Be Afraid of NSA Spying

We've only seen the type of the iceberg when it comes to NSA abuse.


“Dear NSA/CSS family,” begins a Sept. 13, 2013, letter to employees and “extended family” of the nation’s largest spy agency from NSA director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the boss of the family (CSS stands for Central Security Service, an NSA subagency).

In the missive, published Thursday by Kevin Gosztola of Firedoglake.com, Alexander and his lieutenant, John C. Inglis, fret that: “Our agency has frequently been portrayed in the news as more of a rogue element than a national treasure.”

If each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, the source of domestic strife for the “NSA family” is particularly unusual. Rollicked by former family member Edward Snowden's exposure of secret domestic surveillance programs, NSA is suffering Watergate-era “flashbacks,” and morale “has plummeted,” the LA Times reports.

But these troubles are self-inflicted â€" and a letter packed with distortions isn’t likely to help.

The “Dear Family” letter repeats what the agency told Congress this summer that NSA has kept “the nation and its allies safe from 54 different terrorist plots … just part of the great work that your family members are doing every day.”

But as Gosztola points out, pressed on that claim by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., back in August, Inglis retreated, conceding that the secret programs were instrumental in only one case, a 2009 New York subway bombing plot.
Even there, the program in question (PRISM, an email and web-traffic monitoring tool) was unnecessary, since the FBI already had ample justification for a warrant.

When it comes to the call-records dragnet, the Washington Post reports, “The case that the NSA points to as its primary example of the program's usefulness” wasn't an interdicted terror plot—it involved a Somalia-born San Diego cabbie who sent $8,500 to a terrorist group in his home country. The NSA hoovered up every American's calling records and all we got was one lousy cabdriver.

“We self-report [our] mistakes,” the letter boasts. But as Marcy Wheeler notes, “the most shocking disclosure from” an internal NSA audit leaked by Snowden, “that an analyst tried to pull up Egypt’s calls but got D.C.’s insteadâ€"had never been disclosed” to the FISA court.

Gen. Alexander may think it’s media bias that’s made Americans fear an NSA gone “rogue.” But Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admits “our history is regretfully replete with abuse.”

Clapper said, “There is some substantial basis for people to be suspicious,” in an interview for Mark Ambinder’s 2013 book Deep Stateâ€"the “record of the community isn’t all that good.” Not long after that, Clapper illustrated his own point by lying to Congress about whether NSA collects data on millions of Americans.

As the Senate’s “Church Committee” hearings revealed in the 1970s, among other abuses, the CIA and the National Security Agency illegally instituted programs for the interception of international communications to and from American citizens, primarily first class mail and cable traffic.

In the surveillance state’s Cold War-era infancy, federal spies had to gather data the old-fashioned way: via physical informants, hidden microphones, black-bag burglaries, and steaming open envelopes.

With modern processing power, now it can be done from a desktop â€" or, perhaps, from the “captain’s chair” in the facility Gen. Alexander built, with the help of “a Hollywood set designer to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise.”

“Over the coming weeks and months, more stories will appear,” the letter warns. What we're learning about the “family business” isn't comforting—and there's more yet to come.

This article originally appeared at the Washington Examiner.

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  1. If the NSA has done nothing wrong, they have nothing to hide – open up the doors and let the public root through your stuff!

    1. At least release the metadata about all the NSA requests to Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    2. Start working at home with Google. It’s the most-financialy rewarding I’ve ever done. On tuesday I got a gorgeous BMW after having earned $7439 this last month. I actually started five months/ago and practically straight away was bringin in at least $74, per-hour. visit this site right here http://www.Pow6.com

  2. Awww, the poor NSA/CSS “family” is now having plummeting morale. This I see as one of the best consequences of this whole thing. They should take a moment to examine their own parts in this illegal mess.

    Some should quit.

    Others should see if they can rise to the level of Snowden and pull some more goddam secrets out of that hive.

    Come on leakers, do the right thing and spill!

    1. And the ones who neither quit nor leak more secrets should kill themselves.

      1. Or at least start fucking shit up.

  3. “Rogue element”? Dude, the cliche is “rogue elephant.” Get your trunk out of your ass and stop reading my damn email!

    PS As for that “national treasure” bullshit, get a fucking life you pathetic fucking fool.

    1. Alexander and “company” and “friends” and supporters”:

      Referring to yourselves as “family” and “community” is very, very sick.

      You’ll never catch the morally superior Snowden — he outed you sniveling, parasitic bitches for your crimes against humanity. Everyone now looks at you with disgust, revulsion and contempt.

  4. “national disgrace” not “national treasure”

    1. Nationalsozialistische* Disgrace… there i fixed it

  5. “Our agency has frequently been portrayed in the news as more of a rogue element than a national treasure.”

    You misspelled “national embarrassment”, asshole.

    If each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, the source of domestic strife for the “NSA family” is particularly unusual. Rollicked by former family member Edward Snowden’s exposure of secret domestic surveillance programs, NSA is suffering Watergate-era “flashbacks,” and morale “has plummeted,” the LA Times reports.

    Awww, poor babies. Maybe if they didn’t behave like the bureaucratic equivalent of Honey Boo-Boo’s family on a weekend meth bender people wouldn’t look down on them.

  6. Rollicked by former family member Edward Snowden[]

    Ummm… I think this should be “Rocked,” not “Rollicked.” If it’s a quote from the letter, it should have a [sic].


  7. “in the facility Gen. Alexander built”

    He didn’t build the Star Trek bridge replica, his predecessor did.


  8. I’m thinking that the NSA is a tabular type iceburg…perhaps a wedge type.


    1. RC Dean’ed it. Where’s he been?

  9. The “national treasure” bit is so god damn pompous and hokey.

  10. Didn’t a recent leak by Snowden provide evidence that the CIA is actually the largest agency (at least in terms of funding)?

  11. “Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order [referring to the 1991 LA Riot]. Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond [i.e., an “extraterrestrial” invasion], whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government.”
    Dr. Henry Kissinger, Bilderberger Conference, Evians, France, 1991

  12. More lies from the NSdAp, funny how the acronyms for Adolfs good ol boys and this lying jackass’ agency are almost the same

  13. my buddy’s half-sister makes ,$77, every hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for 8 months but last month her income was ,$21889, just working on the computer for a few hours. Check Out Your URL….


  14. The main point that the Congressmen and Senators, as well as the Intelligence Heads, are missing is that this is all UNCONSTITUTIONAL. It does not matter if it was effective; it does not matter how many people might have died in other countries (that are not governed by USA Constitution). These types of justifications for stealing American’s Rights are specious and foolish. The Constitution does NOT apply only when it is convenient. This is our Constitution and Bill of Rights that the NSA and other Intelligence Agencies are subverting and trampling. Each and every person, at all levels, who were involved in illegally subverting the Constitution in any large or tiny matter should be tried, convicted, and imprisoned. Take away their Rights and see how they feel about it. Why isn’t the Supreme Court protecting Americans on this matter? The Congressional sycophants protecting and campaigning for their abuse of our Constitutional Rights should be thrown out of office (e.g. Feinstein; Chambliss; etc.).

  15. Obviously (despite Obama’s lies denying it), since we know from recent Snowden Leaks that the DEA and NSA have collaborated with almost all of these Tech companies. We also know from this week’s FISA Court info release that they claim not a single Telephone company has contested the legality of such NSA demands before opening the info vaults. We know from Brazil President snub of Obama that NSA targets foreign companies (like Petrobas) and undertakes illegal spying to achieve unfair commercial benefit for USA over foreign competitors. With the help of the equipment manufacturers, NSA has already hacked all of the iPhones (and other mobile phones on the market), facsimile machines, etc. to illegally listen in on conversations of foreign politicians, as well as conversations by American citizens and foreigners. We can also assume that the NSA also worked closely with Apple (and perhaps Samsung-USA) in advance of launch their handsets such as iPhone-5S. This is to ensure that the millions of customers worldwide who embed their fingerprints into their iPhones are helping the NSA and Interpol to build jumbo, international Fingerprint Libraries matched to their Names, Addresses, and Phone Numbers. Apple’s own notes about its Touch ID system on its site say that Touch ID will incrementally add new sections of your fingerprint to your enrolled fingerprint data to improve matching accuracy over time. Germany’s Chaos Club has already hacked the iPhone Fingerprint Sensors

  16. We know from Snowden revelations that these Tech & TeleComm companies either sell their customer info to the NSA directly (from their clouds), or allow the NSA to build backdoors into their hardware/software and computer programs. If all OEM Manufacturers of Mobile Handsets go down this same technology path, then we can assume that all Telephone companies will be extorted (or bribed) by the U.S. Government to sell their Fingerprint meta-data registries to the DEA/NSA. Since almost everyone on Earth now uses mobile phones, instead of this NSA day-by-day covert program-creep with Fingerprinting everyone via their phones, why not just do like Hitler tried and stamp bar-codes on our arms so we can jump straight to the inevitable surrender of all our Constitutional Right to Privacy and Constitutional Right to protection against Self-Incrimination?

  17. If somebody steals your fingerprints, you’re pretty much out of luck for the rest of your life. You wouldn’t be able to use your prints as a form of identification until you were absolutely sure all copies had been destroyed. There’s no way to get new prints.

    Some people make ignorant or belittling comments about ‘tinfoil hats’ just to feel good about themselves or win this argument. However, others understand their Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Government already has my Fingerprints, and my DNA (I am a Retired Serviceman who devoted 21-years to defending your rights and our way of life). I am not worried personally. However, if you allow the Government to start down this slippery slope of taking away our every Constitutional Right and Bill of Rights protections where does it end (e.g. NSA is now saying that Americans have no right to privacy (right to be let alone), and have no right to protection against self-incrimination (5th Amendment), and have no right to protection from unreasonable search & seizure (4th Amendment); and no right to due process (parts of the Patriot Act takes away our 14th Amendment); etc.)? Regardless of whether or not you are comfortable with so easily giving up your rights, do I have a right in America to keep mine protected?

  18. If you give them the right to indiscriminately collect Fingerprints without due legal process and public debate (and transfer that info to foreign countries who do not follow our USA laws), why dont you give them your DNA also. Then they can have a Fingerprint Database, and then a DNA Database. Why not give them access to your medical history and maladies, so they can know if you are on the verge of despair. Then, since you have nothing else to hide, might as well let NSA put listening devices into your bedrooms so they can listen in on your comments to wife in the heat of passion, and then let them force everyone to wear Bracelets that record your every conversation (they are inventing bracelet phones & bracelet computers); etc.

  19. Last month NSA admitted that they were collecting your phone records; 3-weeks ago they admitted they were collecting your Internet browsing history; 2-weeks ago they admitted they were reading your mail and had access to your computer files; 1-week ago they admitted they were tapping your telephones; this week it was found that they are attempting to force University Professors to stop commenting about NSA, and found to be distributing American’s raw and unprotected personal info to Israel (as well as the other 5-Eyes) without a legal framework to protect it (claiming that they could sift the Government info out, but not the Private Citizen info out before giving it Israel); this week we learned that NSA and Britain’s GCHQ hacked into Belgium’s largest telecom BelgaCom; NSA hacked and stole billions of pieces of data from India’s telephone & Internet in less than 30-days; NSA targeted and hacked Brazil’s Petrobas (for commercial benefit to USA); NSA (and GCHQ) impersonated as Google Network and spy on Web-Searchers (MITM attack) using faked SSL cryptographic security certificates; etc.

  20. NSA trusts Israel (who is 3rd worst cyber-hacker into American Government) not to abuse Senate & Congressional info, like they will with private citizen info. Where does it end? What will come next week? The easiest way to tell if James Clapper and General Keith Alexander are lying is to watch their mouth; if it is open, they are lying. If you are comfortable living in a Communist country with no rights and the Government dictating everything…then go there. However, I want to live in America, where our founding fathers gave us Rights…and told us that you can throw yours away if you want, while still allowing me to keep mine. I gave 50-percent of my life to the Government so we could have Rights. I want to say to all the @-snotty commentators: You are such technology brainiacs and smarter than me, but you lack any common sense at all.


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