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.