NSA: Responding to FOIA Requests Would Help “Our Adversaries”

don't let the enemy win, clickReason 24/7Jeff Larson, a news application developer for Pro Publica, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the National Security Agency for data they may have about him, and got a response.

From Pro Publica:

Shortly after the Guardian and Washington Post published their Verizon and PRISM stories, I filed a freedom of information request with the NSA seeking any personal data the agency has about me. I didn't expect an answer, but yesterday I received a letter signed by Pamela Phillips, the Chief FOIA Officer at the agency (which really freaked out my wife when she picked up our mail).

The letter, a denial, includes what is known as a Glomar response -- neither a confirmation nor a denial that the agency has my metadata. It also warns that any response would help “our adversaries”:

Any positive or negative response on a request-by-request basis would allow our adversaries to accumulate information and draw conclusions about the NSA's technical capabilities, sources, and methods.

Our adversaries are likely to evaluate all public responses related to these programs.

The NSA doesn’t identify in the letter who those adversaries might be.

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  • Aresen||

    "Any positive or negative response on a request-by-request basis would allow our adversaries to accumulate information and draw conclusions about the NSA's technical capabilities, sources, and methods.

    Our adversaries are likely to evaluate all public responses related to these programs."

    "Adversaries" Our "Adversaries" are everywhere! Beware of our "Adversaries".

  • tarran||

    If that's really the case, then we need to eliminate the NSA entirely, because it is fundamentally incompatible with a free republic that is governed by the citizenry.

  • Libertymike||

    It is fundamentally incompatible with liberty.

  • Libertymike||

    It is going to be such fun witnessing the death of the national security apparatus and all of its supporters and dependents.

  • tarran||

    AS long as we can get clear of the blows struck by its coils in its death throes.

  • Sevo||

    "It is going to be such fun witnessing the death of the national security apparatus..."

    I sure hope you're right, because the alternative is really, really bad.

  • Loki||

    I wish I could be as optimistic as you are. I don't think enough people care about this stuff. As long as they're still able to get their hands on the latest iToy and keep track of Kim Kardashian's baby news and all that shit, most people won't really give a shit. People won't really get angry until they start loading people onto cattle cars, and by then it will be too late.

  • ||

    I've got friends that DO care and they want the guy strung up for espionage. They are buying the media story hook, line, and sinker. They also just want "to move things forward" whatever the fuck that means.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Our "adversaries"... Judging by who they're spying on, that's the American People. We need to take the torches and pitchforks approach to this agency that has declared itself to be the enemy of the American people.

  • Dibbler||

    Took the words right out of my mouth. It's obvious that the "adversaries" in this case are the nonpolitical classes of the public.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That was my first thought, too. Not good.

  • Jon Lester||

    The federal government has long been pathological about both classifying information and using form letters.

  • ||

    In a semi-related threadjack, I'm asking for the commentariat to help me out a little.
    I have my son with me all day for the next few weeks. Of course, I'm still working! I gotta answer this guy. I know you've all touched on this before... Obviously he starts by conflating voluntary commercial exchanges with surreptitiously...

    Now's a good of a time as any: my yearly thanks to all of you regulars, semi-regulars, lurkers. Thanks for being here. I rarely post a "this" of "that" but you can safely assume it's under most of your posts. Seriously. And thanks for taking it to Tony and Shreek and every one-time moron from kos that thinks he "got us."

    It's ridiculous.

    We already give away more information than this every day and we do it willingly on all sorts of social media sites. Not to mention things like loyalty cards at stores,gas stations etc. we live in a constant state of information gathering nowadays. We also can not demand our government do whatever it takes to keep us safe and then flinch when they do just that. Americans willingly threw their rights out the window with the Patriot Act and now as we drift farther away from any incident we are demanding those freedoms back even though the threats still exist. This is chickens coming home to roost. And when you take a job to purposefully find some sort of classified information and release it if t benefits you that is cowardly,premeditated and certainly anything but patriotic "

  • Sevo||

    "We already give away more information than this every day and we do it willingly on all sorts of social media sites. Not to mention things like loyalty cards at stores,gas stations etc. we live in a constant state of information gathering nowadays."

    No, I don't. I limit that as much as possible. No 'social media', no loyalty cards, etc.
    Aside from that, none of those entities can do more than offer me goods. They can't throw me in jail.
    -------------------------
    "We also can not demand our government do whatever it takes to keep us safe and then flinch when they do just that. Americans willingly threw their rights out the window with the Patriot Act and now as we drift farther away from any incident we are demanding those freedoms back even though the threats still exist. This is chickens coming home to roost."

    I agree and perhaps this will cause people to rethink blanket 'security' demands, and instead demand the government obey the constitution.
    ----------------------
    "And when you take a job to purposefully find some sort of classified information and release it if t benefits you that is cowardly,premeditated and certainly anything but patriotic ""

    Nope. You may join the military and still refuse to obey illegal orders.
    See: Nuremberg, 1946-1949

  • Pro Libertate||

    Silly, Nuremberg only applies to foreigners, not Americans.

  • Sevo||

    Jah!

  • JEP||

    "We already give away more information than this every day and we do it willingly on all sorts of social media sites. Not to mention things like loyalty cards at stores,gas stations etc. we live in a constant state of information gathering nowadays."

    Right, the difference is that we do it willingly. Google is interested in how often I buy powdered donuts. The government is interested in my political views. Corporations don't have a monopoly on violence. The government does.

    "We also can not demand our government do whatever it takes to keep us safe and then flinch when they do just that. Americans willingly threw their rights out the window with the Patriot Act and now as we drift farther away from any incident we are demanding those freedoms back even though the threats still exist. This is chickens coming home to roost."

    Straw manning. I, personally, didn't demand the government keep me safe. As a society, that's a possibility. Even so, the Patriot Act was passed under dubious circumstances. Also, in 2008 we, as a society, elected a president who was campaigning on ending the abuse of the Patriot Act if not to repeal it completely. If we, as a society, are responsible for the Patriot Act, we can also be responsible for trying to correct the mistake.

  • JEP||

    "And when you take a job to purposefully find some sort of classified information and release it if t benefits you that is cowardly,premeditated and certainly anything but patriotic "

    How exactly has this benefited Snowden? He had a good job with a $200,000 salary, a girl friend, he's young, etc. Now that he's released this information, he's lost his job, his girlfriend, he's never going to come to the states again, he's going to live the rest of his life looking over his shoulder, and he's currently a man without a country living in an airport. How is he benefiting from any of this?

    Apparently, sacrificing everything you've worked for in life(and everything you could've had) for the sake of your ideals is now considered cowardly...

  • MrVitaminP||

    There was a time when our country was founded on principles like: give me liberty or give me death. I'd have to say that the people who trade their liberties for supposed safety are the cowards.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "If we told you, it wouldn't be a secret anymore, would it?"

  • ||

    The NSA doesn’t identify in the letter who those adversaries might be.

    Isn't it obvious? It's you. And me. And all the rest of the people. It's not like there's a USSR any more.

  • ||

    Sure there is, the Union of Serfs and Statist Retards. And we is living in it.

  • ||

    What's that in Russian? You have to make it fit into CCCP.

  • ||

    We speak American here!

  • Xenocles||

    There's still the PRC. And Russia isn't exactly friendly.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Der Sir,

    Please release to me any and all information currently in your files pertaining to me and my activities. Your timely response would be greatly appreciated.

    Respectfully Yours,

    O bin Laden

  • UnCivilServant||

    "Since your burial at sea, there was been very little activity on your accounts"

  • Brett L||

    OT: An excellent, but long book review on a book that appears to be worth reading.

    As the title suggests, Gray doesn’t hold with that dialogue’s earnest believer in freedom—though he has nothing against freedom. He casts his lot with the skeptic because he doesn’t believe freedom represents the culmination of mankind’s earthly journey. “The overthrow of the ancien régime in France, the Tsars in Russia, the Shah of Iran, Saddam in Iraq and Mubarak in Egypt may have produced benefits for many people,” writes Gray, “but increased freedom was not among them. Mass killing, attacks on minorities, torture on a larger scale, another kind of tyranny, often more cruel than the one that was overthrown—these have been the results. To think of humans as freedom-loving, you must be ready to view nearly all of history as a mistake.”

    And goes on to emphasize that freedom, liberty, and progress are not inevitable ends, but rather exceptional results, contra progressives' wishful thinking.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Well, there is one point going for him - nothing is inevitable.

    Humans love their own freedoms, but hate giving it to others. If not, then controls on governance would not be required.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The NSA doesn’t identify in the letter who those adversaries might be.

    It names one right there on the front of the envelope

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Any positive or negative response on a request-by-request basis would allow our adversaries to accumulate information and draw conclusions about the NSA's technical capabilities, sources, and methods.

    For this preposterous hogwash to be true, one would have to believe "our adversaries" have the capability to collect and analyze each and every response.

    Who's paranoid, again?

  • UnCivilServant||

    Well, since they've declared the public to be their adversaries, and we have the benefit of crowdsourcing, we could do it.

  • Slammer||

    Who's accumulating information and drawing conclusions again? Now I'm confused.

  • Loki||

    The NSA doesn’t identify in the letter who those adversaries might be.

    Oh, I think we all know the answer to that question.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Anyone who threatens their budget

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