Snowden Says NSA Employees 'Routinely' Passed Around Naked Photos That Had Been Intercepted
from the because-of-course-they-would dept
Keith Alexander insisted that the NSA had "100% audibility" of the actions of their employees and they made sure that no one abused their powers:
"The assumption is our people are just out there wheeling and dealing. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have tremendous oversight over these programs. We can audit the actions of our people 100%, and we do that," he said.Of course, that doesn't explain why so many of the "LOVINT" cases only came out after people self-confessed many years later, rather than through any audits.
Addressing the Black Hat convention in Las Vegas, an annual gathering for the information security industry, he gave a personal example: "I have four daughters. Can I go and intercept their emails? No. The technical limitations are in there." Should anyone in the NSA try to circumvent that, in defiance of policy, they would be held accountable, he said: "There is 100% audibility."
Meanwhile, in the latest Ed Snowden interview (done with the Guardian's Alan Rusbridger), Snowden reveals that NSA employees routinely would share naked photos that had been intercepted:
“You've got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old,” Snowden said. “They've suddenly been thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility where they now have access to all of your private records. In the course of their daily work they stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work in any sort of necessary sense. For example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising position. But they're extremely attractive.Of course, none of this is really that new. Way back in 2008, you may recall, that it was revealed that NSA analysts were listening in on pillow talk phone calls between Americans overseas and loved ones back home... and sharing those recordings around the office:
“So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and show their co-worker. The co-worker says: ‘Hey that's great. Send that to Bill down the way.’ And then Bill sends it to George and George sends it to Tom. And sooner or later this person's whole life has been seen by all of these other people. It's never reported. Nobody ever knows about it because the auditing of these systems is incredibly weak. The fact that your private images, records of your private lives, records of your intimate moments have been taken from your private communications stream from the intended recipient and given to the government without any specific authorization without any specific need is itself a violation of your rights. Why is that in a government database?”
Then Alan Rusbridger, The Guardian’s editor-in-chief, asked: “You saw instances of that happening?”
“Yeah,” Snowden responded.
“It's routine enough, depending on the company that you keep, it could be more or less frequent. These are seen as the fringe benefits of surveillance positions."
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."That was revealed years before Snowden even worked for the NSA. It would appear that little has changed.