No one said they hired a crew.... The US has Corps of Engineer guys pretty much everywhere (with equipment, supplies, etc) that are very skilled. Match a few of them with a couple of spy types, and I can absolutely see the events described being executed.
With that said, I'm with you on the still needing proof, but it's certainly possible.
Could it be that Congress saw how much of a hot potato SOPA was and how many people got ticked off and might not vote for them, so they are offloading the blame on the executive branch if TAFTA (etc) pisses everyone off.
Nah... couldn't be. That would mean that they are smart enough to SEE that people are likely to get pissed off and they are too oblivious for that.
We all know that to some extend Obama is "responsible" for the NSA. However, saying that he should know exactly what is going on is a little like saying that the head of General Motors should know details about the janitorial staff in one of the production plants.
There is a reason leaders (both corporate and political) have underlings... As a human being, you can only process so much information, you have to be able to trust the people under you to do what YOU think is right and NOT blow smoke up your skirt when they disagree.
Obama's big mistake is letting the NSA top dogs blow smoke and figuring out that there may be a fire.
I'm a programmer that has worked for a CMS subcontractor for many years (no, not one of the ones involved with this system) and I have to say that the comment that CMS is (at least partly) to blame may be dead on.
CMS is notorious for requirements that leave out most of the details. Imagine that you raise goats in your back yard and need a fence to keep them in. If CMS were writing the RFP (request for proposal), it might ask for "a fence" and when pushed to specify what kind of fence, they might answer "we really like picket fences". Then after you quote them a picket fence and start building it, someone at CMS would ask... "Ummm... will this keep the goats in?". And when you ask "why didn't you put that in the requirements", you are answered with "you should have just known"....
And no, I'm NOT making this up - I've been in the meetings where this exact reasoning was used.
Oh, and I do know that on this particular project at the state level, requirements that were needed to hit the MANDATED Oct 1 implementation date weren't finalized on Oct. 1 by CMS. Of course it's not all CMS's fault - they have to do what congress tells them to do even if it's impossible (in many cases congress sets the implementation date without any input from the folks that are going to implement it).
The NSA says that they only LOOK at certain records, but to be able to find those records they have to look at all records (even if if's just to index them).
So, by LOOKING for one record they SEARCH ALL OTHER RECORDS. To me this means that every search ABSOLUTELY involves the ACLU's records being searched (to exclude them) without a warrant.
Just like a search warrant for a single apartment, doesn't mean the police can search every other apartment in the complex (or heck, the whole country), this shouldn't mean that all users can be searched.
I read somewhere that the NSA doesn't have the same oversight (what little there is) when they monitor from a facility on foreign soil. Wouldn't that mean that if they drove all IT offshore, they would potentially have MORE access, not less?
So, are there no fly zones over all radio / TV towers (I'm pretty sure my cell phone - or even 300 cell phones combined - doesn't put out 500,000 watts of radio transmission)? I guess they turn off the radar towers at airports when planes take off and land - we wouldn't want interference, right?
What it really comes down to is "you can't prove a negative". You can't prove that it CAN'T cause problems. Oh, and never forget "that's the way it's always been". Two great excuses.
All this time we THOUGHT Prenda was about copyright trolling, but it turns out that they are WAY smarter than that. The copyright trolling and courtroom antics were just bate to get us to laugh at them and make comments to provide them with unbounded "proof" of defamation of "character". Of course, I apparently have a different definition of "character" than they do, but hey... to each his own.