back to article CIA re-orgs to build cyber-snooping into all investigations

The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has decided to re-invent itself for the digital age, promising to “place our activities and operations in the digital domain at the very center of all our mission endeavours.” The re-org was announced last Friday by CIA director John Brennan, who has made an unclassified …

  1. Ole Juul

    This isn't the right fix

    That level of paranoia is either a sickness or a deep fear of retaliation. The same budget put toward professional help (if it's the first problem) or making friends (if it's the second), would yield vastly better results.

    1. Mark 85

      Re: This isn't the right fix

      It's definitely a sickness and probably a power play for budget and position in the government by the CIA. We now appear to have two agencies duplicating each others efforts and spending a lot more tax dollars to do it.

      I'm thinking it's mission creep and agency competition going on. Once upon a time, the NSA did the surveillance and the CIA did the human intelligence (boots on the ground). I guessing the NSA isn't passing along or making the info the CIA needs available. It will probably take an act of Congress to merge these two together but that still doesn't mean that they'll be any more effective. But, fat chance of that happening given the Congress we have elected. I'm not sure who's the bigger idiots... the agencies, the Congress, or the those of us who elected Congress and continue to re-elect idiots with a mouth full of promises.

      1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

        Re: This isn't the right fix

        The NSA and CIA cannot merge. Ever.

        The NSA is part of the DoD. The CIA is a civilian intelligence agency.

        Now, the CIA does indeed have some specialized mission specific needs in the digital arena, but we most certainly don't need two agencies ending up with 100% overlap.

  2. John Deeb
    Big Brother

    Just regard the NSA as the Google of American Intelligence Agencies. The NSA collects while, amongst other interested parties, the CIA wants to do the looking and analysis. The NSA, like Google, always has excused collecting and storing of other people's data with the claim it's not constituting any violation of anything because machines do not "invade" anything by just the processing or storing. That's a rather weak logical basis but considering the scale of businesses and secrecy build on this precept, the consequences of such reasoning.are staggering and seemingly impossible to challenge. Actually only more agencies and IT companies are getting aboard that same high-speed train to nowhere as we speak.

  3. Florida1920

    We've heard it before

    Titanic. Deck chairs.

  4. Schultz

    That'll be fun in the next James Bond

    JB: ... I discovered the evil lair, no personnel on site, make CIA send a team asap ...

    Moneypenny: Now where was that new 'assistance under duress' form on the innovatively integrated CIA contact site. Darn, I only find the new leveraged delegate decision-making and accountability rules. Why didn't they intercept JB's message by now? Maybe we shouldn't send them those other exabytes of data every day ...

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    It seems to me in the west and in the US and UK especially...

    ... that there's a general push to merge the police/judiciary/criminal justice system with the alphabet agencies. Eventually there'll be little point in having separate databases or bodies since they'll all replicate the same data anyway, which is everybody's life history and the connections between people.

    (But the UK will still persist saying that recorded phone conversations can't be admitted as evidence in court?)

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    SIS .... Grows a Pair. The Great UKGBNI Dream and Novel Deal

    Does Intelligence run Governments or does the City and Cities imagine they have Creative Cyber Command and Control of Computers and Communications, IT and Media? Which be the Hungry Hooker and the Dom Don?

    And what be the excuse for the pathetic posturing apology that is puppet politics, apart from it being a program and not altogether ineffectual media brainwashing project?

  7. Bernard M. Orwell

    How long...

    ...before it comes to light that they've been spying on each other? Again.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bong - is that you?

    Goooooo digital. And snooping. Of course snooping.

  9. Desidero


    The ever insightful Marcie Wheeler weighs in:

    Key is "who's going to read all this cyberdata once you fired all your translators/language experts to hire cyber experts?" ok, she didn't quite say it like that - close. In any case, expect nice looking graphs and Powerpoints.

    Missing was Brennan's top-secret directive #5, "Hold more meetings."

  10. Peter 26

    The cats out of the bag

    Now everybody knows about their spying there is no need to keep it top secret, they can now use it in standard operations.

    I'm all against mass snooping, but if you're going to bug a house maybe its easier to just turn their PC into a bug with a bit of malware?

    Seems fair enough as long as we are just swapping one technology for another.

    Who they target, and if it is signed off by a judge is a different matter though.

    1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: The cats out of the bag

      Erm, CIA operations *are* Top Secret from end to end.

      The CIA is prohibited by its charter from operating within the United States, so need for a judge to sign off on anything.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: Erm, CIA operations *are* Top Secret from end to end.

        Bwah-ha. Bwah-ha-ha. Ha-ha ho-ho he-he! Bwaaaah-haaahw! He-he ho-ho!


        Ho-ho he-he! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!

        You're killing me!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only 99% EVIL!

    Come on guys, lets push hard for that one percent!

  12. logistix

    This same old shit has been happening since at least 1999 that I know of with Echelon in Menwith Hill, England. (not to mention TEMPEST and CARNIVORE before that) A friend of mine in the Army started out at that station as soon as he graduated high school and is now pulling in $200k doing the same shit at Fort Meade. WHY IS THIS NEWS?? NO ONE ELSE'S CLASSMATES SIGNED UP FOR THIS YEARS AGO?? Or is it because everyone knows how the internet works now and everyone has a stronger understanding of technology and a stronger personal belief in privacy now? Or is it because these are not "rumors" anymore they are "facts" now and everyone feels violated and scared? #OldNews

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reallity sucks

    Those who are not impacted daily by cyber crime are few even if you are unaware of this reality. You will be paying for all cyber crime one way or the other rather it's higher costs for goods and services, higher insurance rates, higher interest rates on credit cards, etc. Currently the internet is like the wild west where anything goes and the lawless rule by default. That will take a long time to change but it's vital to survival of society. Being naïve isn't going to resolve the problems.

    1. Florida1920

      Re: Reallity sucks

      Those who are not impacted daily by cyber crime are few even if you are unaware of this reality.

      It's hard to fight cybercrime when the people charged with fighting it are themselves committing criminal acts. All in the name of national security, of course. Sure.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    No mention of attempted regime changes by assasination, bombing of civillians by drone etc etc etc

    I therefore assume they've given up on all that and now just spy on their own people?

    1. Florida1920

      Re: Hmmmm

      Not at all.They're diverting attention from that "wet" stuff and trying to look relevant. After Sony, "digital" is all the rage, don't ya know. Out there in the Heartland, everyone who ever mistakenly installed a dodgy toolbar or a virus is cheering this further Balkanization of our government. Meanwhile, the band and the drones play on.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    The usual "DC shuffle"

    Choose at least one, no incorrect answer possible:

    A) There's now too much focus on what the NSA is doing, so let's move some of the cyberspying under a new roof.

    B) As usual, you have one DC bureaucracy that is doing something, so now another DC bureaucracy wants to do that same thing, so they can justify their current/future budgets and headcount. (For example, I think there is something like 17 different agencies that generate "foreign intelligence". I know it is some shockingly large number.)

  16. EUbrainwashing

    Let me spell it out to you: T A X A T I O N

    There is only one crime for which everybody is under suspicion of committing. The means for ever deepening subjugation is growing in potential. Will the state walk away from the opportunity? Take cash out of society, make every transaction accountable and SLAM you can tax every last drop from everybody. Do you really think that opportunity will be allowed to slip by. Do you really think all this is just about a few dissenters?

    1. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: Let me spell it out to you: T A X A T I O N

      Wow, just... Wow.

      Do look up what the CIA does and what it is forbidden from doing.

      1. EUbrainwashing

        Re: Let me spell it out to you: T A X A T I O N

        Hop back in bed, pull the duvet up over your head and go back to sleep.

  17. Robert Helpmann??

    Only Two?

    If the CIA succeeds in establishing its new digitally-skilled teams, the USA will have two agencies one more agency conducting extensive cyber-ops.


  18. Tom 13

    Re: It may also sound like the CIA is going to be doing a lot more digital snooping

    Not at all. Sounds more like they recognize that they have a lot of digital data and aren't leveraging it enough. So it could be a good move.

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