Skip to comments.AP IMPACT: Snowden's life surrounded by spycraft
Posted on 06/15/2013 11:19:32 AM PDT by Perdogg
In the suburbs edged by woods midway between Baltimore and the nation's capital, residents long joked that the government spy shop next door was so ultra-secretive its initials stood for "No Such Agency." But when Edward Snowden grew up here, the National Security Agency's looming presence was both a very visible and accepted part of everyday life.
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...
Reading about all this NSA spying for some reason made me think of him. There were some folks here keeping up with the investigation about him. Was he connected in any way to the NSA? Anyone know any more about his case?
Not saying there is a connection; he just crossed my mind.
Sharp memory, good work. I remember it.
I think neither the FBI or CIA would step on anything the NSA does.
I was in a military unit, some fifty-five years ago, that had ties with NSA. Their stated public mission was “to protect the transmission of information by electronic means”. Of course, the clandestine mission was much more involved than that, and cannot be fully revealed even today.
The world first became aware of its wider mission with the Martin and Mitchell Defection which occurred in September 1960 when two U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) cryptologists, William Hamilton Martin and Bernon F. Mitchell, defected to the Soviet Union. A secret 1963 NSA study said that “Beyond any doubt, no other event has had, or is likely to have in the future, a greater impact on the Agency’s security program.”
It was a dark moment in the history of our intelligence-gathering capabilities, and may have set up the adventurous thrusts of the Soviet Union in various parts of the world that culminated in the erection of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile crisis, and indirectly led to our deepening intervention in Viet Nam.
Did Edward Snowden do anything that was worse than what Martin and Mitchell did over half a century ago? It is very nearly of the same caliber if somewhat smaller scope. Much of what NSA could do in 1960 was rendered obsolete overnight by their defection, and much of what NSA had been doing both internationally and domestically was either crippled, or so severely compromised, it will be a while rebuilding the capability we had only a few weeks ago.
I don’t know about how much these disclosures have really crippled the NSA. Because with the exception of face-to-face conversation (that is not overheard?), we are all exposed, all the time, across the planet.
After reading Bamford’s book “The Puzzle Palace” when it was published, I have been interested in this area and read about it as things come available.
There is a point I would like to make about the Patriot Act during the Bush administration, versus the NSA’s “technical means” of surveillance.
Some on the news and opinion shows are commenting “What’s the big deal, we did this under Bush after all, and everyone was OK with it then.”
How much have the NSA’s capabilities increased since 9/11?
When you consider what the NSA could do 12 years ago versus today, there are big differences. Likely order-of-magnitude differences.
Obvious are gaining ever-increasing amounts of processing power.
This is separate from setting up zetabyte data storage capabilities at the 30 or so NSA data centers, now augmented by the Utah Data Center.
And this incredible volume of data is being made useful by new big-data processing software, by programs like Accumulo (with cell-level security) and similar.
All this means the NSA is becoming more able to actually look at big data in a useful way.
These capabilities Did Not Exist when the Patriot Act was signed in 2001, reauthorized in 2006, and even recently when Obama “re-upped” for us all in 2011.
Note that the Utah Data Center project was initiated about 2008/2009, and ground breaking was Jan 2011. It opens this fall.
The NSA’s capabilities to work with big data is reaching a critical capability.
And considering the legacy of the ECHELON program from decades ago, what are the likely capabilities of the NSA software/bots to monitor —>content<— and not just metadata - both worldwide (and in the US “whenever the switch is flipped”) for voice/telephony and internet communications?
I have seen comments by former NSA personnel talking about the burn bags and scrupulous behavior at the NSA years ago, and saying that this means we are safe now.
But does the NSA continue to exercise these same scruples now, under this administration?
Will they in the future?
Hmm... maybe it doesn’t matter whether some folks say “We are all Breitbart.”
Because, just maybe, someday soon, we are all Winston Smith.