NSA Complained It Wasn't Able To Spy Enough; Sought To Broaden Its Power

from the no,-seriously dept

Late on Friday, the NY Times reported on more from the Ed Snowden documents, highlighting how the NSA was whining internally that it didn't have enough power, and outlining how it planned to get even more. Because, apparently, spying on nearly everyone just wasn't enough. No, the NSA was fairly explicit in wanting to get rid of the "nearly" qualifier in that last sentence. Its goal was to be able to spy on "anyone, anytime, anywhere" and it didn't want anything like pesky little "laws" or "civil liberties" to get in the way of that goal.
Written as an agency mission statement with broad goals, the five-page document said that existing American laws were not adequate to meet the needs of the N.S.A. to conduct broad surveillance in what it cited as “the golden age of Sigint,” or signals intelligence. “The interpretation and guidelines for applying our authorities, and in some cases the authorities themselves, have not kept pace with the complexity of the technology and target environments, or the operational expectations levied on N.S.A.’s mission,” the document concluded.

Using sweeping language, the paper also outlined some of the agency’s other ambitions. They included defeating the cybersecurity practices of adversaries in order to acquire the data the agency needs from “anyone, anytime, anywhere.” The agency also said it would try to decrypt or bypass codes that keep communications secret by influencing “the global commercial encryption market through commercial relationships,” human spies and intelligence partners in other countries. It also talked of the need to “revolutionize” analysis of its vast collections of data to “radically increase operational impact.”
Once again, we see that the claims from the NSA that it's concerned about "protecting" people from "cybersecurity" issues are completely bogus. The goal is and has always been to weaken cybersecurity wherever possible. There's much more in the article about the NSA's plans and capabilities, but those two paragraphs above seem to make the key points: the NSA has a ton of power and is constantly scheming to get more, even if laws are currently blocking that ability. Furthermore, it wants to make us all less safe in its efforts to reach that goal.


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  1.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 4:08am

    It also talked of the need to “revolutionize” analysis of its vast collections of data to “radically increase operational impact.”

    So even the NSA admits(privately of course) that there's simply too much data being scooped up for them to handle and put to use, and yet they still want even more, apparently based upon the belief that while it's useless(or worse than useless) now, at some point in the future they'll develop some trick or program that's actually capable of managing that much data and getting useful results from it.

    Has anyone considered signing the people in charge of this agency up for addiction rehab/counseling? They really seem to be showing all the signs of a massive power/data addiction, with their 'I don't care if it's not useful or dangerous, I just want more of it!' thinking.

     

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  2.  
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    Gothenem (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 4:40am

    I believe this is the very first admission from the NSA that they actually want to spy on EVERYONE. ALL THE TIME. Up till this leak, they keep saying they are not looking at everyone.

     

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  3.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 5:05am

    I wonder...

    How are Obama, Boehner, Bachmann, Feinstein and Mike R. going to spin this one?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 6:11am

    Re:

    When will congress and the white house realize that "anyone, anytime, anywhere" includes them?

     

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  5.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 6:14am

    Re: Re:

    What makes you think they haven't?

     

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  6.  
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    ve3oat, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 6:25am

    "NSA"?

    Sounds like NSA should be rebranded as the National Stasi Administration. I hope that 5-page document was just a think-piece, drafted to define the outer limit of some proposed new policy.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re:

    They already have. That's why they're too afraid of them to try to reign them in.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 6:35am

    Re: I wonder...

    How ever the NSA wants them to.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 6:39am

    as with a certain industry in Hollywood, the more it gets, the more it wants. when it wants others to pay to keep it's services functioning in The Dark Ages, it wants to keep those services rather than updating to the technical age. they could even have been reading off the same script!
    i have said for a long while that the main reason governments, in particular the USG and UKG keep ramping up copyright protection laws is so they can piggy-back their spying, but then blame the entertainment industries when the public fights back! these are all hand in glove!

     

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  10.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 6:47am

    Re: I wonder...

    I'm betting on a re-hash of the classic 'Because Terrorists!', they never seem to get tired of that one, despite the fact that it's been worn so thin you can see right through it(and them).

     

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    Guardian, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 7:11am

    NSA= traitors to USA and mankind

    NSA are doing crimes against humanity

     

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  12.  
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    Prajo Etach, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 7:46am

    The NSA needs to be shut down. Now. And the psychotic megalomaniacs running it need to be tried, convicted, and imprisoned. The NSA has power which the likes of Hitler, Hussein, Mao, and Stalin could only dream of, and that must be changed if we are to have any hope of a better future. Those who seek power are not fit to wield it.

     

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    Prajo Etach, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    Also, I'm waiting to see if Snowden's leaks will reveal evidence (via data from the NSA) concerning the child prostitution rings which many high-level politicians are involved in. At least half of DC would be implicated if absolute proof of what's going on were exposed, and THAT would get the population moving, if nothing else will.

     

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  14.  
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    RyanNerd (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    In search of more power the NSA went to Utah...

    and found that cheap electric power is not the best kind of power.

     

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  15.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:02am

    Re: In search of more power the NSA went to Utah...

    I think the problem was more cheap electricians/wiring, though that's what you get when you have a system where the lowest bidder wins I suppose.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:06am

    Re: I wonder...

    Why should they spin it? If you believe that more data = more security and security is to be prioritized over everything else, then it is a completely reasonable piece.

    Asking for triple a data (anytime, anyone, anywhere) is a natural request in that context and if you are as goal-driven as a military, you steer directly for that goal, no matter the costs for self and others.

    Consequencial logic taken to the extreme and a complete lack of broader adversarial protection, but in the end, politics works in much the same way, so politicians can relate!

     

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  17.  
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    ShivaFang (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: I wonder...

    But that's the problem Security is _not_ to be prioritized over _everything_ else.

    "Those who would trade in their freedom for their protection deserve neither. Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    I've got the power, and now that will be playing in my head all day.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 10:26am

    "The Bourne Identity" (NSA/CIA) meets "The Falcon and the Snowman" (Snowden) except this is real life, not just a movie. The NSA seems to have taken the Bourne movies as a GOAL to meet, instead of a dystopia to avoid. We owe enormous thanks to Edward Snowden for proving it.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 11:34am

    Re: I wonder...

    document was, by the sound of it, an internal NSA memorandom. The government could spin this as a agency that got out of control because the agency boss was nuts, Heap the blame on Alexander, followed by pr campain to rehabilitate US worldwide reputation, and sweep the contining spying efforts under the carpet where they belong.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

    Re:

    Another conclusion is that NSA consider “anyone, anytime, anywhere” to be adversaries.
    In other words the NSA eyes the entire population of the world as potential enemies of the state.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2013 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The NSA have with the help of billions of American tax payer dollars built a replica of J Edgar Hoovers infamous dossier cabinet, but on a gigantic scale. Any elected official that have some power to stop them can be blackmailed or extorted. They have dirt on everyone, and anyone not playing ball with the 'intelligence bureaucracy' will find a string of embarrassing leaks (these particular leaks does not trigger global manhunts however) about heir person reaching the press in time for election.

     

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  23.  
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    ECA (profile), Nov 25th, 2013 @ 2:35pm

    SHOT GUN EFFECT

    The Shot gun effect is a truly good way to DO somethings..
    Like make 20 different Games and see WHO likes what..

    But for DATA accumulation...Its like SHooting a dictionary and looking at Each word a BB stops at.. or trying to READ the dictionary AFTEr you have shot it a few times..

    Unless you can localize WHO/WHAT/WHERE you data is coming from, you are Using a SHOT GUN in the dark.. and all you are finding is WHO is watching porn..

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2013 @ 1:49am

    Re: Re:

    They consider anyone not employed by NSA enemies, and the bosses are none too confident that they have the loyalties of their staff. Congress is a potential enemy because it could try to shut them down.

     

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


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