's safe to assume the nays came from Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, which should be an indicator of the bill's indulgence of the NSA's desires and the presumably weak whistleblower protections that accompany it.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Guardian, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 3:34pm

    obligatory FUCK USA post

    screw your nation, its people, its way a thought and its govt agencies....
    the rest of the 6.6 billion on earth think your sick in the head and cause your pwned by these sickos you are sick too....cause you dont fight for or stand for freedom you stand for the very things hitler did.

    only hting you aint doing( YET ) is stuffing someone into an oven.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 3:46pm

    " Senate Intelligence Community"

    LOL.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 3:46pm

    Calling all Republicans

    Quench your thirst and use your budget-blocking expertise to stop this budget from being passed until it's been chopped down to size. Or is cutting useless, super wasteful programs that exemplify governmental overreach not your thing?

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 4:02pm

    Re: obligatory FUCK USA post

    Nah we just send robots with missles to do the indiscriminate killings for us...

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Nov 6th, 2013 @ 4:03pm

    Just in case anyone forgot:

    The following comment, made by an AC on an older article, lists several examples of just what happens to those that go through 'official channels' for this sort of thing:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130725/16280123948/government-argues-bradley-manning-was-an archist-as-case-closes.shtml#c450

    (Here's a hint: It doesn't go well for them)

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 4:18pm

    oh great Mike Rogers will be waiting for leakers information. Well that solves that.

    Its almost like "put the suggestion in my suggestion box" *holds up garbage can*

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    CK20XX (profile), Nov 6th, 2013 @ 4:23pm

    Breeding insider threats

    It seems to me that labeling people as insider threats just because they're trying to make ends meet or are critical of US policies is a good way to turn them into actual insider threats. You see the same principle at work with internet file sharing. Legit customers look at groups like the RIAA and MPAA and think, "If you're so certain that I'm a thief, then perhaps I might as well become one."

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Calling all Republicans

    Nah, it is only waste if it is remotely attempting to help anyone. If it is trying to harm anyone it is essential and must be expanded.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    I'm full of shit, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 4:33pm

    things will get better. if you don't believe me then just look at my name, it doesn't lie...

     

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

  10.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 6th, 2013 @ 4:37pm

    Come on, US, your country is trillions in debt and that is down, in no small part, to a defense budget that is out of control.

    Wake up or you will soon be staring down the barrel at bankruptcy.

     

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

  11.  
    icon
    Slinky (profile), Nov 6th, 2013 @ 4:43pm

    Nothing changes..

    The bill includes new funding for technology to combat "insider threats" and leaks of classified information.

    This only shows that nothing is going to change about the way the NSA is doing their surveillance. They are going to 'plug the holes' and continue to do their business the way they have been doing it over the past decade - including hacking into/monitoring and snooping on foreign officials and politicians.

    What a 'sympathetic' way to make good friends.. As a foreigner I am utterly disgusted and so very dissappointed over this. Apparantly the order of the day is, letīs pretend weīre friends, so we can hack you and totally 0wn your privacy. But hey letīs just thank our 'new friends' for their services. Thanks to the NSA, I no longer need to find a cloud storage solution! They already have it backed up in some shitty datacenter somewhere in the desert.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 5:03pm

    wake up world!

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    KingofDarkness, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 5:58pm

    The problem...

    ...is the mindset gleaned from the press release.

    "protect the ability of legitimate whistleblowers..."

    Why not just say whistleblowers?

    To be sure that everyone knows who gets to define "whistleblowers."

    All those damn illegitimate whistleblowers giving information to those illegitimate journalists!

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 6:06pm

    The committee has therefore proven their total lack of intelligence.

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    techdirt_user (profile), Nov 6th, 2013 @ 7:25pm

    U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee

    Members of the committee:

    Dianne Feinstein, California
    Saxby Chambliss, Georgia
    John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia
    Richard Burr, North Carolina
    Ron Wyden, Oregon
    James Risch, Idaho
    Barbara Mikulski, Maryland
    Daniel Coats, Indiana
    Mark Udall, Colorado
    Marco Rubio, Florida
    Mark Warner, Virginia
    Susan Collins, Maine
    Martin Heinrich, New Mexico
    Tom Coburn, Oklahoma
    Angus King, Maine

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2013 @ 11:17pm

    This pisses me off. Why hasn't the Senate Intelligence Committee been overhauled yet?

     

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

  17.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 2:07am

    Extinguish the NSA and you have 10 billion dollars spare to pay your debt. And you'll still have the CIA to do the espionage job.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 4:20am

    What comes to mind...

    A child who has been given really nice things but doesn't take care of them and immediately cries for more instead of learning to be responsible. They have a $10 billion budget that they have misused and that misuse has resulted in the destruction of a significant part of what they have spent that budget building. Now they not only want to keep this budget and all these programs but they want to increase the budget to "fix" them? That is not how you deal with children like this. When children prove that they won't be responsible enough to take care of their things, you don't give them more. You take them away.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 5:43am

    Re: Calling all Republicans

    Ask Mike Rogers.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 5:45am

    Re:

    That needs to happen. It's the only way to stop it. Then the multinational corporations behind it all will go away and look for someone else to prey on.

    Can we at least dream it?

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 6:50am

    The bill would empower the director of national intelligence to make improvements to the government's process for investigating people with security clearances, such as Snowden.

    It just goes to show, they always conduct the investigations after the fact.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous annoyed congress hating coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:02am

    So will other congress critters pass this?

    Of course there will be a lot of noise from congress about how bad the NSA is. But, I'll bet $0.02 that after weeks of haggling/arguing/fillibustering the scum in DC passes it.

     

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

  23.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re:

    Then the multinational corporations behind it all will go away


    Your optimism is cute. The multinationals would be more interested in staying in a place where resources and labor can be had for nearly nothing.

     

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


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