Ex-NSA Official Breezily Reveals Details Of NSA Surveillance Capabilities In Iraq

from the hey,-wait... dept

Throughout the whole Ed Snowden ordeal, defenders of the NSA and the surveillance state keep insisting that revealing even the slightest details of the NSA's capabilities help our enemies "win" because they'll learn how to avoid the surveillance. As such, they've been wringing their hands about how any revelation of what the NSA is up to will cause immense damage. Just recently, the NSA pressed hard on the Washington Post not to reveal the name of the country where the NSA is currently recording every single phone call. The Washington Post agreed to withhold this information -- a decision that some have challenged.

However, barely a week later, in a glowing profile by the LA Times of now-retired NSA boss Keith Alexander, his former number two guy at the NSA, Chris Inglis, who also just retired, breezily admits to the depth of the NSA's surveillance capabilities in Iraq, information that prior to this had not been public:
In Iraq, for example, the National Security Agency went from intercepting only about half of enemy signals and taking hours to process them to being able to collect, sort and make available every Iraqi email, text message and phone-location signal in real time, said John "Chris" Inglis, who recently retired as the NSA's top civilian.
The entire article is a weak (and grossly transparent) attempt to recast General Keith Alexander's legacy -- and thus it seems that Inglis, Alexander and the NSA have no problem at all revealing the details of its capabilities in Iraq when the entire purpose in doing so is an attempt to show how good Alexander was for the NSA. Rest assured, however, had the same bit of information come out from one of the reporters with access to the Snowden documents, the NSA and all its defenders would be screaming as loud as possible about how the publication of such information would cost lives and create immense damage to American interests while aiding our enemies. Yet, apparently, it's all fine and dandy to reveal such information... when it's part of the effort to canonize the NSA retired leader.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 31 Mar 2014 @ 12:01pm

    Tsc.. Mike, Mike, Mike... Naive are we? He was talking to the LA Times, an American news outfit that those outside America obviously don't read. Talk about being an anarchist libertarian. (whatever it means)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2014 @ 12:19pm


    ...thy name is NSA.

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

  • identicon
    Christenson, 31 Mar 2014 @ 12:22pm

    Typo monster or spellcheck monster bites!

    Hey Mike,
    I wish you would RING those NSA hands with a large hammer, thus keeping them off my data. I think you meant to write "wring" those hands, though! lol

    Second sentence of post:
    As such, they've been ringing their hands about how ....

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2014 @ 12:28pm

    General Keith Alexander CyberCon 2014
    Michael Chertoff CyberCon2014

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 31 Mar 2014 @ 12:34pm


    That means the NSA is going to do everything they can to punish and throw in jail the person who just revealed a bunch of sensitive details of their actions, right?

    I mean, they've been throwing a massive tantrum over Snowden and how his actions have revealed general information regarding their actions, here's someone that's revealing much more focused information as to their actions, and not only that, actions taking place in an active combat zone, which just makes it all the worse.

    Surely, if their anger over Snowden's actions are due to him 'presenting a threat to the NSA's operations, and ability to protect the country', and not just due to him exposing their illegal/quasi-legal actions to the public, surely they'll come down like a metric ton of law-books on this guy, right?


    Yeah, didn't think so.

    Sarcasm aside, I'd say in their attempt to retcon their former leader's reputation, they really screwed up here, now anytime they claim their anger over Snowden's actions are due to how those actions are causing 'threats to the lives of others', people can just turn around and point to this as proof that they couldn't care less about protecting lives, all they care about protecting is their power and reputation(which allows them to justify, and get more power).

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

  • icon
    Groaker (profile), 31 Mar 2014 @ 2:03pm

    So when is the Washington Post going to learn that bowing to the pressure of the NSA, and not publishing "vital" data that will allow our enemies to "win", will only protect us for a week before the NSA blows the data and allows our enemies to "win."

    The press has privileges. It seems to have forgotten that there are obligations that go along with those rights. And unless they are willing to keep up those obligations, their rights will be just that -- privileges that will become so narrow as to be meaningless.

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

  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 1 Apr 2014 @ 6:47am

    Does this mean that the terrorists win now, or have they already won? (Pro tip: It's the latter)

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

    • identicon
      Groaker, 1 Apr 2014 @ 7:33am


      Standard guerrilla tactics. Cause fear, which in turn allows any government to crackdown, causing more internal discord and a weakened government, which then hardens its line, Wash, rinse, repeat.

      Governments are preprogrammed for this response. I would say that the "terrorists" are winning, not that they have won yet, thought the odds of them winning are extremely high.

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

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