NSA Chief Alexander: We Don’t Abuse Power, “And That’s No Bullshit”

“What you’re hearing is, ‘Well they could…’”
US News • Views: 18,095

Some interesting comments today from NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, speaking at the annual Black Hat cyber security conference in Las Vegas:

“What you’re hearing is, ‘Well they could…,’” NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander said, referring to claims, most notably by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that the agency could read the contents of Americans’ communications on a whim. “The fact is, they [NSA analysts] don’t. And if they did, our auditing tools would detect them and they would be held accountable, and they know that from the courses they take and the pledge that they made to this nation.”

Alexander did not say his agency wasn’t capable of collecting the contents of millions of Americans’ messages under a program that is designed to collect foreign intelligence, but said technical limitations imposed by the NSA, strict adherance to policy, oversight by other governmental organizations and using a process that is “100 percent” subject to audit and review keeps the analysts from overstepping their bounds. The NSA does collect metadata on communications inside the U.S. as part of a separate program but not the content.

Alexander noted a four-year review of the foreign content collection program, part of which is known as PRISM, by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence did not find a single “willful violation of the law or the intent of the law in this program.”

“We get all these allegations of what they could be doing, but when people check… they find zero times that that’s happened,” Alexander said. “And that’s no bulls***. Those are facts.”

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72 comments

1 Eclectic Cyborg  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 2:47:43pm

Great, this will surely trigger another Greenwald fear mongering piece.

2 Kragar  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 2:48:41pm

So far, the only person in this whole scandal who abused their powers has been Snowden.

3 erik_t  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 2:49:57pm

re: #2 Kragar

So far, the only person in this whole scandal who abused their powers has been Snowden.

Well, that’s the only one for which we have actual evidence at the moment.

I don’t want to swing too far here… I trust the director of the NSA, oh, maybe five times as far as I can throw him. This is more than I trust Greenbeck, but it’s still not terribly far.

4 Kragar  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 2:51:36pm

re: #3 erik_t

Well, that’s the only one for which we have actual evidence at the moment.

I don’t want to swing too far here… I trust the director of the NSA, oh, maybe five times as far as I can throw him. This is more than I trust Greenbeck, but it’s still not terribly far.

I do understand your sentiment.

How far can you trust a system where someone like Snowden got a job in the first place?

5 jaunte  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 2:52:11pm
And if they did, our auditing tools would detect them and they would be held accountable

If you’re a conspiracy theorist, you have to believe either that individual analysts are running amok, completely unsupervised, or that everyone at the NSA is in on the plot.

6 darthstar  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 2:52:29pm

The thing I was talking about yesterday.

7 freetoken  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 2:55:07pm

re: #5 jaunte

If you’re a conspiracy theorist, you have to believe either that individual analysts are running amok, completely unsupervised, or that everyone at the NSA is in on the plot.

Didn’t you know - all NSA employees are created at the special Nazi genomics lab in Brazil so they are soulless automatons that never question an order.

8 Charles Johnson  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 2:55:44pm

What I do believe is that the NSA has strict auditing tools to track abuse, and that there are serious penalties for unauthorized use of the system — and that analysts are very aware of these things.

9 Charles Johnson  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 2:59:43pm

So far we haven’t seen Greenwald post or even talk about any actual results from searches of these databases. I’m starting to doubt that Snowden has anything like that, because doing those kinds of searches would have triggered the auditing tools and given him away much sooner. What Snowden grabbed seems mostly to be internal documents, memos, training stuff, etc. — things he could get without accessing the classified DBs.

10 Kragar  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 2:59:47pm

I’ve work in a classified environment, both in the military and privately, basically my whole adult life. I’ve worked with hundred of people with clearances, all with access to secret materials. These are hard working people who are doing vital work to keep people safe.

For Greenwald to suggest these people are engaged in wide spread illegal activity is a slap in the face to every one of these people. Its beyond insulting.

11 engineer cat  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 2:59:57pm

Man who says demons attack him says we shouldn’t operate in a fantasyland

but enough about the archetypal wingnut

12 engineer cat  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:01:10pm

NSA Chief Alexander: We Don’t Abuse

and when we do we sure wouldn’t be talking about it in public

13 Political Atheist  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:01:24pm

This is a sharp reminder of reality from that same article. No less noble than a Marine KIA.

At one point in the speech, Alexander revealed that 20 or 6,000 NSA cryptologists sent to Iraq and Afghanistan had been killed in action and likened their mission abroad to the analysts’ mission at home.

“These are the same people, who take that same oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, are the ones who run these [surveillance] programs,” he said.

14 erik_t  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:02:14pm

re: #10 Kragar

For Greenwald to suggest these people are engaged in wide spread illegal activity is a slap in the face to every one of these people. Its beyond insulting.

And it is insulting to the intelligence of his readers to imply that each and every one of them (ok, except NOTED BRAVE HEROES Manning and Snowden) went along with it, each and every time.

See also too, every other large conspiracy theory ever. He might as well be telling us the moon landings were fake.

15 Kragar  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:06:24pm

Sovereign Citizen ‘President’ Sentenced To 18 Years In Federal Prison

James Timothy Turner, who goes by the name Tim Turner, was convicted in a federal jury in Alabama in March after court filings and evidence showed that he went around the country in 2008 and 2009, holding seminars on how to submit fraudulent bonds to the government as payment for federal taxes. Turner even once sent a $300 million bond in his own name to the Treasury Department.

He was convicted on conspiracy to defraud the United States, attempting to pay taxes with fictitious financial instruments, attempting to obstruct and impede the IRS, failing to file a 2009 federal income tax return and falsely testifying under oath in a bankruptcy proceeding, according to a Justice Department press release.

16 Charles Johnson  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:07:01pm

I’m already getting the predictable “HE LIED TO CONGRESS WE CAN’T TRUST HIM” stuff from Greensnow cultists.

I have to give Alexander a lot of credit for going to the Black Hat conference and talking directly to a crowd he had to know wasn’t going to be very friendly.

17 Targetpractice  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:07:53pm

Speaking of Glenn, wasn’t today supposed to be his big moment before Congress?

18 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:08:48pm

OMG BREATHTAKING, STUPEFYING DERP

19 Kragar  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:08:55pm

GOP’s Long-Predicted Comeuppance Has Arrived

Republicans have dealt with some embarrassing moments on the House floor over the past year, but none so revealing or damning as today’s snafu, when they yanked a bill to fund the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. Even the recent farm bill fiasco wasn’t as damning an indictment of the GOP’s governing potential.

It may seem like a minor hiccup, or a symbolic failure. But it spells doom for the party’s near-term budget strategy and underscores just how bogus the party’s broader agenda really is and has been for the last four years.

20 Justanotherhuman  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:09:20pm

re: #15 Kragar

Sovereign Citizen ‘President’ Sentenced To 18 Years In Federal Prison

But when are they going to arrest Greenwald for fraudulent journalism?

21 Charles Johnson  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:09:57pm

re: #17 Targetpractice

It was postponed, not sure til when.

22 Justanotherhuman  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:10:24pm

re: #17 Targetpractice

Speaking of Glenn, wasn’t today supposed to be his big moment before Congress?

Postponed until after the 5 wk vacay—or maybe never.

23 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:12:22pm

re: #13 Political Atheist

Er, 20 or 6,000?

24 freetoken  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:12:38pm

Delusion is spreading - are they putting something in the water?:

MASTERCHEF FINALIST JOSH MARKS
ARRESTED IN VIOLENT ASSAULT,
CLAIMS HE’S GOD

A top contender on “MasterChef” had a bizarre, violent encounter with cops in Chicago … telling them Gordon Ramsay is an “asshole” who possessed his body and then transformed him into God … law enforcement sources tell TMZ.

Law enforcement sources tell us … a University of Chicago cop spotted Josh Marks nearby the campus on Monday He was trying to use a University emergency phone and had obvious cuts on his face. We’re told the cop asked Marks if anything was wrong, and Marks then lunged at him, striking him with a closed fist and then tried to grab his gun.

[…]

Marks was taken to the hospital to treat his injuries. We’re told once in custody an officer asked him why he went off the rails, and he blamed it all on Gordon Ramsay. Shockingly, we’re told there was no evidence of drug use.

We’re told doctors discovered bullet fragments in Marks’ face from an unrelated incident.

Marks remains in the hospital, chained to a bed. He’s been charged with aggravated battery on a peace officer and attempting to disarm a peace officer — both felonies. If convicted, he faces a max of 14 years in prison.

Ramsey may well be an asshole, but I don’t think he could transform someone into “God”.

25 engineer cat  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:13:43pm

re: #10 Kragar

I’ve work in a classified environment, both in the military and privately, basically my whole adult life. I’ve worked with hundred of people with clearances, all with access to secret materials. These are hard working people who are doing vital work to keep people safe.

For Greenwald to suggest these people are engaged in wide spread illegal activity is a slap in the face to every one of these people. Its beyond insulting.

it ain’t the honest ones what i am afeared of

26 goddamnedfrank  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:15:02pm

re: #23 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut

Er, 20 or 6,000?

Pretty sure that should read 20 of 6000.

27 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:15:55pm

re: #26 goddamnedfrank

Pretty sure that should read 20 of 6000.

That makes sense.

What I want to know is what is the NSA doing to protect me from this:

Image: enhanced-buzz-16457-1363806020-3.jpg

28 Charles Johnson  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:16:02pm

re: #23 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut

Er, 20 or 6,000?

Somewhere in that neighborhood.

29 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:17:00pm

I’m certainly not going to pay more than between $20 and $6000 for this muffler.

30 Targetpractice  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:18:37pm

re: #19 Kragar

GOP’s Long-Predicted Comeuppance Has Arrived

GOP admits that, when push comes to shove, they are no longer a political party. They’re a sideshow. Wonder if those folks who celebrated the Tea Party “victory” of 2010 are having buyer’s remorse.

31 Kragar  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:19:45pm

re: #30 Targetpractice

All of this is a harbinger for the coming fight over funding the government. If House Republicans can’t pass a position of its own, then the Senate will call the shots (its Transportation/HUD bill will probably pass on a bipartisan basis this week) and appropriations will be extended past September on the strength of Democratic votes.

It also suggests that the GOP’s preference for permanent sequestration-level spending, particularly relative to increasing taxes, is not politically viable. If they want to lift the defense cuts, they’re going to have to either return to budget negotiations with Democrats, or agree to rescind sequestration altogether.

But it raises much bigger, existential questions for the Republicans as a national party. If they can’t execute key elements of their governing agenda, even just to establish their negotiating positions opposite the Democrats, what can they do, and what argument can they possibly make for controlling more (or all) of Washington?

32 A Man for all Seasons  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:19:47pm

re: #10 Kragar
ave

I’ve work in a classified environment, both in the military and privately, basically my whole adult life. I’ve worked with hundred of people with clearances, all with access to secret materials. These are hard working people who are doing vital work to keep people safe.

For Greenwald to suggest these people are engaged in wide spread illegal activity is a slap in the face to every one of these people. Its beyond insulting.

Great observation Kragar.. When you log into a Database you are audited. When you view Tables the same is true.. When you make queries on Tables or joining views you are audited in a report. I’m sure there are red flags in those reports. I’m sure they have security on files. In fact, our files are encrypted that doesn’t allow any copy function to any other device like thumb drives or DVD’s or Hard drives. How they hell did Manning walk off with all those cables? Pisses me off.

33 Brother Holy Cruise Missile of Mild Acceptance  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:21:39pm

re: #30 Targetpractice

GOP admits that, when push comes to shove, they are no longer a political party. They’re a sideshow. Wonder if those folks who celebrated the Tea Party “victory” of 2010 are having buyer’s remorse.

You kidding? They love that nothing is getting done. They would elect more people like this if they could.

34 Targetpractice  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:22:02pm

re: #31 Kragar

I think we’re gonna have to make peace with the very real possibility of a government shutdown. Either the GOP leadership is gonna buckle under and accept the Senate’s bills…or they’re going to allow the TPers to kill those bills and leave us no way to avoid smashing into the rocks.

35 Kragar  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:23:48pm

re: #32 HoosierHoops

There are ways you can bypass those things, but that is just it, you have to bypass the multiple levels of security and auditing to do them.

The real scandal in all this is how did shitheads like Manning and Snowden get to the point where they had access at all.

36 b.d.  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:27:41pm

Teh thug Obama squashed Grayson’s hearing Chicago style!
//


WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Congressman Alan Grayson (FL-09) has announced that tomorrow’s Bipartisan Ad Hoc Hearing on Domestic Surveillance will be postponed until early September. The ad hoc hearing was initially set to take place tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. Planned witnesses included Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian (via satellite); Julian Sanchez, Research Fellow at the Cato Institute; Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel at the ACLU; Yochai Benkler, Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard; and J. Kirk Wiebe, a former NSA senior analyst.

“Tomorrow’s ad hoc hearing would have conflicted with the President’s recently-announced meeting with the House Democratic Caucus,” Grayson explained. “As a result, we are reluctantly postponing it until Congress reconvenes in September. The American people want Congress to explore the legality, constitutionality, drawbacks, and supposed benefits of domestic surveillance - and we will ensure that these issues are evaluated at our ad hoc hearing in September.”
Link

37 Kragar  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:28:13pm

re: #34 Targetpractice

I think we’re gonna have to make peace with the very real possibility of a government shutdown. Either the GOP leadership is gonna buckle under and accept the Senate’s bills…or they’re going to allow the TPers to kill those bills and leave us no way to avoid smashing into the rocks.

The death throes of the GOP would be a lot more fun to watch if they weren’t so intent on dragging the entire country down with them.

38 engineer cat  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:29:03pm

re: #32 HoosierHoops

ave

Great observation Kragar.. When you log into a Database you are audited. When you view Tables the same is true.. When you make queries on Tables or joining views you are audited in a report. I’m sure there are red flags in those reports. I’m sure they have security on files. In fact, our files are encrypted that doesn’t allow any copy function to any other device like thumb drives or DVD’s or Hard drives. How they hell did Manning walk off with all those cables? Pisses me off.

QED the safeguards can be bypassed

i’ve seen the data flow monitoring applications that can be setup to red flag any disallowed data or file transfer, but in the end anything can be hacked

39 b.d.  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:30:15pm

And this should come as no surprise to anyone:

NSA Director accused of lying to Congress at Black Hat USA 2013 keynote

ZDNet

40 Eclectic Cyborg  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:32:07pm

re: #37 Kragar

The death throws of the GOP would be a lot more fun to watch if they weren’t so intent on dragging the entire country down with them.

Throes.

/ spelling nazi

41 Kragar  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:33:42pm

re: #38 engineer cat

QED the safeguards can be bypassed

i’ve seen the data flow monitoring applications that can be setup to red flag any disallowed data or file transfer, but in the end anything can be hacked

And that is the thing, you have to bypass the setting and procedures which you have agreed to be a part of to do it.

No system is secure from internal threats.

42 Kragar  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:33:58pm

re: #40 Eclectic Cyborg

Throes.

/ spelling nazi

I’ll throw you.

43 Eclectic Cyborg  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:38:13pm

re: #42 Kragar

I’ll throw you.

I heard that in Homer Simpsons voice.

44 Kragar  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:38:55pm

re: #43 Eclectic Cyborg

I heard that in Homer Simpsons voice.

And yet I said it as Matt Berry.

45 Justanotherhuman  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:42:11pm

re: #41 Kragar

And that is the thing, you have to bypass the setting and procedures which you have agreed to be a part of to do it.

No system is secure from internal threats.

I think “hacked” is the proper word here. As in “thief”.

46 NJDhockeyfan  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:47:34pm
47 Internet Tough Guy  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:49:48pm

I like how GG is doling out these revelations a few at a time, like they were candy to children for good behavior.

You would think if these horrible things were happening, he would reveal them as soon as possible to stop them as soon as possible.

48 jaunte  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:50:22pm

Marc Ambinder:
What’s XKEYSCORE?

“…Before the FISA Amendments Act was passed, an analyst presumably would not have to justify, in advance, the foreignness of a particular target or search query. After, every time he or she begins a new query, he or she has to convince the system that the target is foreign. Maybe the phone number associated with the internet data has an overseas prefix. The person stores media outside the U.S. A Google search indicates that the person lives in Geneva. Enough of these boxes have to be checked to provide a 51 percent foreignness threshold, after which the analyst can continue his or her work without any other paperwork. If that threshold isn’t met, another NSA group would take over; the NSA has suggested that analysts who are allowed to do queries on U.S. persons have entirely different reporting and supervisory architectures than most other NSA analysts.”

49 b.d.  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:50:38pm

re: #46 NJDhockeyfan

[Embedded content]

What could go wrong with that?

50 b.d.  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:52:17pm

re: #47 Internet Tough Guy

I like how GG is doling out these revelations a few at a time, like they were candy to children for good behavior.

You would think if these horrible things were happening, he would reveal them as soon as possible to stop them as soon as possible.

And you know he is saving a bunch of “must be revealed now” secrets for his upcoming Snowden exploiting money run book too.

51 erik_t  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 3:57:52pm

re: #47 Internet Tough Guy

I like how GG is doling out these revelations a few at a time, like they were candy to children for good behavior.

You would think if these horrible things were happening, he would reveal them as soon as possible to stop them as soon as possible.

Frankly, I think he’s publishing new BIG SCARY ANGLES just as quickly as his chipmunk-wheel mind can come up with them.

52 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:03:29pm

re: #47 Internet Tough Guy

I like how GG is doling out these revelations a few at a time, like they were candy to children for good behavior.

You would think if these horrible things were happening, he would reveal them as soon as possible to stop them as soon as possible.

Why should he? He doesn’t give a shit if somebody is hurt by these horrible things, he just wants to be the center of attention.

53 StephenMeansMe  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:03:32pm

Good to hear that they have a robust system of internal accountability set up. Of course, with this sort of thing I think we should push for more independent review and transparency measures to keep the public apprised of what’s being accessed and why. Too bad there’s no level of accountability that will satisfy the Greenwalds of the world, though.

54 Carlos Dangler  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:04:57pm

re: #38 engineer cat

QED the safeguards can be bypassed

i’ve seen the data flow monitoring applications that can be setup to red flag any disallowed data or file transfer, but in the end anything can be hacked

Sure, but I just don’t think Snowflake is that smart.

55 Gus  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:06:10pm
56 Gus  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:09:13pm

Press Statement on 30 July 2013 (NSA)

As the IC and NSA have stated previously, the implication that NSA’s collection is arbitrary and unconstrained is false. NSA’s activities are focused and specifically deployed against - and only against - legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interest. Public release of this classified material about NSA collection systems, without context, does nothing more than jeopardize sources and methods, and further confuse a very important issue for the country. Although it is impossible to provide full details of classified programs and still have them remain effective, we offer the following points for clarification:

1. XKEYSCORE is used as part of NSA’s lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system. By the nature of NSA’s mission, which is the collection of foreign intelligence, all of our analytic tools are aimed at information we collect pursuant to lawful authority to respond to foreign intelligence requirements - nothing more.

2. Allegations of widespread, unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data are simply not true. Access to XKEYSCORE, as well as all of NSA’s analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks. Those personnel must complete appropriate training prior to being granted such access - training which must be repeated on a regular basis. This training not only covers the mechanics of the tool but also each analyst’s ethical and legal obligations. In addition, there are multiple technical, manual and supervisory checks and balances within the system to prevent deliberate misuse from occurring.

3. Our tools have stringent oversight and compliance mechanisms built in at several levels. One feature is the system’s ability to limit what an analyst can do with a tool, based on the source of the collection and each analyst’s defined responsibilities. Not every analyst can perform every function, and no analyst can operate freely. Every search by an NSA analyst is fully auditable, to ensure that they are proper and within the law.

These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully - to defend the nation and to protect US and allied troops abroad. (For example, as of 2008, there were over 300 terrorists captured using intelligence generated from XKEYSCORE.)

Continuous and selective revelations of specific techniques and tools used by NSA to pursue legitimate foreign intelligence targets is detrimental to the national security of the United States and our allies, and places at risk those we are sworn to protect - our citizens, our war fighters, and our allies.

Think they got the date wrong: “Historical Document | Date Posted: Jul 31, 2013”

57 blueraven  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:09:45pm

Will we finally have a permanent director for the ATF?

Fragile Filibuster Deal Nearly Falls Apart Over ATF Director

At the last minute, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) changed her ‘no’ vote to ‘yes,’ which will likely end up being the key vote. After her vote, 59 ‘yes’ votes had been cast for Jones, and senators said the vote was being held open while Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) was en route to Washington from North Dakota to cast the 60th vote.

[…]

Murkowski changed her vote after speaking to McCain and Susan Collins (R-ME), both of whom voted yes, on the floor. The Alaskan declined to talk to reporters afterward. Democrats expected her to vote yes but privately believe she was initially talked out of it.

[…]

Senate leaders expect to keep the vote open until about 7 P.M. ET. A spokesperson for Heitkamp told TPM she’s “currently on her way to Washington from North Dakota” that “if the vote is held open, she would like to be able to cast her vote.”

If confirmed, Jones would become the first permanent ATF director since the position was made subject to Senate confirmation seven years ago.

58 Charles Johnson  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:09:55pm

re: #55 Gus

Also see What’s XKEYSCORE?

XKeyscore seems to be an implementation of the MapReduce programming model, a method of searching large distributed databases.

59 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:11:34pm

re: #54 Carlos Dangler

Sure, but I just don’t think Snowflake is that smart.

He is a whole bunch of stupid. If he had any smarts at all, he would have already figured out a way to get himself out of Transit Gulag.

60 Gus  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:11:45pm

re: #58 Charles Johnson

XKeyscore seems to be an implementation of the MapReduce programming model, a method of searching large distributed databases.

This is from a job listing:

Configure and understand and fine-tune the data flow of signals through processing systems such as DARKQUEST, WEALTHYCLUSTER, and XKEYSCORE.

61 Gus  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:12:53pm

Another.

Operational tests—i.e. tests that reflect the operational use of TURMOIL and XKEYSCORE systems

62 Gus  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:15:23pm

Note. Documents marked top secret.

63 Bubblehead II  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:16:56pm

Night Lizards. Iron Fist Rules.

Sleep well.

64 Charles Johnson  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:17:48pm

As the IC and NSA have stated previously, the implication that NSA’s collection is arbitrary and unconstrained is false. NSA’s activities are focused and specifically deployed against - and only against - legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interest. Public release of this classified material about NSA collection systems, without context, does nothing more than jeopardize sources and methods, and further confuse a very important issue for the country. Although it is impossible to provide full details of classified programs and still have them remain effective, we offer the following points for clarification:

1. XKEYSCORE is used as part of NSA’s lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system. By the nature of NSA’s mission, which is the collection of foreign intelligence, all of our analytic tools are aimed at information we collect pursuant to lawful authority to respond to foreign intelligence requirements - nothing more.

2. Allegations of widespread, unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data are simply not true. Access to XKEYSCORE, as well as all of NSA’s analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks. Those personnel must complete appropriate training prior to being granted such access - training which must be repeated on a regular basis. This training not only covers the mechanics of the tool but also each analyst’s ethical and legal obligations. In addition, there are multiple technical, manual and supervisory checks and balances within the system to prevent deliberate misuse from occurring.

3. Our tools have stringent oversight and compliance mechanisms built in at several levels. One feature is the system’s ability to limit what an analyst can do with a tool, based on the source of the collection and each analyst’s defined responsibilities. Not every analyst can perform every function, and no analyst can operate freely. Every search by an NSA analyst is fully auditable, to ensure that they are proper and within the law.

These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully - to defend the nation and to protect US and allied troops abroad. (For example, as of 2008, there were over 300 terrorists captured using intelligence generated from XKEYSCORE.)

Continuous and selective revelations of specific techniques and tools used by NSA to pursue legitimate foreign intelligence targets is detrimental to the national security of the United States and our allies, and places at risk those we are sworn to protect - our citizens, our war fighters, and our allies.

65 sattv4u2  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:18:36pm

re: #62 Gus

Note. Documents marked top secret.

I’ll keep my eyes closed as I read them!

66 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:19:49pm

re: #62 Gus

Note. Documents marked top secret.

And you found these documents on Teh Internets?

67 freetoken  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:20:53pm

re: #57 blueraven

Murkowski changed her vote after speaking to McCain and Susan Collins (R-ME), both of whom voted yes, on the floor. The Alaskan declined to talk to reporters afterward. Democrats expected her to vote yes but privately believe she was initially talked out of it.

And that “talk” probably had nothing to do with Jones, but was vote swapping she was doing with the wingnuts so some of them would vote for those “pork” bills that Rand Paul seems to begrudge.

68 Justanotherhuman  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:22:26pm

re: #67 freetoken

And that “talk” probably had nothing to do with Jones, but was vote swapping she was doing with the wingnuts so some of them would vote for those “pork” bills that Rand Paul seems to begrudge.

That would make more sense, because AK loves its pork and Stevens isn’t around to get it for them anymore.

69 Gus  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:24:04pm
70 jaunte  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:25:19pm

re: #69 Gus

I’ll be on with @chrislhayes tonight

It’s true, he doesn’t care who gets hurt.

71 Justanotherhuman  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:30:59pm

re: #70 jaunte

It’s true, he doesn’t care who gets hurt.

Well, to be fair, Chris Hayes is asking for it.

72 blueraven  Wed, Jul 31, 2013 4:49:40pm

re: #67 freetoken

And that “talk” probably had nothing to do with Jones, but was vote swapping she was doing with the wingnuts so some of them would vote for those “pork” bills that Rand Paul seems to begrudge.

I dont think it was about Jones personally…they don’t want an ATF director period. They haven’t had one since 2006 when they made the position subject to Senate approval. The republicans hate the ATF. They will do anything and everything to hinder the effectiveness of the agency.

I don’t think this had anything to do with pork. It’s all about the ATF.


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