Why Are The Congressional Intelligence Committees So Quiet On The NSA Malware Leaks?

from the speak-up,-feinstein,-we-can't-hear-you dept

Last week, we wrote about the leak of various NSA hacking tools, that showed it had zero-day exploits for a bunch of hardware, including some from Cisco. This has raised some concerns about how long the NSA sat on these vulnerabilities without telling companies -- along with reaffirming what many people already suspected: that the supposed "Vulnerabilities Equities Program" (VEP), in which the NSA is supposed to disclose the vulnerabilities it finds to the companies to patch, is a complete joke.

But Marcy Wheeler has another important point about all of this. When the Snowden documents originally leaked three plus years ago, the various top members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees -- the so-called Gang of Four -- were quick to speak out (and condemn) the leak. But, oddly, this time they're staying pretty quiet.

Within hours of the first Snowden leak, Dianne Feinstein and Mike Rogers had issued statements about the phone dragnet. As far as I’ve seen, Adam Schiff is the only Gang of Four member who has weighed in on this

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also spoke with Mary Louise. He said he couldn’t comment on the accuracy of any reports about the leak.

But he said, “If these allegations were true, I’d be very concerned about the impact on the intelligence community. I’d also obviously want to know who the responsible parties were. … If this were a Russian actor — and again, this is multiple ‘ifs’ here — we’d have to ask what is causing this escalation.”

Say, Congressman Schiff. Aren’t you the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee and couldn’t you hold some hearings to get to the bottom of this?

Meanwhile, both Feinstein (who is the only Gang of Four member not campaigning for reelection right now) and Richard Burr have been weighing in on recent events, but not the Shadow Brokers release.

If the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were really about "oversight" of the NSA, then shouldn't they have jumped on this immediately? Shouldn't they be looking into how the NSA manages the VEP? Shouldn't they be looking into how these tools got out? Why are they just staying silent or giving meaningless statements like Schiff's?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2016 @ 2:37pm

    Feinstein is quiet because no one is paying for her opinion on the leaks.

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

    • identicon
      Ken404, 22 Aug 2016 @ 3:22pm

      Re: Because They are Corrupt !

      Not all Congressmen are corrupt like Feinstein -- but those that are... give the other five percent a bad name.

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

      • identicon
        Quiet Lurcker, 23 Aug 2016 @ 4:42am

        Re: Re: Because They are Corrupt !

        Not all Congressmen are corrupt like Feinstein -- but those that are... give the other five percent a bad name.

        Don't you mean 'the other five congressmen'?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2016 @ 2:41pm

    Aren't they all staying silent because it's in their best interest?

    After all, if there's a known leaker, then you've got your man to condemn. If it's campaign year and the victim is the NSA because your committee hasn't been doing its job, why would you want to draw attention to this?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2016 @ 2:57pm

    They're being quiet about it because

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

  • identicon
    SpaceLifeForm, 22 Aug 2016 @ 2:57pm

    When you are part of the 'program'...

    Backdoor friends are best.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 Aug 2016 @ 3:10pm

    Rule #1 of the H&S Intelligence Committees: 'If you can't say anything pro-NSA, don't say anything at all'

    If the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were really about "oversight" of the NSA, then shouldn't they have jumped on this immediately? Shouldn't they be looking into how the NSA manages the VEP? Shouldn't they be looking into how these tools got out? Why are they just staying silent or giving meaningless statements like Schiff's?

    Why stay silent? It's because they have absolutely no interest in providing any sort of oversight or acting as a check on the NSA's actions, and since commenting on this there's really no way to make the NSA come out looking good(which is all they care about), they instead choose to say nothing at all.

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

    • icon
      PlagueSD (profile), 22 Aug 2016 @ 3:31pm

      Re: Rule #1 of the H&S Intelligence Committees: 'If you can't say anything pro-NSA, don't say anything at all'

      I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Maybe they are taking that to heart.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2016 @ 3:35pm

      Re: Rule #1 of the H&S Intelligence Committees: 'If you can't say anything pro-NSA, don't say anything at all'

      Maybe they're starting to learn from their mistakes.

      If they admit it was the NSA, they can cause some pretty enormous damage to international relations.

      If they deny it's the NSA, and they're telling the truth, then there's a truly scary adversary out there.

      If they deny it's the NSA, and they're lying, then in 3 days, $DATADUMP++ will prove them liars.

      from their perspective, it's a no-win situation. they best "option" they have is likely to stay quiet. Because then their words can't come back to haunt them.

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

      • identicon
        bob, 22 Aug 2016 @ 4:20pm

        Re: Re: Rule #1 of the H&S Intelligence Committees: 'If you can't say anything pro-NSA, don't say anything at all'

        On option two, you mean even the NSA by itself can't keep this country safe!!!?!?!?!?

        Please say it ain't so. I mean we have only been throwing how much money at them since 9/11.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2016 @ 4:38pm

    Negate Security and Anonymity

    Seems like the NSA is doing a fine job at their core mission of Negating Security and Anonymity.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2016 @ 6:04pm

    pardon me, but i gotta go see ms lolliana about something important.

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

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 22 Aug 2016 @ 9:06pm

    Cold War 2.0: Same great taste as the old cold war, but now with 20% more sprinkles!

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

  • identicon
    John Mayor, 22 Aug 2016 @ 9:17pm

    SCHIFF VS SCHIFF

    Hey!... maybe we can get the West Wing's "Richard Schiff", involved!... unless, of course, Adam and Richard are related! Indeed!... maybe Richard Schiff can be encouraged to move to California, and run against Adam as an Independent (and then join the Dems, afterupon his win!)! Schiff is a member of the Democratic Party; he supported Barack Obama in the 2008 US Presidential Election. And previously, he had endorsed Senator Joe Biden, before Biden dropped out! And!... as a former White House Communications Director (though!... admittedly!... a "fictional Director"!), Tobias Zachary Ziegler is well suited to the task of coming up with a proper Democratic response, for this irresponsible NSA leak! And to be blunt!... if Ronald Reagan can run for the job of Prez (and win!), then so can Richard! H*ll!... if comedian Al Franken can run (and win!), then why not Richard?... and Richard is just as funny as Al!
    .
    Please!... no emails!
    .
    Techdirtians/ Techdirtites!... let me make a suggestion!... call upon Richard Schiff (but!... speaking, as Tobias Zachary Ziegler!) to offer up to Techdirt, what the West Wing's Communications Director would say, re this most recent "security dilemma" that's been posed by the NSA! I believe that not only would Techdirtians/ Techdirtites be interested in Richard's response, but-- yea!-- the CURRENT WEST WING, and, the MILLIONS of Tobias Zachary Ziegler supporters!

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


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