NSA

60 Minutes Offers Thoroughly One-Sided Look at NSA Scandal. Guess Which Side.

Access is awesome! Don't ruin it with pointed questions!

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"Your campaign has the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?"
"60 Minutes"

So are any of those conservative media critics going to file FCC complaints against 60 Minutes for the 20-minute blowjob correspondent John Miller performed Sunday evening on Gen. Keith Alexander and other National Security Agency leaders?

For those who missed it (perhaps, like me, they had recently discovered French horror-mystery series The Returned and were watching the marathon on the Sundance Channel), 60 Minutes ran not one, but two full segments about the NSA's data collection and Edward Snowden scandals, told entirely from the NSA's perspective and with absolutely no critical voices.

Some lowlights:

  • The poor "We are not reading your e-mails/listening to your phone calls" straw man is set on fire yet again. The guy is just ash by now. The explanation of the "metadata" the NSA collects is purposefully vague, giving viewers the very false impression that the only information the NSA gets is just literal phone numbers and call durations.
  • Miller brings up the Foreign Information Surveillance Court rulings indicating that the NSA has in the past overstepped its boundaries and collected data it shouldn't collect. Gen. Alexander deflects the question by stating that these were mistakes and were not "willful." No mention is made of other privacy violations by NSA agents that were indeed willful.
  • NSA officials seem to believe that they have stopped China from destroying the world's computers with a virus, thereby preventing widespread economic chaos. While the Chinese government and military are no doubt engaging in all sorts of cyber-espionage, there's no explanation as to why exactly China — a leading exporter — of all countries would try to destroy the world's economy.
  • Edward Snowden is dismissed as some sort of weirdo. NSA's investigation of him after the fact determined that he cheated (via hacking) to pass the test to get his contractor position, which you'd think was something that should mark him as an up-and-comer, given the agency. He also covered up his computer at home so his girlfriend couldn't see what he was working on, which everybody on camera seems to think is crazypants and not something a person whose job involves looking at classified data might do.
  • At the outset Miller discloses that he used to work for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA. Disclosing past relationships is good, but recognizing when such relationships absolutely ruin the possibility of your objectivity and therefore stepping back, is even better. But then, would 60 Minutes have gotten this scoop without Miller? It was the NSA who approached 60 Minutes to do this story, not the other way around. Miller is also rumored to be leaving the network soon to go work for the NYPD.

The 60 Minutes reports can be viewed here. The entire charade smacks yet again of the administration thinking that all of its problems are due to poor "messaging," not due to any actual legitimate concerns by the populace. More criticism of the segments may be found here and here.

NEXT: David Cameron Says the Mission in Afghanistan Has Been Accomplished

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  1. This, plus the firing and censuring, pretty much was the requirement to have any official access after the Benghazi reporting. But don’t worry, we’ve still got a free press.

    1. About the only good thing left you can say about the scum in the media is that things will revert back to normal if and when a republican ever gets elected president again.

      1. Mike, it’s not Left or Right, these things also happened under Bush. The toilet needs to be flushed.

  2. Even if the NSA did stop the Chinese from attacking our computer networks, how does collecting everyone’s phone calls and emails further that endeavor? If the NSA wants to defend the country from cyber attacks, more power to them. But that has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

    Gen. Alexander deflects the question by stating that these were mistakes and were not “willful.”

    It doesn’t matter if they were willful. Even they accidentally abuse the information or if the abuse is by some rogue employee who is disciplined when they are caught, the result is the same. If anything, the fact that such things are “accidental”, makes the program even worse. If the violations were willful, you could conceivably fix the program by firing some people and putting the fear of God in the ones who remain. But if they are “accidental”, that means there is no way you can fix the program and abuse of the information collected is inevitable.

    1. John, intentions and FEELZ. FEELZ

      Why do you want the Chinese to cyberhackwarmurderdeathkill the US? Why, John?!

    2. I did not willfully transport that cocaine in my ass. I throw myself upon the mercy of the court.

    3. If the NSA wants to defend the country from cyber attacks, more power to them

      The problem is, that’s not the mission the NSA was tasked for. The NSA exists to intercept SIGINT. The responsibility to protect the nation’s Internet infrastructure from attack falls to the United States Cyber Command; however, the powers that be saw it fit to place 4-Star Keith B. Alexander as head of both of them, which is 50 percent of the problem.

      1. Yes. I know that. I was being sarcastic. But regardless of whether it is their mission, saying they can do it or are doing it has nothing to do with their metadata collection.

        1. Indeed, and do you think Alexander can keep the two agencies’ missions straight in his head?

          1. Yes. He was just talking out of his ass.

            1. Perhaps. But it is clear that he views them merely as two tools within the same toolbox.

          2. Well he does have a lot of sucking up to politicians to do, and making excuses, so he is very busy.

            Not to mention he doubtless has to help out us Aussies every time we want to spy on an ally for financial advantage.

    4. “‘Gen. Alexander deflects the question by stating that these were mistakes and were not “willful.”

      Buttle, Tuttle. These things happen.

    5. If there were “accidental” (and that word will continue to be put in scare quotes throughout this post) violations that means there were not the controls to prevent deliberate violations. That means that anyone wanting to violate the constitution could do so and then say “Oh look, an “accidental” violation of the law.”. And long as they remembered to not actually make the scare quotes, they’d be OK.

    6. John, you don’t pay very good attention, do you? The NSA spies on everyone, without a warrant, then abuses that information for political gain. That is clearly unconstitutional.

  3. The problem of evil for the NSA is that these people believe they are telling the truth when they say that all the spying and data collection is for the common good. The cannot fathom that these actions are anything but imperative for the safety of America. Working at the NSA is like being part of a massive Milgram experiment.

    1. It is an example of how bureaucracies work. No bureaucracy is ever going to admit it is not doing its job. If it can do its job, it will do so and tell you all about it. If it can’t, it will do something it can do and then tell you how what it just did accomplished the mission reality be damned.

      The NSA has no idea how to stop terrorists. It was not designed to do that. It was designed to spy on foreign governments. It is great if it has a target. But if the job requires figuring out who the target is, it is worthless. But what it can do is collect information. So they are collecting and swearing that doing so is essential to safety and accomplishing the mission.

      1. No bureaucracy is ever going to admit it is not doing its job.

        Unless testifying before a sympathetic committee during a funding hearing. In which case, no bureaucracy is ever funded enough to do its job.

        1. Even then, they claim they know how to do it, they just need more money. No bureaucracy will ever admit it doesn’t know how to do what is asked of it.

          1. in what may be the least reported story of the year, didn’t Obama himself admit this much – that the federal alphabet soup is a cluster of outdated and inefficient bureaucracies? The comedy to this tragedy was Obama’s acting as though he arrived in DC last Tuesday and it was all new to him..

      2. If it can do its job, it will do so and tell you all about it. If it can’t, it will do something it can do

        Not quite.

        If a bureaucracy can do its job, it will blackmail taxpayers to get more funding and will then try to expand its scope.

        If a bureaucracy can’t do it’s job, it will simply blackmail taxpayers to get more funding because lack of funding is why it can;t do its job.

    2. Guys: it’s not fascism when we do it.

      Sure, it sounds like a theme from 1984, but the NSA is an agency of the USA, the home of the brave and the land of the free. Total information awareness is as American as motherhood and apple pie. If you don’t have anything to hide, what are you worried about? (By the way, I’d bet your wife and kids would shocked at your interest in three-way lesbian porn.)

      1. It is not Orwell it is Kafka. The baddies in Orwell were way more competent than these clowns.

      2. I prefer quince pie, but I wasn’t the all-American high school quarterback, either.

  4. I really, really hope that Bezos is actually trying to turn the WaPo into a truly government-questioning journalistic outfit, because we sorely, sorely need one. This type of ass-kissing and unquestioning interview is an absolute joke. It would be beyond simple for any journalist or news outfit to embarrass the shit out of just about any politician nowadays because 1) they are morons, and 2) they are used to never being questioned any more. Yeah, the journalist might lose “access”, but fuck, access to ass-kissing isn’t really access at all anyway. At least, not to anyone who values their journalistic integrity. Which, unfortunately, seems to be just about noone.

    Pathetic. And no one calls them on it, at all. I swear this shit is a house of cards ready to fall if a few people/outfits decided they were going to shake things up. The opportunity is there, someone just needs to take it.

    1. I swear this shit is a house of cards ready to fall if a few people/outfits decided they were going to shake things up

      Apparently, Koch Brothers money isn’t enough.

      1. But maybe Amazon money will be. At least Radley will be working there to expose the police.

        1. The cops already do a pretty good job of exposing themselves. The problem is that nobody seems to give a shit that they’re violent baboons except for the occasional friends and family of some unfortunate corpse who caught the cops on a bad day.

      2. Briet Bart was doing just that when he, uhm, died, and then his coroner croaked, and, no, no, not a suspicious coincidence at all.

    2. …access to ass-kissing isn’t really access at all anyway.

      This. If all they’re going to do is serve as an outlet for press-releases, all they need is an email address.

    3. Alexander was on Meet the Press this weekend. It was laughable. No statement was questioned, even a little bit.

      Although a couple of the people in the round table admitted that the worst part of the NSA scandal was how it hurt Obama politically. “This boot is sooooooo yummy.”

    4. What is even more pathetic is that I guarantee you the hacks at 60 Minutes who did this piece go to bed every night convinced they are watchdog journalists crusading for the public good. The really are a new level of hacks. The guys who wrote of Pravda at least were aware of what they were paid government hacks. The current generation of US media don’t even have that.

      1. They’re waiting for their journalistic awards. They’re the next Woodward and Bernstein! They just know it as they lie in bed waiting for sleep!

      2. They’re the same hacks who tried to resurrect the fake Benghazi scandal and then got bitch-slapped for believing a con man.

        1. You mean Obama didn’t really exploit bigotry against Muslims by blaming Benghazi on a stupid YouTube video?

          I think he did!

          1. Susan Rice did.

            Why is that a scandal?

            Anyway, if 60 Minutes won’t ask tough questions then they are worthless.

            1. Because she was rewarded with a higher position. And Obama and Hillary’s incompetence let a US ambassador get murdered and then proceeded to lie to cover it up. And to this day we still have no idea what the ambassador was doing there and there is very good reason to believe it was either or an arms running operation or a secret CIA prison, both of which would be illegal and something the Black Jesus claims not to do.

              That is why it is a scandal you little retard.

            2. because a guy went to jail to cover the adminstration’s ass

              BUT at this point what does it matter, you fucking CUNT!!!

              1. He went to jail for a probation violation.

                1. Yes, I know, and you are still a fucking CUNT!!!

                2. Yes, and Capone went to prison for tax evasion.

                  Following a hearing before a judge, Nakoula was ordered to jail without bail, with the judge citing probation violations including lying to probation officials, “danger to the community” and “lack of trust in the defendant”. On November 7, Nakoula pleaded guilty to four of the charges against him in an apparent plea bargain. He was subsequently sentenced to a year in federal prison and four years of supervised release.

                  Only the most detached from reality could suggest that Nakoula Nakoula wasn’t railroaded by the Obama administration under pressure by our friends the Saudis, looking for a scapegoat’s blood to satiate the Islamist hordes tearing up their metropolitan areas in their monthly rage-fest.

                  Nakoula Nakoula’s arrest was a cynical bit of realpolitik; nothing more, nothing less.

                  1. ^^^^^^^
                    THIS!!

            3. “Susan Rice did.”

              Was Susan Rice fired for exploiting bigotry against Muslims?

              Was Susan Rice disciplined for exploiting bigotry against Muslims?

              If not, then Barack Obama condones exploiting bigotry against Muslims. That’s what “condone” means.

            1. I know, it’s really frightening how many people believed Barack Obama’s lies about Benghazi, and that’s an excellent example.

              So, really, Barack Obama didn’t just exploit bigotry against Muslims–he perpetuated bigotry against Muslims. I apologize for not mentioning that before–thank you for pointing it out.

              And any self-respecting liberal or progressive–who cared about not having a president that actively perpetuates bigotry–should have withdrawn their support from Barack Obama the moment they learned the truth about what really happened in Benghazi.

              1. “And any self-respecting liberal or progressive”

                Please name 3. I can think of possibly one in Greenwald.

    5. Not gonna happen. Earlier this year, before the Snowden leaks, Amazon signed $600 million contract with the CIA for compute services.

      At best Bezos might put a finger up in the air and determine which way the wind blows and question government only if it’s popular to do so. They always remove controversial or offensive books and items, and as seen during their shareholders meeting, Bezos always bends towards popular opinion (Compare his two responses):
      http://www.geekwire.com/2013/b…..r-meeting/

      1. Considering the track record of other tech billionaires, I will be very surprised if Bezos is anything but a crony capitalist pro government asshole. For these sorts of people freedom means butt sex and abortion and the right to pay taxes in order to pad their pockets.

        1. I hope you are wrong on this John. Elon broke my heart, and I cannot have Bezos doing the same thing. Plus I love me some Amazon.

          I hear Thiel is libertarian, does he tow the lion?

          1. How did Elon break your heart?

            Tesla just announced a new car for less than $40,000.

            1. Tesla earned $51 million on ZEV credits, without which it would not have been able to report a profit.

              http://www.motherjones.com/pol…..-subsidies

          2. I hope I am wrong too. And I am addicted to Amazon. I love it. And I would give anything to see the Washington Post become a real newspaper rather than a DNC and government mouth piece. But I am not optimistic.

  5. “Don’t you understand? It’s an HONOR to be raped by the king.”

  6. I watched it. I was amazed that, even when someone was met with a very leading question, they gave a weaselly answer that should be obvious to anyone actually interested in the full picture. Instead of, “We’re not capable of doing X,” it was a lot of, “We’re not allowed to do X.” Because doing X would be against the law, so they wouldn’t do it. They’re a federal agency, why would they break the law?

    And I loved that bit about Snowden being a freak for covering his computer at home. This came not a minute after talking about how dangerous Snowden is for taking all those classified documents. Wouldn’t covering his work from his girlfriend, or any potential onlookers, be a responsible thing to do?

    1. I know people who work for things like accounting firms and they are required by the firm to have a filter on their laptop screen that makes it basically impossible to see what is on the screen unless you are sitting right in front of it, because they work with people’s private information and can’t have people the next seat over reading the screen. Are they freaks too?

      Absolutely absurd. There are blatant lies, and then there is when the government and its sycophants go off on a tangent that is so stupid it boggles the mind. They seem to do that a lot, seeing as they are somewhat removed from reality.

      1. I have to have a password protect on my blackberry and I could get in a lot of trouble if I worked on government work on my home computer. I am not talking about classified material, which would send me to jail instead of just being fired. I am talking about LEO sensitive material.

        There is nothing unusual at all about Snowden not letting his girlfriend see what he was doing. I have made it very clear to my wife that she is to leave my work blackberry alone no matter what.

        1. John, what struck me odd in the Reason story was this: He also covered up his computer at home so his girlfriend couldn’t see what he was working on, which everybody on camera seems to think is crazypants and not something a person whose job involves looking at classified data might do.

          Whatever his job involved, it certainly did not involve looking at classified ANYTHING at home. Sure, there are special arrangements for some like the director of the CIA and others to do (or did) this, but those also involve special data connections and all sorts of other security.

          1. Good point. I think it probably means he didn’t want his g/f to know anything and run any legal risk. Regardless it is hardly evidence he is nuts.

      2. this is playing on the meme that Snowden is a traitor. Even the most easily explained action will be framed as the work of a sociopath.

        1. Did Snowden wipe his butt with his left or right hand? We speak to an expert in the field about his toilet habits and what it all means right after this station identification break.

      3. Yep – I have an auto-screen-lock that starts shortly after I quit typing – everyone in my function has to have it, due to the sensitive nature of our work.

        And it’s a MAJOR issue if we ever let any “personally odentifiable information” go out to a) someone who absolutely doesn’t need it and/or b) fail to encrypt it properly.

        I disciplined a guy at my last assmt for being somewhat careless with the latter point.

        But we’re just a private firm, doing this based on our own, internal standards about how to safeguard employees’ information…we’re hardly as important or good as the GOVERNMENT, for heaven’s sake!

      4. I assumed he did this because he wanted his girlfriend to be able to honestly deny she knew anything about what he was doing. He probably cares for her, knew perfectly well that NSA wasn’t going to like what he was doing, and didn’t want her to end up in the slammer. Seems pretty rational to me.

    2. Even talking about Snowden’s character is infuriating. I don’t care if Snowden worships Satan and sacrifices kittens and puppies, that doesn’t make it okay for the NSA to spy on everyone.

      Whenever they talk about Snowden, they are just trying to change the subject and distract people.

      1. Exactly. Snowden’s character means exactly zero if the material he got is true, which all indications point to.

        1. But… but… national greatness!

          1. But…but….Snowden’s an egotist!! An EGOTIST!!!

            Horrors!

            1. Yeah we’ve got to stop these people who think they are greatest thing ever. Why can’t they be humble, like the people who just want the power to kill without a trial or even a warrant.

      2. I’d kind of like Snowden MORE if he worshiped Satan, but that’s just me…

      3. Whenever they talk about Snowden, they are just trying to change the subject and distract people.

        Shorter: it’s an ad hominem attack.

        1. If he was a Satanist who sacrificed puppy killers to the Dark Lord, that would make him the most adorable fugitive ever.

  7. You have to assume a puff piece will come from a reporter who formerly worked in the office of the Director of National Intelligence.

    This is the question I was waiting for during the 60 minutes piece:
    “Several extremely high-ranking intelligence officials have told blatant lies, even while under oath. How can viewers believe anything you say is the truth?”

    1. *drone strike*

      “Go to commercial…”

    2. Hey, if they haven’t done anything wrong, obviously they have nothing to worry about.

      On the other hand, if they’re never asked if they did anything wrong or see any consequences for doing so…

  8. The NSA is “defending our civil liberties and privacy,” according to NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander. Upon hearing this, Miller just nods. If you’re looking for a journalist or journalism that challenges the NSA or asks hard questions, this isn’t it.

    Who the fuck would keep watching this episode after this whopper?

    1. defending our privacy and liberty by violating it. Up is down, freedom is slavery.

  9. Shriek has joined us, everyone! Let’s welcome Shriek! He’ll be throwing his feces about while he’s with us, so please be alert!

    Shriek, everyone! Shriek!

    1. I heard this in Mr. Roarke’s voice.

      Smiles, everyone, Smiles!

    2. Screaming, masturbating and throwing shit at onlookers. It is shreek’s move.

  10. French horror-mystery series The Returned

    I assumed, from the ads, it was yet another zombie show.

    1. Sort of, but not in the way you might think.

  11. This is “60 Minutes”.
    The people who claimed Audis jumped into swimming pools, and apples without worms were dangerous.
    And anyone expects them to do other than lie? Obo is honest, by comparison.

    1. They are also the people who paid Palestinian kids to throw rocks at Israeli soldiers so they could get some good film. They also settled a slander suit by William Westmooreland for a large amount of money. They have been lying and making up stories really since the beginning.

      1. Did they plant the explosives in the gas tanks of the pickup trucks, or was that another sleazy ‘news’ show?

        1. I think that was 20/20.

            1. So the sleaze was widely distributed.

  12. Even if the NSA did stop the Chinese from attacking our computer networks, how does collecting everyone’s phone calls and emails further that endeavor?

    What do you mean by “our” computer networks? The government’s networks, or private citizens’ networks?

    The NSA allegedly stopping the Chinese government from attacking computer networks, by instead having the US federal government attack computer networks, futhers the US government’s endeavors.

  13. Gen. Alexander deflects the question by stating that these were mistakes and were not “willful.”

    “Okay, so you’re saying you’re incompetent, then- right?

    “RIGHT?”

    1. A fool or a knave; in no case to be trusted.

  14. the 20-minute blowjob correspondent John Miller performed Sunday evening on Gen. Keith Alexander and other National Security Agency leaders

    SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER!

  15. Miller is an ex-cop and an authority fetishist. Fuck him.

  16. “He also covered up his computer at home so his girlfriend couldn’t see what he was working on…”

    So, basically, he acted exactly like you’d expect someone who was a dedicated, conscientious, intelligence analyst to act.

    Do these people really think we’re that stupid?

    1. That wasn’t for you. That was for the people stupid enough to believe it.

      1. Which I fear was much of the 60 Minutes audience.

      2. They really don’t give a damn what somebody with two functioning neurons thinks, do they? It’s a numbers game and they know it.

        Now I’m depressed.

  17. I was not able to stomach this. Nearly threw up after this part. NSA spying would have stopped 9/11. WHY DO YOU NOT WANT TO STOP 9/11, AMERICA HATERS?

    Gen. Keith Alexander: Well, the reality is if you go and do a specific one for each, you have to tell the phone companies to keep those call detail records for a certain period of time. So, if you don’t have the data someplace you can’t search it. The other part that’s important, phone companies– different phone companies have different sets of records. And these phone calls may go between different phone companies. If you only go to one company, you’ll see what that phone company has. But you may not see what the other phone company has or the other. So by putting those together, we can see all of that essentially at one time.

    John Miller: Before 9/11, did we have this capability?

    Gen. Keith Alexander: We did not.

    John Miller: Is it a factor? Was it a factor?

    Gen. Keith Alexander: I believe it was.

    What Gen. Alexander is talking about is that two of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi were in touch with an al Qaeda safe house in Yemen. The NSA did not know their calls were coming from California, as they would today.

    Gen. Keith Alexander: I think this was the factor that allowed Mihdhar to safely conduct his plot from California. We have all the other indicators but no way of understanding that he was in California while others were in Florida and other places.

    1. The NSA was listening to Bin Ladin’s phone calls and knew exactly who the main plotters were and that they were in the country. But they never told the FBI or INS about the danger. They couldn’t share t hat information for fear of compromising means and methods.

      If there is any one organization that is most responsible for the intelligence failure that was 911, it was the NSA. They have shown time and time again that they are incapable of ever sharing useful information with anyone who might do something with it.

  18. I guess it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. If the current President had an “R” next to his name, 60 Minutes would, every week, be tearing him/her apart on the spying, imprisoning and killing of American citizens, with calls of “The terrorists have won!”

    1. Agreed…but they’re all statists now.

  19. Decades ago, 60 Minutes did a story on Arcosanti, about which I have first-hand knowledge, having worked there one summer. The story was such a hatchet-job that I never trusted them again.

    1. Someone (can’t remember for sure who, but I think it might have been Jerry Doyle) once told them “I’ll agree to be interviewed by you, provided I can also film the entire interview for myself”.

      They refused. It makes it a lot harder for a bunch of scumbags to do a smear job on you when you have the raw, unedited footage.

      1. They did things like show barrels of construction debris and snark that this was somehow contrary to the ecological ideals of the project. No, it’s just construction debris, like any construction project has. And we were as eco about it as possible: one thing I did was pull nails from used wood so that they could be reused.

        Another thing the 60 Minutes people did was to carry their camera equipment across a large, rattlesnake-infested area so that they could get far away enough so that their first shot of the buildings would make them look as small as possible. I had hiked in that area, and vividly remember stopping and realizing that all these holes I saw in the ground had rattlesnakes dozing in them. 60 Minutes really had to go out of their way to get that shot!

  20. Alexander repeatedly lied, saying twice that metadata was only collected with “probable cause”, when FISA only requires “articulable suspicion.”

    The deception is important, because “probably cause” requires the existence of a prior criminal act in the Fourth Amendment. Suspicion of possible future events just requires extreme Pantophobia.

  21. Wow, what’s happened to this show? When I used to watch in the ’70s, all they did was question and doubt the gov’t…now they’re statists…what happened? I mean really happened? Why the about face? Would they be this way during the Clinton admin?
    Remember the “Question Authority” bumper stickers? Haven’t seen those in over five years…what a coincidence.

  22. “Miller is also rumored to be leaving the network soon to go work for the NYPD.”

    With the softballs he was lobbing in this interview, you’d think he’d be heading to a beer league.

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