Omnibus Followup on Trigger Issues for a Small Minority of Commenters

Trigger warning for the S-dog, so it’s under the fold.

Here’s Snowden’s explanation for why he questioned Putin, for what it’s worth.

As I’ve said many times before, my interest in Snowden is confined to two things: Are his leaks legit, and what his ability to leak shows about the NSA. Everyone here seems to finally agree that his leaks are real NSA documents. And if you think Snowden is a traitor, a fool, a man-child, etc., then why the fuck did the NSA give him a clearance that allowed him to make off with a trove of documents?

Snowden is a sideshow. Even if he is the worst person in the world, the one dudebro to rule them all, and as big a prima donna as Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan combined, it doesn’t change anything about the problems at the NSA, which apparently wastes billions of dollars on illegal domestic spying with precious little to show for it. That’s the issue we should be addressing, not whatever Snowden asked Putin. That’s as relevant to the NSA as Chelsea’s pregnancy is to Hillary Clinton’s position on carbon taxation.

Second, NSA and Heartbleed: Yes, it has been denied by the NSA that they knew about Heartbleed for years before it was publicly disclosed. Bloomberg, a reasonably reputable media outlet, has not retracted the story. Given the NSA’s track record on denials, I think that waiting a couple of weeks to see how this shakes out is reasonable.

But if you buy the NSA’s denial, we still have a problem. The implication of the blanket denial is that the NSA was unable to find a fairly basic bug in the most widely used cryptographic library in the world, the source code to which freely available. My view is not that the NSA shouldn’t have been looking for the bug–it’s that they should have been looking, should have found it, and should have disclosed it at some point shortly after they found it. If you believe they didn’t find it, then what the fuck are we spending billions of dollars for them to do?

From what we’ve seen so far, one thing the NSA spends a lot of money on is overpaid contractors who charge exhorbitant fees for employing unvetted high-school graduates like Snowden. Another thing is billion-dollar data centers in the Utah desert used to hoover up petabytes of data in a mainly failed quest to identify terrorists. The NSA is wasting our money while at the same time threatening our current dominance in the world of cloud computing (by making it look like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are under their thumb) and doing precious little to defend us from the very real threat of lawless hackers like the ones who have attacked a group of major retailers (Michaels is the latest) in the last 6 months. We’re fighting the last war–terrorism–while either ignoring or fucking up the current one–hacking.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit






128 replies
  1. 1
    Cassidy says:

    Shorter Mix: w/ fingers in ears “lalalalalalala”.

  2. 2
    Yatsuno says:

    @Cassidy: It’s too damn early in the morning for troll posts.

    So how ya doing? It’s Friday, dammit!

  3. 3
    Cassidy says:

    @Yatsuno: I’m doing great, man. Just working, but this nice, southern, rural county consider today a holiday so I’m getting an extra 12 hours.

  4. 4
    Comrade Jake says:

    And if you think Snowden is a traitor, a fool, a man-child, etc., then why the fuck did the NSA give him a clearance that allowed him to make off with a trove of documents?

    This does not hold up very well as a logical argument.

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Nice post.

  6. 6
    kbuttle says:

    I thought this was a really interesting post, full of well articulated points that make sense and stimulate added thought. Not to kiss mix’s ass (against all evidence from the previous sentence), just to say, Cassidy, what’re ya doing? You seem to pretty well loathe most of the writers, and the constant negativity is something of a downer, so what brings you back time and again, limitless optimism that things will improve or just the thrill of the insult?

  7. 7
    Steve M. says:

    A-fucking-men. Thank you.

  8. 8
    Joel says:

    Are his leaks legit, and what his ability to leak shows about the NSA.

    That pretty much sums it for me.

    The problem is, participating in Russian propaganda is pretty damned harmful.

  9. 9
    tesslibrarian says:

    We recently moved our mail server from the cloud of an American company to an Australian one, making the selection in no small part because of their privacy policy page. While my husband does deal quite a bit with coders from other countries, it’s primarily not through email. But why not choose privacy when you can, at a comparable cost?

    On the other hand, has anyone else seen this bit of pro-Tea Party crazy on EFF’s blog? They are typically one of our larger charitable donations every year, and I just donated about 2 weeks ago. Now I want to get my money back, give it to a place like EPIC instead.

  10. 10
    Death Panel Truck says:

    And if you think Snowden is a traitor, a fool, a man-child, etc., then why the fuck did the NSA give him a clearance that allowed him to make off with a trove of documents?

    Well, it’s not like he went in for his job interview and said, “Oh, by the way, I’m a fucking traitor!”

  11. 11
    Belafon says:

    And if you think Snowden is a traitor, a fool, a man-child, etc., then why the fuck did the NSA give him a clearance that allowed him to make off with a trove of documents?

    You really shouldn’t leave yourself open like this: Snowden was cleared by the same company that cleared the Navy yard shooter.

    Given the NSA’s track record on denials, I think that waiting a couple of weeks to see how this shakes out is reasonable.

    Considering that a number of the documents released by Snowden and Greenwald have been of the “the NSA has the capability to do such and such” and yet generally followed by a declaration of “we don’t know how much they are actually doing”, I’m not sure whose track record you should be denying.

    The implication of the blanket denial is that the NSA was unable to find a fairly basic bug in the most widely used cryptographic library in the world, the source code to which freely available.

    Come to find out, that’s not the NSAs job. That’s the job of CERT, the Computer Emergency Readiness Team, which is part of the DHS.

    I’ll stop there. But I will say, if you want to reduce the argument to, should we be concerned that the NSA has those capabilities, and do we need to look at them before they decide to go all Great Britain, Russia, Venezuela, and China on us, works for me.

    ETA: Yes, collecting numbers connected to numbers sounds a bit invasive. There’s not a lot you can do with those, unless you are allowed to dig deeper. What we have standing between the digging deeper and the people is a private court that while it seems operates pretty clearly reasonably, doesn’t get scrutinized after its decisions very well (OK a Justice looks at it a little).

    It sounds like the mail system where they are taking pictures of the outside of envelopes. Could be used in the same way – why is person A sending something to person B – but they did manage to use it after the fact to catch someone who sent ricin to the president.

  12. 12
    tesslibrarian says:

    I have no idea why I’m in moderation. The term “donation?”

  13. 13
    Ruckus says:

    Good summary and hits the high points.
    Everything else is misdirection.

  14. 14
    dedc79 says:

    I follow you to the extent we limit the discussion to the domestic NSA efforts that he exposed. Where I lose you is with his selective release of documents/informations designed to embarass/undermine our intelligence efforts overseas. Throw that in with him cozying up to the hyper-duplicitous Putin regime and it all starts to get pretty suspicious.

    But honestly, who here (on the FP or in the comments) is saying that they’re upset that the NSA’s highly-suspect domestic surveillance efforts are being exposed?

  15. 15
    Lynn Dee says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    It really doesn’t, does it? Just because NSA apparently had its head up its ass doesn’t mean Snowden isn’t a self-absorbed tool.

  16. 16
    Betty Cracker says:

    Hear, hear. My concern is that people who oppose NSA reform will use Snowden’s special guest appearance on Vlad & Friends to block needed changes at the NSA.

  17. 17

    then why the fuck did the NSA give him a clearance that allowed him to make off with a trove of documents?

    Because we don’t believe in government anymore, we believe in privatizing that shit out to contractors that hire douches like Snowden.

    Snowden is a sideshow.

    Motivations are important in assessing one’s actions. What was the purpose of leaking the documents and heading off to China with the hard drives? Was he purely concerned with reformation of the US security apparatus or was he trying to embarrass the United States and paint our government and our own intelligence gathering operations as uniquely evil while overlooking and…

    Oh forget it, it’s not worth rehashing all of this again.

  18. 18
    Cacti says:

    Bloomberg, a reasonably reputable media outlet, has not retracted the story. Given the NSA’s track record on denials, I think that waiting a couple of weeks to see how this shakes out is reasonable.

    And this, dear reader, is what we call confirmation bias.

    Like the creationists, mistermix isn’t bothered by a lack of evidence, because he just knows in his heart that it’s true.

  19. 19
    RepubAnon says:

    I expect part of the reason that the NSA doesn’t protect us from hackers is the old Bletchley Park / Enigma logic of only using the information gathered for “important” things. During WW2, information gained from decrypting coded German transmissions was not used indiscriminately – it was only used if the information related to something significant. The intent was to avoid having the Germans realize that the Allies had broken their codes. If the NSA gave law enforcement information leading to the arrest of criminal hackers, their methods might be revealed in court. Far easier to hide one’s methods if one were to, say, tip off law enforcement to try and pull over a car with a specific license plate and search it

    For the more cynical – well, knowledge is power. If one only shares one’s knowledge grudgingly, one’s power is enhanced. This is especially true if the knowledge includes things about the folks on the oversight committee would prefer to keep quiet.

  20. 20
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Cacti: You and Cassidy never link to any of the supposed “evidence” that you mention constantly. How about a link to some “evidence” that is not the “evidence” I cited above, namely, the NSA’s denial? If there is such “evidence”, let’s see it.

    Otherwise it is, as I posted above, a question of whether you believe Bloomberg’s sources or the NSA’s denial. Why do you believe the NSA’s denial? Their budget is bigger?

  21. 21
    David in NY says:

    Thank you re Snowden.

    @Omnes Omnibus: And thank you for agreeing (I think).

  22. 22
    Raught says:

    Three things.

    1) “Everyone seems to finally agree…” What’s that “finally” doing in there? I have yet to see anyone question if these were actual NSA documents. Questioning their veracity and/or interpretation is NOT the same thing. Stop being a douche.

    2) Why give him clearance then, if he’s a traitor now? Really? Same argument as with guns. Everyone’s a law-abiding gun owner, until they’re not. We’re not going to ban all guns, including for cops & military, based on occasionally getting it wrong. You do the best you can, and hope for the best. That is NOT TO SAY in this particular case we did the best we could.

    3) Regardless of whether you think the NSA is money well spent, why do you think they should have been seeking out software bugs? That’s not their job. You seem more than happy to become incensed at other activities they perform when you believe it’s not their job. Why is this OK?

  23. 23

    I am more worried about Putin and his designs, than Snowden and the NSA leaks.

  24. 24
    Cassidy says:

    @Cacti: My favorite part is how these half wits started off with how great Snowden and Greenwald are, paragons of progressive virtue, etc….now it’s not about them and why can’t we just talk about the NSA. I loathe liberaltarians almost as much as I do conservatives.

  25. 25
    Cassidy says:

    @kbuttle: Because I’m an optimist.

  26. 26
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The NSA has wanted back doors they could use at will in civilian cryptography FOREVER. Remember the Clipper Chip? So it’s absolutely believable that the NSA knew about Heartbleed and used it to do whatever the fuck it wanted. There was a time when the NSA operated within the rules, but 9/11 changed all that, in part due to the fact that the rules were deemed “quaint” by the warmongering scum of the deserting coward malasstration.. Obama has been busy cleaning the Augean stables for five years and has only recently been able to address this huge pile of shit.

    It’s a mess, for sure, but the NSA has ALWAYS wanted the capability to break any crypto out there not under their total control because that’s what they do.

  27. 27
    Cacti says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix:

    You and Cassidy never link to any of the supposed “evidence” that you mention constantly. How about a link to some “evidence” that is not the “evidence” I cited above, namely, the NSA’s denial?

    Okay, so your basic position is that the NSA needs to prove a negative?

    You’re all ass backwards here mixy. Bloomberg made a serious allegation, and cited nothing tangible or independently verifiable for their position. The burden of proof is theirs, otherwise we’re entering flying spaghetti monster territory. Maybe FSM was their unnamed source close to the matter.

  28. 28
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Belafon:

    You really shouldn’t leave yourself open like this: Snowden was cleared by the same company that cleared the Navy yard shooter.

    Is that an argument for something? Perhaps they shouldn’t have cleared the Navy Yard shooter, either? I don’t get your point.

    Even if you don’t accept that the vetting was an issue, that’s just the start of the NSA’s laxness with regards to Snowden. The number of documents he collected and made off with was not the work of a couple of hours or days. He was apparently not authorized to view some of those documents. So, his network access either wasn’t monitored, or if it was monitored, the logging of was not reviewed. If he used the credentials of others to get those documents, then there was a breakdown in NSA’s authentication system. That’s the point here, that drilling in on how nefarious Snowden is completely ignores why the NSA gave such a nefarious agent unmonitored access to a good part of their network.

  29. 29
    MaximusNYC says:

    @Cacti:

    Like the creationists, mistermix isn’t bothered by a lack of evidence, because he just knows in his heart that it’s true.

    Wha? The evidence has already been presented. Mistermix is suggesting that maybe you should pay attention to what’s been reported. You are the one who believes, like a creationist, that it must be merely a false snare of Satan, and that we must hold fast to faith in Mother Church NSA.

  30. 30
    cmorenc says:

    @Lynn Dee:

    It really doesn’t, does it? Just because NSA apparently had its head up its ass doesn’t mean Snowden isn’t a self-absorbed tool.

    The real problem many commenters have with Snowden is analogous to Dr. Hannibel Lechter being the one to reveal corruption in the FDA and meat-packing industry which knowingly allowed seriously contaminated meat to be sold to the public. They can’t get past the unsavory character and motives of the person to consider the substantive merits of his revealations, and wind up focusing more on the indiscriminate damage the revealations do to America’s meat industry than focusing on the indiscriminate damage done to consumers.

  31. 31
    Cacti says:

    @MaximusNYC:

    Wha? The evidence has already been presented.

    Really? Evidence was presented that NSA knew about heartbleed years before it was publicly disclosed?

    So, where is it then?

  32. 32
    Cassidy says:

    @Cacti: Don’t bother dude. You’re talking to a liberaltarian, the “progressive” equivalent of a fundamentalist whack job. Don’t forget, this is the same knucklehead who devoted digital space to his complaint that people were traveling around a holiday and making him have to wait in line all while trying to cover it in some “security theatre” nonsense. Just keep pointing and laughing.

  33. 33
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Raught:

    1) “Everyone seems to finally agree…” What’s that “finally” doing in there? I have yet to see anyone question if these were actual NSA documents. Questioning their veracity and/or interpretation is NOT the same thing. Stop being a douche.

    Go back to the first few posts about the leaks here and read the comments. There was a lot of denial. I guess it’s “being a douche” to remind people that they got it wrong at the beginning.

  34. 34
    Belafon says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix: Raught said it better than I did: With some level of checking, we assume that the person isn’t going to do something until they do. At the same time, my point is that the company that let Snowden through wasn’t exactly doing it’s job. You’re the one who brought up “he must have been OK, they let him through.” I’m just providing a bit of evidence that suggests that not everything was up to snuff with respect to his clearance.

    (“up to snuff”: I love it when my brain randomly pulls out an idiom I have not used in ever, but read or heard a long time ago.)

  35. 35
    Cassidy says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix: I’m not a douche, more of an asshole, but I don’t mind reminding you that you’re almost always wrong.

  36. 36
    Amir Khalid says:

    With the No Such Agency, you have to wonder if enough of what it does is on the public record, where the return it gives on the taxpayer’s money can be properly assessed. Or they could tell you what they do, but then they’d have to …

    Off topic, but it may be of interest to some here: Malaysian lawyer and opposition politician Karpal Singh was killed in a highway collision between the minivan he was riding in and a truck. Karpal Singh, a former chairman of the Democratic Action Party and known as “the Tiger of Jelutong” (the constituency he first represented in Parliament), was 74.

  37. 37
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Cacti:

    Okay, so your basic position is that the NSA needs to prove a negative?

    You’re all ass backwards here mixy. Bloomberg made a serious allegation, and cited nothing tangible or independently verifiable for their position. The burden of proof is theirs, otherwise we’re entering flying spaghetti monster territory. Maybe FSM was their unnamed source close to the matter.

    News organizations report things all the time based on two anonymous sources, and based on whatever else was supplied to them by those sources. I’m saying that the history of this story is that the reporting has been right, in general, so I’m adopting a wait-and-see attitude. As soon as you see the NSA’s denial, you assume it’s a fact. It’s that simple, no matter how many ill-thought-out ad hominems you bring to the table.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Cassidy:

    I’m not a douche, more of an asshole, but I don’t mind reminding you that you’re almost always wrong.

    Again, no links, no examples, just your usual time-wasting and incessant trolling. If you would change your one-note song on occasion you might rise to the level of asshole, but right now you’re just a boor.

  40. 40
    Cacti says:

    @Cassidy:

    I’m not a douche, more of an asshole, but I don’t mind reminding you that you’re almost always wrong

    I notice that he still hasn’t touched his “how dare the NSA gather intel on Chinese corporations” train wreck from a couple of weeks ago.

  41. 41
    Cassidy says:

    Uh oh. Looks like someone has his panties twited! “I do to still have credibility after writing a whiny post based on unconfirmed sources!!!”

  42. 42
    Raught says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix: I did read those posts at the time, as well as the comments. Sadly, I read most of the comments here. What I am saying is, I recall no one saying “Those aren’t real NSA documents.” Perhaps I missed a nutcase or two who thought the NSA would pursue someone for not stealing documents, but I doubt it.

  43. 43
    Cassidy says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix: You are so defensive. Reminds me of a gun fetishist when you talk about gun control.

  44. 44
    Aardvark Cheeselog says:

    Second, NSA and Heartbleed: Yes, it has been denied by the NSA that they knew about Heartbleed for years before it was publicly disclosed. Bloomberg, a reasonably reputable media outlet, has not retracted the story. Given the NSA’s track record on denials, I think that waiting a couple of weeks to see how this shakes out is reasonable.

    Today I noticed that Tor merited its own link in my Technology section on Google News. When I clicked through to see what was going on, I found a blizzard of items about how Heartbleed affects Tor, and how Tor is blacklisting vulnerable nodes.

    I immediately remembered seeing a bunch of stuff from the Snowden leaks (I thought) about what a hard time the spooks have tracing stuff through Tor, and concluded that either NSA did not know about Heartbleed, or the left hand was kept ignorant of what the right hand was doing.

  45. 45
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Plus he stole one of his co-worker’s passwords.

    If someone stole my Gmail password they could not access my Gmail account, because I’ve enabled two-factor authentication. You need a password and a code generated by my smartphone to log in to my account on a new computer.

    Google does it, yet the NSA, with their billions, didn’t do this on their network.

  46. 46
    Cassidy says:

    @Cacti: I’m just waiting for him to revert back to deleting comments that are critical of him.

  47. 47
    Cacti says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix:

    so I’m adopting a wait-and-see attitude

    Yes, your measured circumspection was apparent in your post title “Completely Out of Control”.

    lol

  48. 48
    Eric U. says:

    @tesslibrarian: that is so delusional. The Tea Party wants the NSA/feds/cops to spy on everyone but them.

    I am definitely conflicted about Snowden’s leaks. Of course, something like 95% of the breathless stories are about perfectly legal efforts to spy on non-U.S. citizens. But it’s definitely moving things towards fixing what is wrong with the NSA and Patriot Act. For one thing, it seems clear that what they are doing is a colossal waste of money. I don’t have a lot of faith that anything will come of it except around the margins.

  49. 49

    What I find odd is that people that want to focus on the merits and not the trappings and motivations can’t help themselves from trolling people for caring about the trappings.

  50. 50
    Mnemosyne says:

    If you believe they didn’t find it, then what the fuck are we spending billions of dollars for them to do?

    You do realize that this is a completely different argument than the one you’ve been making for the past several months, right? I happen to think that it’s the right argument to be making — i.e. that all of this data collection is a massive waste of time and money that could be better spent elsewhere — but it’s a very different argument than claiming that all of our rights are being massively violated and we’re living in a police state.

  51. 51
    chopper says:

    As I’ve said many times before, my interest in Snowden is confined to two things: Are his leaks legit, and what his ability to leak shows about the NSA.

    i admit, this made me LOL.

  52. 52
    MaximusNYC says:

    The scandal in all this is not just about violations of civil liberties — it’s about massive waste and corruption in private government contracting, of a kind that is extra hard to root out because it’s shielded by national security secrecy.

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Good point.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix:

    Google does it, yet the NSA, with their billions, didn’t do this on their network.

    So, to be clear, your company email, which is owned and operated by your company, uses two-factor identification from your desktop inside your office? Or are you talking about your personal email, which is not quite the same thing?

    The Giant Evil Corporation I work for uses a combination of Microsoft Exchange and Google Mail. Neither one of those programs uses a two-step authentication from inside the corporation’s offices, though it is available when people are working remotely from outside the office.

    Please let me know what company or government office uses two-step secure authentication inside their offices when using their own network from their own computers.

  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @David in NY: I have always thought that Snowden was a libertarian douche. Not a fan of Greenwald either. All that aside, I think that warrantless surveillance is a problem, and, to the extent that Snowden brought it into public discussion, he has done a service. OTOH releasing info about foreign intelligence gathering by the NSA is not, IMO, a good thing.

  56. 56
    Cacti says:

    Here’s Snowden’s explanation for why he questioned Putin, for what it’s worth.

    Not much.

    Lapdog still allowed to bark in the western media to give a fig leaf of cover to this latest charade.

    Ask Anna Politkovskaya’s family what happens when you start asking unscripted questions about Putinist policies.

  57. 57
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne: This is an excellent point, and one that should be a primary focus of our concern about NSA. The capabilities have always been there…the question is, are the capabilities really all that useful? Everyone talks about data mining and keyword searches and so forth, but come on…gleaning actually useful stuff is difficult, at best, and furthermore, if the politicians using the product ignore what doesn’t fit their agenda (which we saw umpteen times during the deserting coward malasstration) what good is collecting it?

    Not to mention the treasure expended for nothingburgers. But it allows the private contractors to buy a new BMW every year, so there’s that.

  58. 58
    lol says:

    I’m guessing mistermix and other Snowden supporters would have believed Jonathan Pollard’s claims that he was acting out of a misguided sense of patriotism and that he was just a very concerned Jew.

    Spies claiming to be whistleblowers to get some sort of leniency isn’t new.

  59. 59
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mnemosyne: The smallish company I work for maintains a fair amount of sensitive personal information as part of our work. While we do not employ two-factor authentication for our Exchange/Outlook for inside computers, we do employ two-factor authentication for administrative access to the personal information databases, as well as other privileged devices/services. This is not terribly controversial or unusual.

  60. 60
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Raught:

    I did read those posts at the time, as well as the comments. Sadly, I read most of the comments here. What I am saying is, I recall no one saying “Those aren’t real NSA documents.” Perhaps I missed a nutcase or two who thought the NSA would pursue someone for not stealing documents, but I doubt it.

    Your memory is accurate. Mix pulled that out of his ass.

  61. 61
    Gorgon Zola says:

    @Cacti: I don’t always agree with Cacti, but when I do …

    I find it hard to accept any scoops that are based solely on anonymous sources. I used to be a little more catholic in my skepticism, but then I read I very persuasive argument against anonymity….

  62. 62
    C.V. Danes says:

    From what we’ve seen so far, one thing the NSA spends a lot of money on is overpaid contractors who charge exhorbitant fees for employing unvetted high-school graduates like Snowden.

    And we should hope they continue to do so, or else this conversation would still be constrained to the tin foil hat crowd.

    My view is not that the NSA shouldn’t have been looking for the bug–it’s that they should have been looking, should have found it, and should have disclosed it at some point shortly after they found it.

    That might be your view. Their view is that they need unrestricted access to all systems, by hook or crook, if necessary. They are not the friends of the security community. They are the enemy of the security community.

    If you believe they didn’t find it, then what the fuck are we spending billions of dollars for them to do?

    “We” are not the ones spending billions of dollars. Those billions of dollars are being spent by elected representatives who are in thrall to the intelligence community, and who do not what to be seen as soft on terrorism lest another 9/11 happens on their watch.

    The NSA is wasting our money while at the same time threatening our current dominance in the world of cloud computing (by making it look like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are under their thumb)…

    News flash: Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are under their thumb. It would be silly to think otherwise.

    Snowden is a sideshow.

    Yes. An effective intelligence strategy is to decoy and confuse the issue until no one knows what the real issues are. This is the NSA doing what it perceives to be its job.

  63. 63
    dubo says:

    Unfortunately, as long as we let ourselves be ruled by Mike Rogerses and David Brookses, we’ll continue to have the Snowdens and Greenwalds we deserve, not the Snowdens and Greenwalds we need

  64. 64
    Anton Sirius says:

    Are his leaks legit

    If by “legit” you mean “proven to have come from the NSA”, then yes, sure. There was some vague noise early about the first couple of PP decks Greenwald released being faked or modified or whatever, but no one’s seriously disputed that the documents are from the NSA.

    If by “legit” you mean “demonstrating NSA malfeasance”, then for the most part no, they aren’t legit.

    That’s always been an issue in this debate. People such as yourself continually conflate the mere existence of the documents with the most outrage-inducing possible interpretations of what those documents might mean.

    That’s one of the main reasons why Greenwald and Snowden’s motives get dragged into the debate time and again, because too many folks seem to unquestioningly swallow the unsupported interpretations they offer up.

    You are hooked on their fear-mongering right now, mix. Your horror at the idea that the NSA might be spying on China – gasp! – proved that beyond any doubt. Until you take a step back from that fear-mongering, the motives and actions of the fear-mongers will be thrown in your face at every opportunity.

    You want the debate to move past Greenwald and Snowden? Stop shilling for them. It’s that simple.

  65. 65
    C.V. Danes says:

    @C.V. Danes: This is me, by the way. Not sure why it labeled me as “undefined”

  66. 66

    @Gorgon Zola:

    I find it hard to accept any scoops that are based solely on anonymous sources. I used to be a little more catholic in my skepticism, but then I read I very persuasive argument against anonymity….

    That seems to me to be an argument addressed to news orgs not to cite anonymous sources, rather than addressed to readers not to trust such reports.

    For readers, the rules haven’t changed: if the reporter/org is generally reputable and the anonymous source is saying something their employer really doesn’t want said, benefit of the doubt goes to the report. Most anonymous sourcing today doesn’t meet that standard, of course.

  67. 67
    Anton Sirius says:

    News organizations report things all the time based on two anonymous sources, and based on whatever else was supplied to them by those sources

    And get routinely mocked on this very blog for doing so.

    Why was it OK for Bloomberg to do it in this case?

  68. 68
    Cassidy says:

    Why was it OK for Bloomberg to do it in this case?

    Because NSA and reasons!

  69. 69
    boatboy_srq says:

    From what we’ve seen so far, one thing the NSA spends a lot of money on is overpaid contractors who charge exhorbitant fees for employing unvetted high-school graduates

    Welcome to the Beltway. Requirements for employment: three firing neurons.

    There’s a perfectly good reason that Congress can convince itself that the only US residents who are still in need of handouts unemployment assistance, SNAP, TANF etc are Teh Layzee Poors – in metro DC you really have to want not to have a job to not have one. Unqualification/Underqualification is omnipresent, from the admins who can’t read/spell/type to the IT professionals who think FSMO is a soft drink to the accountants who believe Great Plains is some nameless Midwestern state, the level of incompetence that gets rewarded with ridiculous salaries is breathtaking. NSA (and by extension Booz Allen and the other outsourcers) is just one instance. This covers Snowden, his employers, and the clearinghouse used to run his (and their) background checks. There are plenty of talented, capable professionals in the area – but holding a job inside the Beltway isn’t confirmation of talent or capacity in itself.

    The one thing that the “gubmint is the problem” volk continue to miss is this: for public sector employment, past a certain basic level, the ability to do the job one is hired to do is a requirement; for private sector employment on a public sector contract, the ability to bill the public sector for the work is the requirement, and the ability to do the job is secondary to that. This makes the contractor less focused on doing the work and more focused on squeezing the most billables out of the contract. The cost savings on outsourcing is derived in no small part from the fact that the outsourcers aren’t obligated to provide provable skills in the same way the public sector agency contracting with them would.

  70. 70
    RandomMonster says:

    @Anton Sirius:

    That’s always been an issue in this debate. People such as yourself continually conflate the mere existence of the documents with the most outrage-inducing possible interpretations of what those documents might mean.

    That’s one of the main reasons why Greenwald and Snowden’s motives get dragged into the debate time and again, because too many folks seem to unquestioningly swallow the unsupported interpretations they offer up.

    THIS has always been the issue for me. What pisses me off about some of the FP’ers here is that merely bringing this up as a question gets turned into an accusation that you hate Greenwald for some trite reason, or your an NSA apologist, or an America Fuck Yeah flag-waiver. It totally misses the point that Greenwald makes outrageous claims purely to sell stories.

  71. 71
    kc says:

    @Cassidy:

    Bullshit.

  72. 72
    Lynn Dee says:

    @cmorenc:

    The real problem many commenters have with Snowden is analogous to Dr. Hannibel Lechter being the one to reveal corruption in the FDA and meat-packing industry which knowingly allowed seriously contaminated meat to be sold to the public. They can’t get past the unsavory character and motives of the person to consider the substantive merits of his revealations, and wind up focusing more on the indiscriminate damage the revealations do to America’s meat industry than focusing on the indiscriminate damage done to consumers.

    Maybe that’s true. I don’t know. I don’t follow the comments enough to have a sense of whether Snowden’s being used as an excuse not to deal with the revelations. But, it’s not the way I think about it, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

    But I really do think Snowden’s a tool, and when I see something completely lame-ass like “so why did the NSA give him a clearance?! what about that?” — well, it just annoys me.

  73. 73
    chopper says:

    @RandomMonster:

    wait, are you saying that we don’t factor in GG’s gayness in determining whether to listen to him or not? when did this happen?!

  74. 74
    RandomMonster says:

    @chopper:

    wait, are you saying that we don’t factor in GG’s gayness in determining whether to listen to him or not? when did this happen?!

    I guess the Obot Messaging System let you down!

  75. 75
    Cacti says:

    @Infamous Heel-Filcher:

    For readers, the rules haven’t changed: if the reporter/org is generally reputable and the anonymous source is saying something their employer really doesn’t want said, benefit of the doubt goes to the report.

    Ummm, no the benefit of the doubt does not go to the unsourced report.

    Reputable news is made reputable by the fact that it can be verified independently. Otherwise, the story falls into the category of rumor.

  76. 76
    dubo says:

    @Anton Sirius: Granting anonymity to someone because they have worthwhile information that should be public but may face retaliation for revealing it: OK. Granting anonymity so someone can spew obvious establishment-supporting falsehoods or propaganda but is too cowardly to attach their name to it: not OK.

    This really isn’t hard to grasp

  77. 77
    Heliopause says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Hear, hear. My concern…

    is strictly with the petty dramas playing out in your head and has nothing to do with the security state. That was plainly demonstrated by your ridiculous post yesterday; even the lowest-grade knuckle-dragger could see that Snowden’s question was a mirror of Wyden’s to Clapper, which as you know had the effect of making Clapper look like an idiot in spite of its being “softball.” Since low-IQ types were failing to make the obvious connection Snowden had to write an op-ed that lays it all out in a plain manner that maybe even the simple-minded can comprehend.

    So, Snowden has now called out Putin to his face. Not that this will alter your opinions, since it’s obvious that you don’t care about the underlying issues but merely your own fraught emotional drama.

  78. 78
    marduk says:

    @Heliopause:

    Snowden has now called out Putin to his face.

    L M A O

  79. 79
    Anton Sirius says:

    @dubo:

    Granting anonymity so someone can spew obvious establishment-supporting falsehoods or propaganda but is too cowardly to attach their name to it: not OK.

    So we agree then that the Bloomberg report should be mocked. Cool.

  80. 80
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Heliopause: Oh yeah, Snowden really called Putin out to his face, didn’t he? Why, I bet Putin had no idea the question was even coming! It was a live call-in show, after all.

    God, you really are a gullible little twatwaffle. I hope you don’t leave home without your name and address pinned to your coat.

  81. 81
    JoyfulA says:

    Snowden isn’t a high school graduate. He dropped out.

    Security clearances were outsourced long ago. The primary contractor recently admitted not really bothering to do the clearance work. Hence, nobody with a security clearance has really been cleared.

  82. 82
    Cacti says:

    @Heliopause:

    So, Snowden has now called out Putin to his face

    The leading cause of death for independent journalists in the Russian Federation is homicide.

    But yeah, Ed’s appearance on Russian state television was a totes unscripted truth to power moment.

    Did it hurt when you fell off the turnip truck?

  83. 83
    Anton Sirius says:

    One more thing I want to bring up that I don’t think has been addressed much in the wake of Heartbleed:

    Greenwald and his supporters have made a lot of hay out of an apparent contradiction, that people would both dismiss his wildest charges against the NSA as ridiculous while also agreeing that Snowden’s document dump would damage US intelligence interests. How could the documents do any damage unless GG’s accusations were true?

    Well, we now have an answer to that conundrum. Google discovered Heartbleed a while ago, and didn’t trust the government enough to let them in on it while they worked to fix it.

    Would that information have been shared in a world where Edward Snowden didn’t steal a bunch of NSA docs? I dunno. But the relationship between US intelligence and the private sector has undoubtedly been hurt by all the sturm und drang generated by the story, and certainly didn’t make Google more pre-disposed to share the bug with anyone in the government.

  84. 84
    ShadeTail says:

    As I’ve said many times before, my interest in Snowden is confined to two things: Are his leaks legit, and what his ability to leak shows about the NSA.

    Good for you. I actually agree, I couldn’t care less about Snowden himself. But other people have interests beyond ours, and that’s entirely legit, whether you like it or not. It is entirely legit to ask what Snowden’s motives really were in the first place. It is entirely legit to ask why Snowden fled where he fled to after the fact. It is entirely legit to ask what arrangement(s) Snowden has with Putin.

    I don’t really care about any of that. Neither do you. But other people do. Stop getting pissy about it.

  85. 85
    Wapiti says:

    Just as we now have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to actually protect us somewhat from the banks – since the SEC wouldn’t, we need an equivalent Bureau to actually protect us from hackers, scammers, automated phone calls, etc., because the NSA won’t.

  86. 86
    Kristin says:

    @marduk: I love these attempts to re-cast Snowden’s performance as some sort of 11 dimensional chess. Marcy Wheeler tried the same. To them, their hero is infallible. (Also, if they ever admit he’s mis-stepped, they might have to rethink their own positions.)

  87. 87
    Keith G says:

    @dedc79:

    Where I lose you is with his selective release of….

    That comment is not tethered to the real world. Snowden has turned over “his” documents to those reporters/middlemen. They are the ones sifting through the information and releasing it on their timetable. Therefore the release of this information is done under the decision making of people other than Snowden.

    This has been widely reported.

  88. 88
    Cacti says:

    I love these attempts to re-cast Snowden’s performance as some sort of 11 dimensional chess. Marcy Wheeler tried the same. To them, their hero is infallible.

    While also completely overlooking the fact that Snowden’s temporary asylum expires in July, and a felony indictment awaits him if he’s expelled from the Russian Federation in 3 months.

    Given that avoiding prosecution has been among his chief concerns, I’d say that he has a fairly strong incentive of going along to get along with his host.

  89. 89
    Zandar says:

    “Snowden is a sideshow”

    Insofar as there are two separate arguments here, that is A) “What role should the NSA play in America and how can we enforce that the NSA remains in that role when they are a covert organization with next to zero transparency” and B) “Did Edward Snowden really have no other choice but to break the law in order to expose the NSA’s practices”, you are correct.

    My problem is the people who say “A justified B, and therefore Snowden is a hero” and then when Snowden does something like this, immediately respond with “Snowden is not the argument.”

    I’m not saying mistermix does this. I agree Snowden himself and his conduct are a much much much smaller issue than the NSA repeatedly not telling the truth and doing whatever the hell they feel like, because NSA LOL.

    But there are people that not only want it both ways, they conflate the two arguments to begin with, and that’s making any realistic discussion on A) very difficult.

  90. 90

    @Kristin:

    I love these attempts to re-cast Snowden’s performance as some sort of 11 dimensional chess. Marcy Wheeler tried the same. To them, their hero is infallible. (Also, if they ever admit he’s mis-stepped, they might have to rethink their own positions.)

    Have you considered the possibility that even despite being a bumbling fuckup, Snowden’s gotten more achieved than you with your thumb stuck primly up your ass?

    Somebody like Marcy Wheeler can’t afford to pass up an opening in the public discourse for what they’ve been shrilly pointing out for a decade. And yes, I dearly wish that Snowden had Wheeler’s digging skills — that way we might have gotten more than powerpoint slides before he had to skip town.

  91. 91
    brantl says:

    @Cacti: Oh, bullshit. Bloomberg is reputable, and deserves the benefit of the doubt. The NSA , not so much.

  92. 92
    Cacti says:

    @brantl:

    Oh, bullshit. Bloomberg is reputable, and deserves the benefit of the doubt. The NSA , not so much.

    The Bible is reputable and deserves the benefit of the doubt. Heathen scientists, not so much.

  93. 93

    @Cacti:

    The Bible is reputable and deserves the benefit of the doubt. Heathen scientists, not so much.

    I, too, am impressed by how conscientiously the authors of the Bible retract claims which are later shown to be false.

  94. 94
    Cacti says:

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    Unless they speak to the confirmation bias of Edward Snowden fans.

  95. 95
    Kristin says:

    @Infamous Heel-Filcher: Ad hominem attack. I’ve seen that used before. If only I could remember where…

  96. 96
    Kristin says:

    @Cacti: It seems far more likely that someone realized that Snowden’s appearance with Putin was not going to do him any favors, so he wrote the Guardian piece to cover his trail after the fact, knowing that it won’t be read in Russia. So, Putin gets what he wants and Snowden gets to claim that he actually called Putin out.

    It’s not 11 dimensional chess. It’s just him thinking, “oh shit” after the deed is already done.

    But, then again, as a complete internet stranger knows, I’ve never accomplished anything in my life, especially compared to Snowden, so I should just shut up.

  97. 97
    Calming Influence says:

    I would have stopped here:

    1) “[M]y interest in Snowden is confined to two things: Are his leaks legit, and what his ability to leak shows about the NSA.

    2) “Snowden is a sideshow.”

    There are the leaks. There is Snowden. On a scale of importance, the leaks are 100. Snowden is 1.5, maybe 2. Here’s a mental exercise: pretend the leaks fell off a truck.

    What Snowden did, why he did it, where his heart lies, patriot or scoundrel, whether he’s a true hero or whether he should hang?

    Because of government lies and secrets:

    During the Iraq War, 4,475 U.S. service members were killed and 32,220 were wounded; in Afghanistan, 2,165 have been killed and 18,230 wounded through Feb. 5, 2013.
    Among service members deployed in these conflicts, 103,792 were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over the period 2002 to December 2012. Over that same period, 253,330 service members were diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) of some kind.
    As a result of battle injuries in the Iraq War, 991 service members received wounds that required amputations; 797 lost major limbs, such as a leg. In Afghanistan, 724 have had to undergo amputations, with 696 losing a major limb.

    I just can’t get too worked up about Snowden.

  98. 98
    Cacti says:

    @Kristin:

    But, then again, as a complete internet stranger knows, I’ve never accomplished anything in my life, especially compared to Snowden, so I should just shut up.

    As Betty astutely pointed out yesterday, Ernesto Miranda forever changed the US criminal justice system.

    It didn’t make him something other than a bottom feeding criminal scumbag though.

  99. 99
    Kristin says:

    @Cacti: Right, so even if I’m a bottom feeding criminal scumbag, it doesn’t mean my opinions on Snowden (or Marcy Wheeler) are wrong. ;-)

  100. 100
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Zandar:

    My problem is the people who say “A justified B, and therefore Snowden is a hero” and then when Snowden does something like this, immediately respond with “Snowden is not the argument.”

    I’m not saying mistermix does this. I agree Snowden himself and his conduct are a much much much smaller issue than the NSA repeatedly not telling the truth and doing whatever the hell they feel like, because NSA LOL.

    I’m glad you’re not saying that I do this, and I agree with what you’re saying here. I don’t think Snowden is a hero, and never have. But since there are a couple of commenters here who think I do, I occasionally write a clarifying post, like this one.

  101. 101
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Lynn Dee:

    But I really do think Snowden’s a tool, and when I see something completely lame-ass like “why did the NSA give him a clearance?! what about that?” — well, it just annoys me.

    See, this I don’t get. The one thing that isn’t a sideshow about Snowden is how the guy got a clearance, and more importantly, how he was able to pilfer a bunch of information without being caught. In other words, how are we supposed to protect ourselves from future Snowdens? There are many more like him in the world, tool or not. From this comment it seems like not treating him like some kind of one-off is somehow incorrect. That makes no sense to me.

  102. 102
    NCSteve says:

    Well, yeah, I suppose Powerpoint presentations count as “documents” in roughly the same way that tatertots count as “food.” But, unlike the things we old people call “documents” in the absence of the actual words of the presenter, they’re kind of open to interpretation now, aren’t they?

    And if you happen to be A Journalist (indeed, he should be known as The Journalist from now on) with a special knack for writing stories that lead readers to draw inferences not warranted by the source material, which they then thereafter consider to be a thing you actually said while simultaneously leaving you with “hey, I never said that!” deniability, that’s a very handy thing, indeed.

  103. 103

    @Kristin:

    Ad hominem attack. I’ve seen that used before. If only I could remember where…

    An ad-hominem attack would have been that you’re wrong because you’re prim and proper. No, there’s you being wrong (for example, about Marcy Wheeler et al thinking Snowden is infallible) and there’s my armchair psychological evaluation of why you’d come to think this wrong thing and decide to attack people who are actually putting themselves out there (and in Snowden’s case, putting their life itself at risk) trying to make things better.

  104. 104
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Mistermix, what happened is that the NSA used to be the place to go for cryptography, math, even computer nerds but then Silicon Valley happened and there are all these great projects, great job prospects, etc for these people and they at this point are even outwardly hostile to government. After all, government sends hackers away for long prison terms, longer than for violent crimes. The government chose to become the tools of the Fortune 500 and fed into the hysteria of people who didn’t understand computers. Then you have DCMA and laws like that that overturned prior law about patents and stuff and replaced it with a bunch of shit that criminalized trying to figure out how stuff works (and, in another section, criminalized sharing things).

    So NSA just attracts a lower caliber. The guys at the top are GOP-plant shitheads who couldn’t run a dairy. And the contractors, yeah, they’re griftin’ griftin’ griftin’. Expansive secrecy laws make this true in every section of government having to do with national security.

    I find it TOTALLY plausible that the NSA was clueless. Hell, they’re not even the department tasked with chasing down this shit.

    And the F500 is more interested in imprisoning hackers that embarrass them than pushing through Congress to create a federal department (maybe in Justice or FBI) of elite counter hackers/security to work with companies to prevent and detect all of the state-sponsored industrial hacking/intellectual property theft that is going on (from China, Russia, etc).

    Remember when they imprisoned that kid who exposed the Steubenville rapists on social media? Great day for democracy!!!

  105. 105
    James Hare says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix: If the reporting on this topic has been accurate, why aren’t folks going to jail? Why would the Congress sit idly by while folks at the NSA consistently ignored the law? It’s not like Congress has no power here. They can dissolve the NSA if they felt like it. Yet instead of focusing on the Congress that enabled the behavior of the NSA we focus on the NSA and the civil servants working there. REAL F’N PRODUCTIVE!

    Congress retroactively legalized warrantless wiretapping and people didn’t do shit. That’s when the battle was lost. Snowden decided to get his fifteen minutes by violating his oaths and fucking his employer over. Sorry if I don’t have much respect for him. I have a great deal more respect for people like Ron Wyden and Russ Feingold who fought against this type of thing legally. Snowden sent all this misdirected rage the way of the NSA while letting the real crooks off the hook. Nobody at the NSA voted for the PATRIOT ACT or its re-authorization.

  106. 106
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Motivations are important in assessing one’s actions. What was the purpose of leaking the documents and heading off to China with the hard drives? Was he purely concerned with reformation of the US security apparatus or was he trying to embarrass the United States and paint our government and our own intelligence gathering operations as uniquely evil while overlooking and…

    Hardcore Ronulan, butthurt about the American voting public rejecting his Great White Hope decisively. Ron Paul ran on all this isolationist shit that really appealed to young people and Snowden decided he’s done talking about it, he’s going to do something about it. If you fuck with America’s national security apparatus then argle bargle freedom from tyranny. And Greenwald hates Obama so it’s really nothing for him to release info in a way to smear Obama even though it’s about stuff that happened under Bush before the Democrats got control of Congress and started reforming FISA.

    Greenwald had so many people fooled, though. So shocking to hear lifetime lefty marxist (scum™!) deny that Greenwald was a libertarian and wax about his liberal bonafides. Bull fucking shit. Nothing more than an embarrassed Republican with white supremacist sympathies. No surprise he hate Obama and attacks him relentlessly.

  107. 107
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Wow, bingo with this post. When I graduated college, if you were a math geek there weren’t many places to go, but the NSA would take out full-page recruiting ads. In the last two decades, you go either to the Valley or to Wall Street, get better toys, make a ton more money and work on stuff just as cool. If you’re good, you’re at Google or Goldman; if you’re mediocre, well, there’s always the NSA.

  108. 108
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Aardvark Cheeselog:

    I immediately remembered seeing a bunch of stuff from the Snowden leaks (I thought) about what a hard time the spooks have tracing stuff through Tor, and concluded that either NSA did not know about Heartbleed, or the left hand was kept ignorant of what the right hand was doing.

    The last thing I remember about Tor was law enforcement catching a bunch of pedos on Tor although it’s conceivable that they used social engineering to identify them. To err is human.

  109. 109
    kc says:

    @James Hare:

    Why would the Congress sit idly by while folks at the NSA consistently ignored the law?

    Same reason it sat idly by while the Bush admin consistently ignored the law.

  110. 110
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @boatboy_srq:

    There’s a perfectly good reason that Congress can convince itself that the only US residents who are still in need of handouts unemployment assistance, SNAP, TANF etc are Teh Layzee Poors – in metro DC you really have to want not to have a job to not have one. Unqualification/Underqualification is omnipresent, from the admins who can’t read/spell/type to the IT professionals who think FSMO is a soft drink to the accountants who believe Great Plains is some nameless Midwestern state, the level of incompetence that gets rewarded with ridiculous salaries is breathtaking. NSA (and by extension Booz Allen and the other outsourcers) is just one instance. This covers Snowden, his employers, and the clearinghouse used to run his (and their) background checks. There are plenty of talented, capable professionals in the area – but holding a job inside the Beltway isn’t confirmation of talent or capacity in itself.

    Yeah, but you gotta be in the club, asshole. I’m not in it and I bet a lot of people here aren’t.

    Jobs for we but not for thee. We shit rainbows and puppy farts because we are us. You will never be one of us but it’s cute when you try.

    You also have to be a bullshitter. Part of why I left IT.

  111. 111
    James Hare says:

    @kc: That’s the thing — I don’t think the Congress ever thought he broke the law. They proved that in 2006 when they decided to change the law after the fact to legalize his lawbreaking.

  112. 112
    James Hare says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I wish I knew where to find these mystical government agencies that are handing out jobs like candy. I was unemployed for 6 months in 2012 in the Washington, DC area and never had a single federal recruiter calling me asking about my areas of incompetence and how I could collect a government salary and benefits while demonstrating said incompetence. I guess you’ve got to know the right people!

  113. 113
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @James Hare: We all know people – like Snowden – that manage to magically stay employed and get good jobs.

    I know this guy in my town, he is a crazy psycho who has gone to jail repeatedly for assault. Assaulting women and also assaulting his own cousin. Yet he still keeps popping up and gets good, well-paying jobs. It’s astounding! Snowden’s job history and salary–astounding!

    But those of us who don’t have the right friends, who aren’t cons and liars, etc, we spend months unemployed, miserable, and doubting ourselves.

    I’ve spent most of my life post college working for government and it is fucking hard to get a job! (Especially one matching your training and credentials.) Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

  114. 114
    lol says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    The people who get caught usually do something stupid that links their otherwise untraceable online persona to their very traceable meatspace one. In the case of the Silk Road’s Dread Pirate Roberts, he did a lot of early evangelizing/astroturfing for the site under his real name and later shipped stuff as DPR to a real-life address he used.

    The thing about Tor is that it’s not really encrypted or secret. It just anonymizes the source extremely well. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to blow all of that protection by logging into, say, your personal gmail account while using Tor to do other stuff. If you’re careful, you won’t get caught. But if you keep at it a long-time, you’re liable to get comfortable or slip-up and the Feds will be very patient waiting for you to do so.

  115. 115
    different-church-lady says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix:

    How about a link to some “evidence” that is not the “evidence” I cited above, namely, the NSA’s denial?

    A denial is evidence? Dude, I have no idea what intellectual yoga position you’re attempting, but it looks like a pretzel.

  116. 116
    Kristin says:

    @Infamous Heel-Filcher: Right. An ad hominem attack.

  117. 117
    Lynn Dee says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix:

    You misunderstand me. I’m not saying how Snowden got a clearance is a sideshow or that he’s a one-off.

    What I’m saying is that the fact he had a clearance doesn’t mean what he did wasn’t traitorous or that he should be absolved of what he did, which is what I understood you to be saying. Did I read you wrong?

  118. 118
    Fred Fnord says:

    @Cacti: Wow. So you believe that if the NSA says one thing, and a news report says something else, it is clearly and self-evidently a cognitive error to withhold judgement. In other words, when two organizations say opposite things, and neither of them has any evidence of their case, and one of them happens to be the NSA, it is literally insane not to believe the NSA.

    And you’re accusing someone else of cognitive bias. That’s… interesting.

  119. 119
    Cacti says:

    @Fred Fnord:

    In other words, when two organizations say opposite things, and neither of them has any evidence of their case

    A negative proof is a logical fallacy which takes the structure of:

    “X is true because there is no evidence that X false”.

    Using the standard the standard you propose, if I say Fred Fnord has congress with farm animals, or that “unnamed sources close to the matter” have told me this, and you deny it, our positions are of equal validity.

    Because, while I have not produced proof of your interspecies liasons, you haven’t produced proof that they don’t happen.

    Negative proof is a favorite tactic of religions and pseudosciences.

  120. 120
    El Tiburon says:

    @Betty Cracker: ha ha ha ha ha like they won’t pull some bullshit out of their a-holes. No, yourain concern is that you truly dislike (for whatever reason) Snowden and Greenwald.

  121. 121
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    Saint Edward of Moscow, hallowed be thy name, thy actions always immaculate. His apostle Judy Millermix shouting ‘But I was proved fucking right!’

  122. 122
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    And if they’re defending Snowden’s puppet show with Putin now, just wait’ll Saint Eddie starts pulling out the RAND 2016 signs.

  123. 123
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Lynn Dee:

    What I’m saying is that the fact he had a clearance doesn’t mean what he did wasn’t traitorous or that he should be absolved of what he did, which is what I understood you to be saying. Did I read you wrong?

    He did not have clearance to do what he did. He should be held accountable for what he did.

    The issue of how he was able to do it should be investigated, and the NSA personnel who were in charge of the lax and ineffective information security inside their network should also be held accountable.

    Make sense?

  124. 124
    Lynn Dee says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix:

    I agree with both of your statements. Is that all you were saying?

  125. 125
    smedley the uncertain says:

    @Cacti: Oh goody. The evil twins are talking to each other… Or, perhaps it’s all going on in the same head.
    The echos are horrendous.

  126. 126
    lol says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix:

    As I recall, the personnel that Snowden social-engineered passwords out of lost their clearance.

  127. 127
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Not quite: you’re describing the distinction between having a 1%er job – or a security-clearance-requiring job – and having a job in general, not the one between having a job and not having one. Other places, including JUST OUTSIDE the Beltway, follow the pattern you describe – but DC has a special skill at finding worthless excuses (“in the club” or not) to employ. Inside the Beltway is an Equal Opportunity Idiot Employer zone: race, creed, gender, political affiliation, etc. all get forgotten when there’s a requisition for new headcount. If your view of the nation goes fuzzy when you look past I-495, it’s very easy to miss all the ugliness in the job market because the one closer in is finding ways to place even the worst excuses for employees on a payroll somewhere.

    Example: I’m not “in the club” and I’ll admit I’m doing decently – and I know professional people from two separate employers, half a dozen interviews and a bucketful of conversations who couldn’t get a job as a street sweeper elsewhere, and they cross every in/out line you think you know.

  128. 128
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Lynn Dee: Yes.

Comments are closed.