NSA Chief, Other Officials, Testifying in Open Hearing on NSA Surveillance Program

At the House Intelligence Committee


General Keith Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency, will testify today in front of the House Intelligence Committee, along with James Cole, a deputy attorney general, Sean Joyce, a deputy FBI director and Robert Litt, the general counsel for the Director of National Intelligence.

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  1. I’m sure they’ll tell us we ‘just don’t understand’, and ‘we’re only doing this for your own good’, and ‘Democrats are doing it, so it’s all good’ and stuff…

  2. You know what else regularly cuts off a stream before things get messy?

  3. NSA-proof encryption exists. Why doesn’t anyone use it?

    Using PGP is such a hassle that even those with a strong need for secure communication resist its use. When Edward Snowden, the man who leaked the details of the PRISM program, first contacted Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian in February, he asked the journalist to set up PGP on his computer so the two could communicate securely. He even sent Greenwald a video with step-by-step directions for setting up the software. But Greenwald, who didn’t yet know the significance of Snowden’s leaks, dragged his feet. He did not set up the software until late March, after filmmaker Laura Poitras, who was also in contact with Snowden, met with Greenwald and alerted him to the significance of his disclosures.

    1. It’s a good article. It really shouldn’t take all that much effort to put a wrapper around gpg and create a Thunderbird add-on that would simplify the whole key management process. But that still only solves a fraction of the problem.

  4. “This stream is currently unavailable on this domain at the broadcaster’s request”

    Uh oh, looks like the Library of Congress has black listed Reason.

  5. If the telephone metadata is such a valuable resource to the NSA to prevent terrorist attacks, then postal metadata would be equally valuable using identical arguments.

    I wonder if there is a similar database, even for entirely domestic mail. Would those who are so accepting of collection of telephone metadate be equally accepting of postal metadata?

    1. That is an interesting question. I’d never thought of traffic analysis as applied to physical mail distribution before. One difference between phone and physical mail is that physical mail may be entered into the system at a bunch of anonymous points. It doesn’t require an originating number or return address. It does require an originating country, which might be useful to LE.

      But whether the USPS OCR equipment stores the destination information, date, amount of postage, etc… I don’t know. And I can’t seem to google whether or not they do, if and how they archive that data, etc… Which probably means that they do capture it, store it, and perform traffic analysis on it.

  6. Summary of General Alexander testimony: We have training. We are here to protect America. Top men and women.

  7. No offense, but I’m probably not going to follow @Reason247?too many tweets for my liking. But I always enjoy when you guys do live commentary during a hearing or press conference or whatever, so if there was a separate Twitter feed just for that, I’d definitely follow it.

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