Admiral Michael Rogers, New NSA Director Really Doesn't Get Why Americans Don't Want to Be Spied On



As reported earlier this week, the National Security Agency is now collecting photos from online to create a massive facial recognition database. Americans shouldn't worry their pretty little heads about that, says new National Security Agency director Admiral Michael Rogers, according to Washington Post article today headlined, "New NSA chief seeks to reassure public on surveillance." How does the admiral hope to reassure us? The Post reports:

The new director of the National Security Agency on Tuesday acknowledged that the agency uses facial-recognition tools but said the intent is primarily to identify terrorists and help prevent attacks — adding that such technologies are not broadly directed against Americans.

"We do not do this on some unilateral basis against U.S. citizens," said Adm. Michael S. Rogers, in some of his first public remarks since taking the helm of the embattled spy agency two months ago.

A year after the first leaks emerged about the scope of NSA surveillance programs, Rogers is seeking to reframe the public debate that has damaged the reputation and morale of the NSA, saying the public needs to understand not just what the organization does but also why it does it and under what limits.

Here's what the admiral needs to understand: Many Americans do not count on the permanent good will of the minions of the domestic surveillance state. As President Obama's own Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board warned in their January report on the domestic spying abuses implicated by the bulk collection of essentially every American's telephone records:

Beyond such individual privacy intrusions, permitting the government to routinely collect the calling records of the entire nation fundamentally shifts the balance of power between the state and its citizens (emphasis added). With its powers of compulsion and criminal prosecution, the government poses unique threats to privacy when it collects data on its own citizens. Government collection of personal information on such a massive scale also courts the ever-present danger of "mission creep." An even more compelling danger is that personal information collected by the government will be misused to harass, blackmail, or intimidate, or to single out for scrutiny particular individuals or groups (emphasis added). To be clear, the Board has seen no evidence suggesting that anything of the sort is occurring at the NSA and the agency's incidents of non-compliance with the rules approved by the FISC have generally involved unintentional misuse. Yet, while the danger of abuse may seem remote, given historical abuse of personal information by the government during the twentieth century, the risk is more than merely theoretical (emphasis added).

Perhaps government spies will always and everywhere be punctilious in their respect for the liberties guaranteed Americans under the Constitution, but it's better to make sure that they never have access to tools that might tempt them not to be.

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  1. Keep in mind that this is the same corrupt gang of thugs that just swapped five Taliban for a deserter, in order to deflect away from a scandal involving systematic fucking over of our servicemen.

    Trust these guys? You gotta be crazy to trust these mendacious fucks.

    1. A bit OT, mostly cause I don’t really care much about the story, but isn’t it possible the trade was executed to prevent potential intelligence leaks or some shit?

      1. Intelligence leaks from who? The guy kept in captivity for 5 years?

      2. Yeah I’m not following that line of reasoning, can you elaborate?

  2. He lives in the Washington hive where everyone knows each other and believes in and trusts in the government. He thinks his assurance “we would never abuse this” means something. And in Washington it does. Outside of Washington it doesn’t. Since he lives in the hive, he doesn’t understand that. This guy wakes up every day and sees himself a a righteous human being protecting the country and doing good every day. He can’t fathom that anyone could see him differently or in any way not trust him or others in his position to do the right thing.

    When you realize that, it is very easy to understand why he is so shocked that the rest of the country doesn’t want him or any of his minions spying on them.

  3. “We do not do this on some unilateral basis against U.S. citizens,”

    No one else thinks doing it to everybody instead of just us makes it okay, guy.

  4. “We do not do this on some unilateral basis against U.S. citizens,”

    It’s astounding that he would have the gall to say this after getting caught doing that very thing with communication data. But I shouldn’t be surprised.

    1. It doesn’t even take gall. It would only take gall if he understood what he was doing was wrong and was trying to lie his way out of it. This is guy is not just a typical liar and reprobate. He is much further gone than that and much more dishonest in that he is dishonest to himself. He actually believes that Episiarch. He actually thinks that he and others in his position are doing good and that there is no reason for anyone not to trust him in that.

      1. I don’t know, John. I think sometimes, you’re correct, and the person does believe they’re “doing good”. But sometimes they’re just a power-hungry slimeball. And you just can’t tell which from a distance.

        1. Actually we are both right. The guy is certainly a power hungry slime ball. He just rationalizes being so by convincing himself that he is doing good. The worst evil is done by people who are the best at rationalizing doing it to themselves by convincing themselves they are doing good. And that is what this guy is doing.

        2. Episiarch’s law:

          Sufficiently advanced mendacity is indistinguisable from self-delusion.

          1. If you actually believe the bullshit dripping from your mouth, does it count as lying?

            1. As that is where lying inevitably leads the liar, yes.

          2. I’ll take it.

            1. I have to side more with Epi than with John. You don’t get to high levels in the government by being stupid, you can get there by being evil. This guy doesn’t not understand what we want, he knows full well what we want and he has no intention of letting us have it. So he pretends to not understand the problem and argues past the point.

              Dealing with several rotten kids out of school at the moment, I am very familiar with this style of arguing. Yelling at the one for throwing a golf club at his brother and threatening to kill him if he ever does it again results in him explaining why exactly he threw the golf club at his brother and why he was entirely justified in doing so. “I don’t give a rats ass why you did it, I am telling you that I am going to tear your legs off and feed them to an iguana if I ever see you do it again” is apparently not the argument-ending statement one would think it to be.

              1. I think the answer is that they’re all Staussians, telling the noble lie for the good of us savages.

      2. I agree with your diagnosis. Is there a treatment, or are we on the way to a regime where the members of our domestic Cheka, NKVD, SS … all persuade themselves that they are acting for the good of all?

        1. Directed to John.

  5. Just stumbled across this: Nancy Pelosi confronted about NSA by teen

    What. An. Idiot. 8-(

  6. I can only assume that Admiral Michael Rogers likes to be dressed in leather pants and a gimp mask and punished severely for being a bad bad boy. And he doesn’t understand why anyone else wouldn’t like that.

  7. As someone on here noted with perfect accuracy a few days ago, this is another part of COINTELPRO 2.0.

    The American people are considered the true enemy, and if you sympathize with the TEA Party or small government in general, you’re especially the enemy.

    1. More like Stasi 2.0

      1. Ok, I didn’t realize this was already a thing:

  8. Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, said “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place, but if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines including Google do retain this information for some time, and it’s important, for example that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities.”[13]

    This is why you can’t access Google services through a Tor exit node and why I use duckduckgo.com and Chromium web browser and all free/open source.

    But my conclusion is most people simply don’t give a fuck. There are plenty of tools that can be used, mostly free of charge, but they don’t use them. I can set up a Tor Hidden Service on an Apache2 LAMP stack right on my own box which is practically untraceable and secure at absolutely no cost.

  9. Installing a working Linux box used to require over 550 man hours, learning a Nordic language, sacrificing a goat, wading through hundreds of pages of (purposely) inscrutable help files, and in some cases programming a new driver in UNIVAC SLEUTH II assembly code using nothing but punch cards while walking miles through the snow barefoot on the wrong side of the tracks and uphill both ways. Today, Linux distros are so idiot-proof that you can put their install CDs into the floppy drive upside-down and the fucker will still work.

  10. Like any bankrupt company, there is always some jackoff willing to take the head job at any morally bankrupt government agency.

  11. Wow. I didn’t know we were hiring ARC clients for high-level government positions…

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