Here's 140 Fully-Redacted Pages Explaining How Much Snowden's Leaks Have Harmed The Nation's Security

from the FOIA:-Freedom-Of-Ink-Act dept

If the US intelligence committee is concerned about the status of "hearts and minds" in its ongoing NSA v. Snowden battle, it won't be winning anyone over with its latest response to a FOIA request.

Various representatives of the intelligence community have asserted (sometimes repeatedly) that Snowden's leaks have caused irreparable harm to intelligence-gathering efforts and placed the nation in "grave danger." But when given the chance to show the public how much damage has been done, it declares everything on the subject too sensitive to release. EVERYTHING.

Here's the Defense Intelligence Agency's appraisal of the current situation, as released to Vice News' Jason Leopold.

On the subject of compromised information:


How about intelligence sharing and cooperation?


At least we know that -- as of January 2014 -- there were four (4) "talking points."


Every single assessment, dating back to September 2013, is fully redacted. How does that help communicate the DIA's concerns about Snowden's leaks to the general public? How does that persuade anyone about the alleged severity of the situation?

From what's not on display here, it's safe to say the general public's perception of the American intelligence apparatus doesn't matter. Those who do matter are those already on the NSA's side, and then only those with the power to guide legislation towards favorable ends. It's safe to say that there are people in Washington DC who have seen at least a portion of these reports, but that small group contains no members of the general public.

A fully-redacted report may seem logical in the eyes of the intelligence community, which despite multiple leakers, still pretends its secrets will always be secret. Page after page of redaction shows it's really not interested in the transparency it keeps promising will make everything better. It doesn't want to give the public any more information than it already has and this mess of whiteout and black ink clearly and loudly states that it believes the public has no stake in the ongoing debate over mass surveillance.

It's a wordless insult, delivered under the pretense of "national security."


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  • icon
    rw (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:06am

    Well, what do you expect? We've always know that "Military Intelligence" is an oxymoron.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:23am

    Perhaps Snowden's disclosures have _improved_

    National Security? Our previous security was really, really bad, so the move to fully encrypted, no-MITM transactions is a huge net _gain_ in security, right?

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:28am

    So much wasted ink

    A hundred and forty pages... Really? They could have saved a whole lot of time and effort if they'd just sent back a simple response, that despite being drastically shorter, would have gotten the exact same meaning across:

    "Dear Jason Leopold,

    In response to your request for documents pertaining to any harms caused by the recent leaks of classified information:

    Fuck you.

    You get nothing, because despite what you or your readers may think, we don't answer to you, never have, and never will. As such we are under no obligation to explain ourselves, our actions, or our statements to any of you.

    If you have any concerns or comments regarding our response, please, feel free to drop dead, as we could not care less what you think or say.

    Have a nice day."

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 8:15am

      Re: So much wasted ink

      I really think the people sending these 140 page blank responses are internally laughing at the lack of accountability they have towards the public. They know their response is ridiculous, they knew this before even submitting it, they can't possibly be that dumb. They are basically intentionally taunting the public as if to say 'what are you going to do about it?'. This publication should be evidence of their childish intent.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 10:12am

        Re: Re: So much wasted ink

        Actually, I think you're wrong. The culprit here is "bureaucratic chain of commandd".

        One person handles the FOIA request.
        They find the documents, and send them off to someone else, who reviews them.
        That person reviews the document, marking the sections they think should be redacted (they do this for other documents not under FOIA too -- their job is to vet documents for unclassified release)
        When they're done, they send it off to a reviewer, who does the actual redacting. That's what this person does all day -- they blank out documents to 'sanitize' them for release to X target.
        The documents then go back down the chain to the person managing the request, whose job is then to take the resulting document and release it to the appropriate party. They probably don't even review the document to see what's been done to it (as that part's been done by someone vetted to do such things).

        In fact, the person releasing the document may not even have the credentials to view the document in all cases.

        So each person's job is totally sensible in and of itself -- it's just when you combine them and don't have a single person who can look at the whole picture and ask "does this make sense?" that you get situations like this.

        And with this kind of thing, the document hits the media/courts, and the redacted version goes back up the chain to someone who DOES have clearance to look at the original. They look at it and go 'well, this is a mess...' and then get on to the PR people (who don't have clearance).

        So for the first round, the problem is more one of process than of intent. The problem with intent doesn't come until they hit the damage control phase, where I'm sure the prevailing attitude is "protect the classified information at all cost (to the taxpayer)!"

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

  • icon
    Theoden (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:29am

    Too Sensitive to Release?

    Maybe they are upset because the report shows exactly what they have given us: NOTHING has been compromised by Snowden's revelations, except the people who have been spying on everyone.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:32am

    To the tune of "Jesus loves me"

    The Intelligence Community Jingle (Snowden Blues)
    Damgage was done! This I know,
    For the black ink tells me so;
    All our'secrets ours they stay,
    Take your Act, and go away!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:43am

    Looks more like 4 silent points to me.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:56am

      Re:

      If there's one thing that could be left unredacted, you would think it would be the talking points. They are TALKING POINTS.

      Unless they use these "talking points" internally with people cleared to know confidential information, but that just opens up a new can of worms.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 7:13am

        Re: Re:

        If I had to guess, the reason for blacking out the talking points is mostly likely to keep people from being able to show why they are wrong.

        If they're careful to only use them when people cannot refute their claims, than I'm sure the talking points are most persuasive, but if someone has time to do a little research, and show the flaws in their arguments, they'd be a lot less effective.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 7:57am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Seems awfully silly though to redact your talking points as the whole point of having them is that they are what you talk to people about on the issue.

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

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 8:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Not when they're banking on using those talking points with people who aren't able to fact check their statements at the time they are making them.

            A lot of the stuff they say may make a lot of sense... until you actually do a little research and find out that pretty much all of it is a mix of lies, damn lies, misdirections and falsehoods. If people were able to research the arguments that they were using, those arguments would be a lot less effective, as they'd be exposed as the rot that they are.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2015 @ 9:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Or perhaps these are "intelligence" officials that aren't intelligent enough to know what talking points are.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:54am

    A more concise method of conveying to the people that the NSA doesn't care what anyone thinks would have been to just send a picture of a closed fist, middle finger extended.

    In fact, this is precisely the impression I get from them whenever I hear or read any statements they make.

    They like to bitch and moan about the damage caused by the leaking of details of their abusive, unconstitutional spying. But, they are absolutely unwilling to prove it. Anyone willing to "trust them" or "give them the benefit of the doubt" is embarking on a fools errand.

    Criminals, all of them. They all belong in a prison cell for the rest of their natural lives.

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

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 1:33pm

      Re:

      They are just following the rules laid out in the new Secret Post 9/11 Corporate Constitution section, titled Ways and Means of Remaining Legal, While Breaking Laws.

      You see, it would be illegal for them to not comply with the FOIA inquiry, so by pretending that they are complying - by releasing blank pages covered entirely in redacting ink - they are fulfilling the rules necessary to remain on legal footing under the new secret interpretation of the laws.

      ---

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:57am

    Those guys are dicks

    See subject.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:58am

      Re: Those guys are dicks

      I can irrefutably support my opinion with the following talking points:

      1. [Redacted]

      2. [Redacted]

      3. [Redacted]

      4. [Redacted]

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 7:23am

    Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear

    Didn't they say, "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear?" What do they fear then? Because they are hiding a lot.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 7:30am

    Obviously

    The NSA needs to be [REDACTED]

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

  • identicon
    Guardian, 26 Feb 2015 @ 7:33am

    its missing 150 more pages fully redacted

    heck cause its fully redacted why not say 1000000000 pages

    after all no one can see it....its all bs

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 7:41am

    Directive 19

    IN order to address concerns the US Government is not 'transparent' in meeting its legal FOIA requirements, all agencies are directed to apply the literal definition to the word 'transparency'. THEREFORE:
    All FOIA requests which cannot be addressed with a standard FUCK YOU response shall be printed on acetate, cellophane or other clear media, in white ink, using a 4 pt font, WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTIONS:
    Any FOIA response containing 47% or more pure confabulation shall be printed on tissue, and
    All DHS responses shall continue to be printed on tinfoil.
    Remember, IT IS YOUR DUTY to keep information from the ignorant, terrorist-loving general population.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 9:32am

      Re: Directive 19

      Reminds me of a quote from a Discworld book:
      “And these are your reasons, my lord?"
      "Do you think I have others?" said Lord Vetinari. "My motives, as ever, are entirely transparent."
      Hughnon reflected that 'entirely transparent' meant either that you could see right through them or that you couldn't see them at all.”
      ― Terry Pratchett, The Truth

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 10:21am

      Re: Directive 19

      Sorry, this method won't work, as the media would then give away too much about what it was supposed to contain.

      For full transparency, they just need to print in fully transparent ink on a layer of hot air. For everything. Because anything less would give too much away.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 8:17am

    We pay their salaries...

    We pay their bills, we feed their families, we send their kids to college... everything they say they do, they say they do for us. It's not for us, It's for power, empire, and $$$$$.

    The release of redacted information to the American people should be a crime.

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

  • identicon
    beech, 26 Feb 2015 @ 8:19am

    Have some faith.

    Seriously you guys, how about we trust our rulers a bit. The NSA has seen all your metadata, and probably a good sized chunk of your regular data too. They know you better than you know yourself. If they decide that we can't handle the truth then I, for one, welcome our new information overlords.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 8:40am

    the pages are all redacted because if not, the world would see how fucking stupid these people really are, the way they have behaved and the complete screw ups they have consistently made!!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 8:51am

      Re:

      Cant have them shatter the sheeps illusion that they are perfect, professional and everything they utter from their lips is good and obviously correct, by right of virtue in who they are, and not on the contents of what is said

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 8:46am

    This is like them giving a big "fuck you" to those their claiming to be doing this for

    They think THEIR, angry....hmph!

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

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 8:46am

    CYAP?

    I think this is a clear instance of the CYAP (Cover Your Ass with Paper) syndrome that government drones use to make sure we don't discover just how corrupt they are!

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

  • icon
    ananke (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 9:00am

    140 pages containing nothing at all... there's a Twitter joke in there somewhere, I just can't quite put my finger on it

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 9:06am

    Speaking of wasted ink...

    ...Have you tried faxing those pages back to them and asking for corrected versions?

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

    • icon
      beltorak (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 1:30pm

      Re: Speaking of wasted ink...

      make sure to tape the papers in a loop so they have enough copies to get to all the relevant people. start on a friday evening so they have ample time over the weekend to work on it.

      see black faxes (time code 6:50)

      (no, don't really do that)

      ((jeez, do i really have to put that to cover my ass in case i get swept up in some surveillance net??))

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 9:11am

    If there is nothing on the report, then the Snowden caused no problems

    It is really simple, if there is nothing on the paper; then the information released by Snowden caused no problems. Obviously if there were problems from the release of information then they would have listed those problems on the request.

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

  • icon
    BW (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:27am

    Quick! Someone ask them for their internal assessment of...

    The effectiveness of their transparency efforts! It should make interesting reading.

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

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 11:29am

    to summarize

    "Snowden's leaks have shown us to be acting in a way more common with Nazi Germany than what we pretend we represent ie the last bastion of freedom for the tired oppressed masses.

    This has hurt our public image and has made those we have committed war crimes against aware of such things.

    By exposing our evil to the light Snowden has made this country a target"

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

    • identicon
      BreakTag, 26 Feb 2015 @ 2:31pm

      Re:

      Snowden didn't make the country the target!,
      The countries actions and foreign/internal policy are endangering true democracy and freedom!

      Speaking out to corruption....Thats part of the responsibility of being free...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 12:08pm

    Well they have learned one lesson here. Lying about it straight out where they are likely to get caught in it is out. Now they will just clam up and develop lock jaw.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2015 @ 12:47pm

    Legal?

    FOIA requests must be answered with the correct information right? If you i.e. ask for the date they can't answer green if I understand it correctly. So how can Vice be sure they got the correct documents? All they got might be the lunch orders of some people.

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

  • icon
    Aaron (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 3:19pm

    And this without so much as a "These are sobering findings"!

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

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 27 Feb 2015 @ 1:20pm

    Reverse Bluff

    No surprises here.

    After all, releasing the un-redacted documents - a stack of blank pages, or more precisely, no pages at all - would give the game away.

    By releasing a stack of blank, but fully redacted pages, the agency has made it appear that the "leaks" really have harmed national security, but in ways that cannot be explained due to a need to protect national security.

    Best sleight of hand PR move I've seen to date.

    They must have hired someone with a college education to do their PR work recently.... or George Bush Sr.

    ----

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

  • icon
    Anonymous (profile), 1 Mar 2015 @ 12:21am

    They've leaked information here!

    At the bottom of page 2 of the document, where it incorrectly refers to "memorandums of understanding" (should be memoranda), the submitted, redacted documents contain two crossed out fields. Unfortunately, the contents of those fields are readily discernible, and so I expect the Defense 'Intelligence' Agency will conduct an investigation into who leaked the following information:

    Derived from: Multiple Sources
    Declassify on: 20381109 (the 3 may in fact be a 7, so this is not a complete leak).

    This information is also contained on page 4, which APPEARS to state the declassification date as 20331107. Page 6 has a date that appears to be 20381024.

    I encourage someone with better eyesight than I to have a closer look at this potentially life-risking information.

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

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 1 Mar 2015 @ 5:29pm

      Re: They've leaked information here!

      Since the documents were entirely redacted, they could have indeed been any documents about anything at all and have absolutely nothing to do with leaks or national security.

      They could have been documents pertaining to something like the cost of the secret escape exits ad tunnels, built into the White House and other Government Buildings throughout the US in preparation for an armed uprising by US citizens, expected to occur between 2033 and 2038, and were selected because they were handily near the top of the alphabetically arranged stack, listed under Access Accommodations Assessments.

      ---

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


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