Senior Former Intelligence Official Admits That 'The Point' Of CISA Is Surveillance

from the of-course dept

Senator Ron Wyden — who has been fighting back against secret laws expanding surveillance for years — made it clear months ago that CISA was really “a surveillance bill by another name.” Of course, if you just read the bill it might not appear that way, because you need to understand how it works with a variety of secret orders and surveillance authorities — along with secret interpretations of the law. We’ve tried to piece together how CISA is filling in a big missing blank in what the intelligence community needs to conduct broad warrantless domestic surveillance on internet users (something that it has been restricted from doing in the past few years).

Marcy Wheeler has uncovered another little tidbit — buried in a CNN article all about CISA, in which the reporter speaks to a former senior US intelligence official:

“Would it give our spy agencies greater visibility? Definitely. That’s the point,” the official said.

Except, of course, the backers of the bill, Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein have been basically shoving each other aside to insist that’s not the point at all. They keep insisting that the bill has nothing to do with surveillance or the intelligence community and is just about domestic cybersecurity efforts, and that everyone’s supposedly barred from doing more with it (until you look at the fine print, of course). Of course, it’s possible that this is just a misstatement by the nameless former official, but it might also be a pretty clear admission of what most folks have been saying from the beginning. CISA is a surveillance bill, disguised to look like it’s about “cybersecurity.”

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Comments on “Senior Former Intelligence Official Admits That 'The Point' Of CISA Is Surveillance”

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Median Wilfred says:

FBI has something on them

the backers of the bill, Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein have been basically shoving each other aside to insist that’s not the point at all.

I am beginning to believe that the US “Intelligence Community” (a.k.a. Our Benevolent Overlords Who Really Do Know Better Than Us) have certain… information… on elected officials other than Jane Harman. Perhaps the Honorables Burr and Feinstein are in that unfortunate number.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: FBI has something on them

Do you want a coup? Cause this is how you get a coup!

Despite the joke, it’s not really a joke. Intelligence agencies are often the constructs of scared little men & women. In a sick twist of fate, the people in power attempting to solidify that power wind up giving all of that power away to the agency they created. In the end that agency will always become the power itself while the ones setting up that power become artifacts of a puppet state.

Ill fate often waits upon the path we take to avoid it!

No government “For the People” should ever have an inward facing intelligence agency of any kind for any reason. It will only serve to displace its creators and subsequently crush its true king (the people).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: FBI has something on them

Fair enough. Hopefully a coup is never a result as it will get worse as recent events have shown. If anything, these officials should uphold their oath (not to safety or the people but to the Constitution) regardless of their shady business dealings as they’re no longer private citizens.

You violate your oath, out you go.

Anonymous Coward says:

Of course

This is only catching the tech sector up with ye telecoms of olde.

The verdict is still out on whether CALEA II will be necessary or not, but don’t be surprised if it shows up in the future.

This is about shutting down avenues for legal opposition, enabling the surveillance to continue unimpeded indefinitely and over all communications methods.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

By securing your system instead of spying on everyone without a warrant?

The security wonks in our midst have been for some time pushing the idea that securing systems from intrusion is a waste of time, and instead we should be looking to secure the valuable data inside instead, just assuming badguys are going to get in. So, encrypted databases, greater permissions granularity, & etc.

I think it’s pretty simplistic and based on the fact they’ve maybe never worked with anything but Windows.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Well in order to do cybersecurity, you need surveillance. The two are not mutually exclusive. How else do you find out about attacks, targets, and attackers?

This is about what’s done with the surveillance output. Yes, watching your network for nefarious traffic is surveillance, shipping all your surveillance to the government is not secure. The most insecure systems on the planet are usually government systems.

For Cyber Security, the best approach is to watch for nasty packets, log them for a limited time (a few days, a week, so you can review if there’s an incident). And then dump the history. Why pay for disk space if you don’t need to.

Anonymous Coward says:

The former official must have misspoken. CISA is obviously about security, not surveillance:

As every network security specialist knows, the best way to keep your data safe is to make dozens of copies of it and send it back and forth across the internet to various and sundry public and private organizations with unknown data retention policies and security practices.

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