back to article New NSA leak reveals invasion of the management consultants

The Register can reveal that while the NSA has been infiltrating the highest echelons of the governments of US allies, a counter-infiltration has taken place. Crack teams of Microsoft marketing droids, sleeper cells of incognito TEDx speakers and the greatest sociologists ever to torture a syntax into confessing to crimes of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No "low hanging fruit" or need to "touch base"?

    1. Crisp

      That's blue sky thinking right there...

    2. Oh Homer

      This article really delivers value

      I feel incentivized by its dynamism.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And now for a recital of NSA poetry

    Sigh... and for a moment you had me hoping that the ghost (in the machine) of Douglas Adams was joining forces with Dilbert to wreck havoc on the Vogons of the NSA....

    1. Malagabay

      The B Ark has landed...

      and the telephone sanitizers are now in control...

    2. b0llchit Silver badge

      Re: And now for a recital of NSA poetry

      My Bullshit Bingo-card already overflowed reading the article. Then, as a consequence, the earth gave up and spontaneously exploded. And you want poetry? Can't you just leave it at planet destruction so my towel can be kept clean?

      1. Fatman

        Re: And now for a recital of NSA poetry

        Bullshit Bingo-card

        No, you must mean Bullshit Bingo-Dictionary

        That damn thing is thicker that the NYC phone book!!!

    3. Schultz

      Management-speak vs. Newspeak

      Plusgood: better plausible deniability. The Eigenvalue of all bullet points would be "proactively leverage collaborative information to cognitive processes, Integrate SIGINT agility of the mission and Align business engagement”. Is waterboarding part of that mission? Depends who is asking.

  3. William Boyle

    Ah, the dangers of the uneducated that possesses a large vocabulary... sigh.

    1. Gray

      The usual blizzard of nothingness ...

      Move along, please ... quietly, if you will. Nothing to see here ... nothing a'tall. Nothing new a'tall.

      For those who've not jostled elbows with the denizens of any US teacher's college (more puffedly labeled a 'College of Education') this sort of elevated double-speak is an impenetrable layer of protection forming a moat around the hallowed ramparts of their gilded tower.

      Polysyllabic nothing-speak has become the mantle of the middle-management do-nothings. These are the good folk who drove the word "use" out of American English, replacing it with "utilize." Only the crude, unwashed working stiffs of America would "use a tool"; an educated person will "utilize an appropriate implement."

      The Idaho National Guard, years ago, was upset with a group of discontented folk who objected to rail shipments of highly-radioactive materials through their communities. Rather than labeling them as "dissenters," the Guard applied the label "opposing force" (which in mil-speak becomes 'OP-FOR') and proceeded to build a mountain of jargon to justify "reaction strategies" should the naughty folk step across the line sufficiently to merit a harsh response.

      Ahhhh ... words. We string them into ropes with which to hang the unwary.

      Or to ensnare and bilk the unsuspecting.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        Re: The usual blizzard of nothingness ...

        "These are the good folk who drove the word "use" out of American English, replacing it with "utilize." Only the crude, unwashed working stiffs of America would "use a tool"; an educated person will "utilize an appropriate implement.""

        I think the rot set in with "mode" and "task" as vertbs.

        But I learned most of my grammar studying compilers

      2. Psyx

        Re: The usual blizzard of nothingness ...

        I still like "Collateral damage was caused by non-target specific incendiaries", as used by a spokesman at a press conference during the Gulf War.

        Or "We dropped napalm on the school by accident", in normal human language.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ William Boyle

      If you're going to make a post lamenting the uneducated... Could you at least try to make sure that your sentence has consistency in terms of singular and plural?

      Translated for the large proportion of commentards who won't understand the above words: this means decide whether you are talking about one thing or many things. I know it's quite an advanced concept but do try to keep up.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "diversity, empowerment, innovation, risk-taking and agility"

    That's a full house, I think.

    Impressive stuff.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "diversity, empowerment, innovation, risk-taking and agility"

      Clearly Mr. Snowden was in the audience.

    2. Captain Save-a-ho

      Re: "diversity, empowerment, innovation, risk-taking and agility"

      The only thing missing are the made-up, corporate buzzwords. Something like linkativity or rightshoring.

    3. Fatman

      Re: "diversity, empowerment, innovation, risk-taking and agility"

      That's a full house bullshit, I think.


  5. RW

    How very Dilbertesque!

    It could be from a Dilbert cartoon! "Leverage" as a verb, my eye!

    The thing that really worries me is that the writers of this bilge are (apparently) unaware how uncommunicative it is, how silly it sounds, how empty of real meaning.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: How very Dilbertesque!

      Actually, I think they very well understand how meaningless it all is, but we are not the target audience.

      I'm reminded of the point in the Foundation series, where the politician makes a long impassioned speech and Hari Seldon mathematically analyses it, only to find it resolves to zero.

    2. elDog

      Re: How very Dilbertesque!

      But what will we do when we don't have Dilbert or Pogo to tell us that the enemy is us?

    3. dan1980

      Re: How very Dilbertesque!

      Actually, I'm not so sure. I wouldn't rule it out of course - but I suspect that it's designed to be vey effective communication.

      Communication, to be effective, has to be tailored to the audience and the purpose. In this case, the audience seems to be policy makers and the purpose is to make themselves seem at the same time effective and also in need of more funding. It is rhetoric for the purpose of self- promotion. Big words and dense sentences justify big spends, making the simple look complex and the complex simple.

      The reason such language is used is that it works for a given audience.

      1. dajames

        Re: How very Dilbertesque!

        Communication, to be effective, has to be tailored to the audience and the purpose. In this case, the audience seems to be policy makers and the purpose is to make themselves seem at the same time effective and also in need of more funding. It is rhetoric for the purpose of self- promotion. Big words and dense sentences justify big spends ...

        So what you're saying is that It's about impressing politicians who have big budgets at their disposal by using meaningless words that will make them think they're too stupid to understand, and embarrassed to admit that they don't understand, but that will certainly impress them enough to elicit further funding?

        So there's a reason that it makes no sense!

        The alternative would be that the people writing this stuff think that it does actually mean something, but that would be inconceivable.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How very Dilbertesque!

      It's just a transitive verb, even when used in its colloquial form. I'm willing to bet that no one gets upset when sports-commentators say "He's got an upset coming from that result".

      Language evolves, and, as with all evolution, some branches of it won't survive, whilst some will. It's why we're not saying "thee" and "thou" any more.

    5. Anonymous Coward

      Re: How very Dilbertesque!

      No Dilbert here, the NSA just grabbed a manuscript from Simon, from the BOFH fame :P

  6. jerry 4

    "Counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor"

    Damnit, I knew that was just far too close to "subvert the dominant paradigm" to be real.

    1. TitterYeNot

      "Damnit, I knew that was just far too close to "subvert the dominant paradigm" to be real."

      Yeah, I was wondering why I started thinking about green putty and armpits at that point....

  7. Chris G

    What happened

    To the word Synergy? I didn't see it once , I was under the impression it was mandatory to include it several times in any supra-verbal dialogue!

    1. Frank Haney
      Big Brother

      Re: What happened

      Paradigm is missing as well.

      And worst of all, I don't see anybody going forward.

      1. Denarius Silver badge

        Re: What happened

        going forward ? That would imply the US military is winning somewhere. And those who go forward get shot first.

    2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: What happened

      Synergy? That's so 2010.

      Lack of the old buzzwords is quite important - that's how real managers detect any possible wannabes trying to join the club.

      In this particular case, they are codewords, and anybody caught with an old codebook is a potential threat to the Most Holy National Security. Beware.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think...

    we should authoritatively optimize mission-critical methods of empowerment.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where are they in relation to the envelope? Inside? Outside? Pushing the edge? And boxes? Well, shit, I'm not going to get any sleep tonight worrying about it.

  10. Graham Marsden


    ... BINGO!!

  11. Mephistro

    Some menacing language here, methinks

    "...we aggressively pursue legal authorities and a policy framework..."

    This sounds like a not too obscure euphemism for "blackmailing the shit out of judges and lawmakers". A subtle way of reminding their intended audience that there's an iron fist inside their silk glove?

    Don Vito Corleone would be proud of this sentence! :0)

  12. MrDamage Silver badge

    Nerd Wars: Episode V

    The Pointy Haired Boss Strikes Back.

    1. Fatman

      Re: Nerd Wars: Episode V

      Nerd Wars: Episode VI

      The Pointy Hairs endure a free fall in a lift (elevator for us USAsians) shaft.

      Very short movie.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is what happens when you try a paradigm shift without the clutch ..

  14. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A sample of NSA feed seed designed to tell all in the manner of its handling ....

    ..... with the avoidance of ITs virtual engagement equally revealing to all

    It be not only NSA who be bombarded with new features and abilities which can massively expand controlled exploitation and power generation of the universal assets base, for all spooky intelligence agencies can host smarter programs if they choose to engage and employ them.

    From: xxxx yyyyy

    Subject: You have NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT Mail and an Invite into Source Alien Intelligence with CyberIntelAIgent Control in Remote Virtual Systems Administrations

    Date: 24 November 2013 11:38:12 GMT


    Merry XSSXXXXmas .........

    And yes, this is a live new GCHQ UKGBNI beta test of virtual communications collection systems into searching intelligence solutions.


    nsaarc .....

    There's more than just a little going on out there in IntelAIgent Space Places and the Live Operational Virtual Environment, El Reg, and none of it is minor.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: A sample of NSA feed seed designed to tell all in the manner of its handling ....

      Came for amanfrmomars comment.

      Satisfied :)

      (also glad to see that he's still getting replied to by humans)

  15. xyz Silver badge

    From the country that brought you....

    involuntary conversion (plane crash)

    negative patient outcome (death)

    wooden inter-dental stimulators (toothpick)

    and I once had an HP "go getter" (who was in full ass covering mode) ask me for the "delta on the server variance." I made her say it twice before I answered "I have no idea what you mean" and waited until she translated her BS into plain English..."which servers are aren't reporting?"

    1. Denarius Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: From the country that brought you....

      lucky you did not get powerpointed into a co-operative frame of mind...

      well done, have an upvote

  16. Denarius Silver badge

    might be a good thing

    As language is so closely related to thinking, could this mean the spooks might be PHBd/white-anted/sabotaged into paralysis eventually as their minds collapse under the verbiage.

  17. frank ly

    re. "untethered"

    The chains we make for ourselves are the strongest chains of all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: re. "untethered"

      The chains we make for ourselves are the strongest chains of all.

      Grin, that sounds more like a DIY shop ad for a BDSM target audience :)

  18. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Thinking of better things already on their merry way might be a real good thing:-)

    As language is so closely related to thinking, could this mean the spooks might be PHBd/white-anted/sabotaged into paralysis eventually as their minds collapse under the verbiage. …. DenariusPosted Monday 25th November 2013 07:14 GMT

    Here be earlier commissioned evidence from the CIA … [ANALYTIC CULTURE IN THE US INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY (2005) Dr Rob Johnston …….…. which more suggests that spooks don’t think nearly well enough at all to be an effective leading driver force, Denarius.

    And yes, Words Control and Power Worlds is not just an Alien Concept and Precept and ProgramMING Project

    Despite the seemingly private and psychological nature of analysis as defined in the literature, what I found was a great deal of informal, yet purposeful collaboration during which individuals began to make sense of raw data by negotiating meaning among the historical record, their peers, and their supervisors. Here, from the interviews, is a typical description of the analytic process:

    When a request comes in from a consumer to answer some question, the first thing I do is to read up on the analytic line. [I] check the previous publications and the data. Then, I read through the question again and find where there are links to previous products. When I think I have an answer, I get together with my group and ask them what they think. We talk about it for a while and come to some consensus on its meaning and the best way to answer the consumer’s question. I write it up, pass it around here, and send it out for review.

    The cognitive element of this basic description, “when I think I have an answer,” is a vague impression of the psychological processes that occur during analysis. The elements that are not vague are the historical, organizational, and social elements of analysis. The analyst checks the previous written products that have been given to consumers in the past. That is, the analyst looks for the accepted organizational response before generating analytic hypotheses.

    The organizational-historical context is critical to understanding the meaning, context, and process of intelligence analysis. There are real organizational and political consequences associated with changing official analytic findings and releasing them to consumers. The organizational consequences are associated with challenging other domain experts (including peers and supervisors). The potential political consequences arise when consumers begin to question the veracity and consistency of current or previous intelligence reporting. Accurate or not, there is a general impression within the analytic community that consumers of intelligence products require a static “final say” on a given topic in order to generate policy. This sort of organizational-historical context, coupled with the impression that consumers must have a final verdict, tends to create and reinforce a risk-averse culture.

    Once the organizational context for answering any given question is understood, the analyst begins to consider raw data specific to answering the new question. In so doing, the analyst runs the risk of confirmation biases. That is, instead of generating new hypotheses based solely on raw data and then weighing the evidence to confirm or refute those hypotheses, the analyst begins looking for evidence to confirm the existing hypothesis, which came from previous intelligence products or was inferred during interactions with colleagues. The process is reinforced socially as the analyst discusses a new finding with group members and superiors, often the very people who collaborated in producing the previous intelligence products. Similarly, those who review the product may have been the reviewers who passed on the analyst’s previous efforts.

    This is not to say that the existing intelligence products are necessarily inaccurate. In fact, they are very often accurate. This is merely meant to point out that risk aversion, organizational-historical context, and socialization are all part of the analytic process. One cannot separate the cognitive aspects of intelligence analysis from its cultural context.

    And as for current incumbent heads of British Intelligence Services .... well, forget about any of those as being smart enough to be able to influence and direct anything whenever they have to be appraised of questions before an event .... to be able to answer anything from something as contrived and self-serving as a Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee ....

    Sorry, chaps, but you cannot avoid the truth of the present situation with its political incorrect and inept pantomime.

  19. Originone


    "It be not only NSA who be bombarded..."

    The voice in my head that I read with turned into a pirate from that line on. Thouroughly entertaining.

  20. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Well, easy to translate...

    “We must proactively position ourselves to dominate that environment”

    We need more money.

    “Fully leverage internal and external partnerships to collaboratively discover targets”

    Forbid clerks from different departments to piss into the other department's kettles. It's disgusting. Bloody nerds.

    “a collaborative information space that mirrors how people interact in the information age”

    We want free iPads.

    “Drive an agile technology base mapped to the cognitive processes”

    Our PCs need upgrading as don't run the latest COD very well.

    “Integrate the SIGINT system into a national network of sensors which interactively sense, respond, and alert one another at machine speed”

    The IT department wants more money and servers.

    “Collectively foster an environment that encourages and rewards diversity, empowerment, innovation, risk-taking and agility”

    Our head of department is a control freak and can you please give him a promotion, like soon.

    “Enable better, more efficient management of the mission and business by establishing new, modifying current, and eliminating inefficient, business processes; by strengthening customer relationships; and by building necessary internal and external partnerships.”

    Please increase our travel and entertainment allowance and make it easier to put lunches on the expense report. We also want an all-expense paid Xmas party this year.

    “Align and standardize administrative business processes”

    The accounting department also wants new machines as their mainframe cannot run Minecraft.

    “Champion the development of a unified NSA/CSS U.S. customer engagement strategy”

    As said before, the T&E budget needs an overhaul. And a couple of departmental "team building trips" to Hawaii would be welcome as well.

    1. Stoneshop

      Re: Well, easy to translate...

      Aren't you in violation of restrictions regarding strong encryption, publicising the decoded version of that message just like that?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor"

    If you read it in the right book, laugh. If you hear it said straight-faced at a meeting, shoot the fucker and do the world a favour.

  22. ecofeco Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    "People we know and deliberately overpay while screwing the plebs that do the actual work."

  23. BigAndos

    All of these made perfect sense to me

    Is it too late for me?

  24. Otto is a bear.

    The trouble is

    This kind of nonsense speak has been around in business for years, why use 1 word when 10 make you sound intelligent. Ok. I know that's not true, it just makes you sound like a Richard. But the fact that the NSA might have resisted it, unlikely, until recently shows credit to them.

    One or two of the more savvy commercial managers in industry and government have been putting word limits on tender responses, now that really challenges an authors grasp of the English language. Sales speak goes straight out the window.

    Anyway back to counterpointing the surrealism of the underlying metaphor. I'm a great fan of technology, you know.

    PS. The police in the UK now refer to informers as HUMINT, rather than snouts or grasses. I'm also intrigued as to how you might deploy a national SIGINT network that operates at machine speed, perhaps there's a new network technology that not just bends the laws of physics, but seriously warps them as well.

  25. Keith Glass

    It seems that. . . .

    . . . the Booz Allen is strong with the NSA. . . that phrasing sounds utterly typical of an Booz Allen Hamioton "deck". . .

  26. FetchIt

    For immediate release

    We deny we ever read or comprehended the above cited reference in the context described in Sec. 14. of the "Freedom to not Read" Act of 1972 but otherwise have interpreted that if we did act as alleged it was all quite legal pursuant to Top Secret Order 1407 created in the year of our Creator 1984.

  27. Amorous Cowherder

    Anyone else...

    ....feel the need to shout "BINGO!" while they were reading the list of nonsense in the centre of the article?!

  28. Fihart

    Powerpoint presentation for the ears.

    Corporate nonsense-speak is about as entertaining and informative.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good news

    Kind of confirms my feelings that the future oppressive states will be more like the one in the Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil than that in Orwell's 1984.

    Sucks if your name is Buttle though!

  30. Dan 55 Silver badge

    New NSA internal use only unbreakable encryption method confirmed

    Well I'm ducked if I can understand it.

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: New NSA internal use only unbreakable encryption method confirmed

      Pah, they'll quack that in no time. <RUNS>

  31. Dylan Fahey

    Not happy

    The Hexamon and Nexus are not happy. Jart attack is imminent.

    1. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

      Re: Not happy

      Can you too feel it in your clavicle?

  32. Tom 13

    Re: OK, the last one ...It's hardly out of place, is it?

    Yes actually it is quite out of place. Unlike the others, it parses and flows in almost melodic fashion despite being clearly intended to mimic them. And not unlike postings from our very own manfrommars, there are moments that feel like you can almost grasp its inner meaning.

    In contrast, the other ones have a soul draining deadness to them. Not unlike Tolkien's description of being caught in the barrow downs or perhaps even the grips of a Nazgûl.

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