NSA On Snowden's Claims Of Passing Around Nudie Pics: We Totally Wouldn't Allow That… If We Knew About It

from the but-they-don't,-so dept

Following on the news that Ed Snowden told the Guardian how NSA employees routinely passed around pictures they had intercepted of “extremely attractive” people who were naked, the NSA has issued one of its typical non-denial denials. In an email to Forbes’ Kashmir Hill, NSA spokesperson Vanee Vines basically said, “If we knew about it, that wouldn’t be allowed”:

?NSA is a professional foreign-intelligence organization with a highly trained workforce, including brave and dedicated men and women from our armed forces,? said spokesperson Vanee Vines by email. ?As we have said before, the agency has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency?s authorities or professional standards, and would respond as appropriate to any credible allegations of misconduct.?

Except, of course, what nearly every story talking about this has left out is that this is hardly the first such revelation. The NSA has a history and pattern of this kind of thing. Back in 2008, it was revealed that NSA analysts had been listening in on and passing around tapes of Americans having phone sex:

Not only were calls between Americans listened to and recorded on a regular basis, the “good parts” (i.e., phone sex) were sent around to other operators to listen to as well. One of the operators said that on a regular basis messages would be sent around with messages like: “Hey, check this out. There’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out.”

Even if we take the NSA at its word that it has a “zero tolerance” policy for this kind of thing, that actually makes the story even worse. Because it just shows how weak (to non-existent) the NSA’s “100% auditability” really is. Keith Alexander insisted that everything done by people with access to these databases was tracked and audited. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that that’s not true at all. And it makes you wonder just how much abuse is going on that the NSA has no idea about — potentially for things even worse than listening in on phone sex or passing nudie pics around the office.

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Comments on “NSA On Snowden's Claims Of Passing Around Nudie Pics: We Totally Wouldn't Allow That… If We Knew About It”

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34 Comments
AricTheRed says:

Now I know why my job application was denied there...

“…employees routinely passed around pictures they had intercepted of “extremely attractive” people who were naked…”

None of the folks I was going to work with wanted me there as they knew (due to the warrantless mass surveilance of my internet porn viewing so they could use it to embarass high profile targets the rest of the world cares about) I’d be passing around the intercepted pics and videos of the “extremely un-attractive” people too!

Anonymous Coward says:

This doesn’t excuse it in any way, but this isn’t an NSA-specific breach of trust. There’s a reason that geek sites like ThinkGeek sell t-shirts that say “I read your e-mail.” It’s a personality trait based on power and control that is shared by many sysadmins and other tech professionals. An open console is intoxicating to people like this, whether they work for NSA or not.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There’s a reason that geek sites like ThinkGeek sell t-shirts that say “I read your e-mail.”

I have that shirt, and wear it an awful lot. I do not, however, read the emails on my mail server that weren’t sent directly to me or end up in abuse. Just because people wear the shirt doesn’t mean that they really do it.

I had a coworker in a previous job who would periodically wear a shirt that said “I miss crime.” and he never was arrested or even accused of any crimes.

Often times when I see people wearing shirts like that, it is usually an inside joke.

Groaker (profile) says:

2008 scandal

In 2008 the NSA frequently targeted the romantic communications of US military stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan and their SO’s. Such invasions of the privacy of men and women putting their lives on the line, by desk jockeys is anathema.

And needless to say, the NSA has only increased the depth and breadth of its criminal behaviors.

Anonymous Coward says:

NSA Sex Addict The Newest Novel by James “Under the Desk ” Clapper , I just couldn’t help myself there was just so much to see and I couldn’t stop even when I stepped down I kept a database filled with these Sex tapes and and Images I was living the voyeurs dream When they revoked my password and asked me to remove my hand from under the desk i replied “From My Cold Dead Hand”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: the nude body

We’re sorry but, “What Is and Is Not Evil” is now based on the current reinterpretation of the word “evil” made by the duly appointed reinterpretor staff of the National Security Agency, and the determination of whether a particular God is evil or not depends entirely on which particular God you’ve selected and the day on which you selected it.

This week, all Muslim, Babylonian, Pakistani and Greek Gods are to be considered legally evil.

To have your God removed from this list, please fill out form 6667fGGEDR33, or wait one week.

Groaker (profile) says:

Let us not forget that the military has its say in the matter. Lt General and undersecretary of state Boykin said amongst many other things:

Among several quotes, the article revealed Boykin giving a speech about hunting down Osman Atto in Mogadishu: “He went on CNN and he laughed at us, and he said, ‘They’ll never get me because Allah will protect me. Allah will protect me.’ Well, you know what? I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.” Boykin later clarified this statement, saying that he was implying that Atto’s true “god” was money.”

How in hell does a guy who says such idiotic things in public ever get to be a Pvt E2 , never mind a Lt Gen?

Wikipedia

GEMont (profile) says:

Wars of the Gods

“How in hell does a guy who says such idiotic things in public ever get to be a Pvt E2 , never mind a Lt Gen?”

Actually, I think that making such statements, and apparently meaning them sincerely, is now a prerequisite to attaining high US military rank.

However, normally the Deity referred to as “my God” by Boykin, is Odin, not Jehovah, just for the record.

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