back to article NSA whistleblower details intelligence cock-ups

Thomas Drake, the whistleblower who exposed the NSA’s failings on digital surveillance, has said that the US is behind the curve on internet monitoring and has been playing fast and loose with privacy rules. The NSA came later than many think to internet monitoring, Drake told delegates at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. …


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  1. mky
    Big Brother


    My government running roughshod over my rights? Say it isn't so.

    1. Ru
      Black Helicopters

      More importantly,

      Your government running roughshod over your rights in the most expensive and incompetent way possible!

      Who'd have thought such a thing would happen in this day and age?

  2. earl grey

    typical lying government bastards

    no, we don't know what the hell we're doing and if it violates your rights and the consitution; but we're going to do it anyway because we're the asshole government and we can.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Not really retarded, just simply not bright enough

    "Web 2.0 Summit: Thomas Drake, the whistleblower who exposed the NSA’s failings on digital surveillance, has said that the US is behind the curve on internet monitoring and has been playing fast and loose with privacy rules." ....By Iain Thomson in San Francisco

    No shit, Sherlock, .... although doesn't everyone know that, already long ago.

    And as for Internet mentoring, well, you can forgot about that gem of a Program and Project in AI ProgramMING, for they certainly haven't a clue about what to do about it and IT. And GCHQ aren't into spilling any of their secrets to them either, given the catastrophic, self-defeating use Uncle Sam puts its hick forces to. It is just a sad fact of life that the higher intelligence needed for Future Virtual Control of Earthed Assets is definitely missing in the both the natives and the chiefs over there.

    Although I suppose there is absolutely nothing stopping them from buying in the SME they need from abroad, once they know where to shop for such expertise. Although one can wonder and ponder whether that would be too much of a challenge for them too ...... just discovering who to approach with a sterling offer made too attractive to refuse, although obviously it would fistsfull of dollars delivered, in Uncle Sam's case/DARPA's case .......

    After all, what's a few million/billion/trillion amongst friends, other than just loose change whenever IT can delivers so much, and especially whenever so much Hope and Change as promised so earnestly and eloquently by the POTUS and Teleprompter in Chief has proven itself to be such a FUD Dud........ which just all goes to show and prove the point as has been, and is being here made .... the intelligence needed over there is missing, buy in what you need to feed and seed. IT really is that simple, although every fool and self-serving tool will tell you it is much more complicated than that ....... but it really isn't.

    It is just that they are unable to provide what is required.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never forget..

    Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

  5. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    The SA doesn't need resources for this

    Puhleeze - the NSA has at least been clever enough to realize that Big ol' Ameerican Business has already realized the value of relentless intercept and continuous privacy violations. After all, as long as it does it to foreigners nobody will care. The NSA has simply outsourced this requirement to the like of Google, Facebook, Apple and all US companies that handle data in any way, shape or form with a global geographic spread (smaller example: WhatsApp - how to get your hands on all SMS traffic on a global scale - now replaced by iMessage).

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's interesting.

    I thought thinthread was nothing more than the automation of

    1. Capture, just in case,

    2. Encrypt, with a password accessible only through court order,

    3. Get court order(s) if necessary to decrypt it.

    This way no-one is invading anyone's privacy.

    However, I also was of the belief that it was abandoned on the grounds that the person who had to authorise it was worried that it may be illegal. (This is why I like judges so much, I find they won't tell you what they think the law is before hand, so you can know you're being legal, instead reserving the right to wait until they see how it's going to make them look when they make their decision, just so they don't look bad - the concept of an immutable right or wrong doesn't exist, excellent people, truly.)

    That said, this NSA bod really hasn't got a clue. No-one has ever said that the power of trawling the internet was to do with finding secrets. The power of internet trawling is in the reverse induction of what must be so in order for public domain information to be produced. Take this comment for instance. How can a fat northerner either know so much about internal NSA workings and policy, or not as the case may be... (just to clarify, I read it in a book, but for the purpose of the example, if it wasn't in a book... well you guys see what I mean.)

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      You didn't read for content did you?

      Another plasticine intellectual ... although I do sometimes wonder if someone hasn't recoded the old Eliza program to write comments here ...

  7. JaitcH

    Only brave, or dumb, men give the US government the finger. Thomas Drake, a hero.

    It takes a very brave man to stare down one of the most vindictive attorney-generals the US has had since at least Nixon's reign, and Obama tolerates holder's (lowercase to signal contempt) continued abuse of process.

    Look to Manning to see both how malicious and dumb they can be. Concurrently, yet!

    Drakes recollections are so bizarre they have to be based upon truth. One can imagine this bunch of NSA management brown-nosers running around covering their backsides rather than admitting they had dropped the ball.

    And you in the UK shouldn't laugh too much as the NSA is up in Yorkshire at the RAF Menwith Hill base where they run interference for the NSA and hassle people who take too much interest in it.

    The GCHQ sleeps with the NSA (NSA on top) and is essentially unaccountable for it's activities. The UK agencies have far less accountability than that of US agencies.

    We owe a great deal of thanks to people like Thomas Drake as he is the sort of person that scares management into a semblance of compliance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Publicly releasing such information can be damaging to national security and should be prosecuted.

      The govt dropped the charges in order to prevent further disclosure during trial.

      Yes, I used to be involved with national security.

      Believe whatever suits you.

      1. JaitcH

        "The govt dropped the charges in order to prevent further disclosure"

        Most all of the 'democratic' countries have closed/secret court proceedings so I respectfully suggest you are incorrect in this case.

        In some countries the accused is not even allowed to hear the evidence against them and their lawyers are barred from even discussing it with the accused.

        I am signatory to The Official Secrets Act but what I signed is a two-way contract: as long as the government doesn't break the law, then I won't talk about it.

        These days 'classified' is stamped on almost everything - likely the toilet paper, too. I had 'secret' documentation and when I searched on Google I found the source of this 'secret' information.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Internet intelligence could have disrupted the 9/11 attacks?

    "However, that view changed and the NSA began building a system internally called ThinThread, which would extract intelligence from emails, web pages, and online activity, while staying within existing privacy laws for US citizens"

    What terrorist in his right mind used the EMAIL for communication and why does the NSA need to spy on me to protect me from the terrorists? I figure the real use such systems would be put to is spying on domestic political activists. That and the more you talk up the cyber-terrorist-scare, the more money you get out of central government. Drake doesn't seem to realize that's what projects like Trailblazer are all about.

  9. zb

    The Land of the Free

    And they think the Europeans are all communists :)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shadow Factory

    A guy called James Bamford wrote a book published three years ago called 'The Shadow Factory', which was an insightful work about the NSA. Indeed, he was one of the first people to write about the NSA in 'The Puzzle Palace'. He was worried about the amount of information the NSA was collecting & that it could effectively destroy privacy.

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