June 7, 2013

"The top intelligence official in the United States condemned as 'reprehensible' leaks revealing a secret program to collect information from leading Internet companies..."

"... and said a separate disclosure about an effort to sweep up records of telephone calls threatens 'irreversible harm' to the nation’s national security."
The comments by James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence,... raise the specter of broad, new investigations into the leaks of secret and classified government documents at a time that Mr. Obama’s administration is already under fire in Washington for aggressively pursuing unauthorized leaks of information by monitoring the activities of journalists.

Questions began about how the documents — marked TOP “SECRET//SI//NOFORN” — emerged even as lawmakers, civil liberties activists, technology executives and members of the public reacted to the scope of the surveillance efforts.

28 comments:

Astro said...

Not another Clapper caper...

madAsHell said...

When I worked in a black box, every document was signed-in, and signed-out. There was always a two person rule. You can't open the safes unless you have a witness. There is a paper trail. Your cell phone is surrendered at the door.

Has anyone seen Sandy Berger?

The Godfather said...

So Google lied when it denied that it was involved in such a program? Is that what Clapper is saying?

Or does Clapper WANT some people to THINK there's such a program?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I can't wait for a Republican President to start waterboarding New York Times correspondents. When the Times bitches just say "Obama did it."

elkh1 said...

"said a separate disclosure about an effort to sweep up records of telephone calls threatens 'irreversible harm' to the nation’s national security."

Yeah right! How so? May believe them if they could sweep disposable cell phones.

Oso Negro said...

Attention government morons! You thought you would simply get away with it? Nope. Didn't happen. Straighten up your act and move along.

elkh1 said...

Oso Negro said...
"Attention government morons! You thought you would simply get away with it? Nope. Didn't happen. Straighten up your act and move along."

Don't worry, the MSM will cover for them and move us along soon. Oh, do you know Kim Gadarshian is having a baby? Oh, oh, Mcdonna's latest facial rearrangement is awful.

They will determine by early next week all these IRS targeting, journalists intimidation, scapegoat a private citizen to cover up Benghazi, sweep phone calls and the internets were all Bush's fault. They need a little more time to co-ordinate their talking points and airbrush their editorials.

Do you think we'd learn of the scandals without Al Gore's internet? Without the Brits reporting them across the pond, the MSM would pretend nothing happened. That's why none of the scandals was uncovered by the MSM, Democrat's propagandists.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

in fairness elkh1

Washington Post broke PRISM. So the US press is 1 for 8.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Of course, this whole PRISM thing could be a fake to smoke out a leak. Distribute very slightly different versions of the slides ( minor variations in the company logos at the top of each page. )

Then wait to see which version leaks.

James Pawlak said...

”MALO PERICULOSAM LIBERTATEM QUAM QUIETUM SERVITIUM “

“QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES?”

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government” (This last quote is from President Thomas Jefferson.)

cf said...

We have One lone Democrat we don't have to throw away, Ron Wyden, which is too bad, because otherwise the whole lot could get tarred and feathered. And while we are at it, thank goodness WIRED magazine has their Danger Room coverage or we would not get squat on any of this stuff. 

I think the statement from Wyden's website, written in conjunction with Udall, is worth a read, surprised it did not make headlines . . . maybe because it was predicated on the Verizon Phone records, but today's news only amplifies the scope.

NYT logged a story on Wyden, Udall yesterday, with a Yawn signal for a headline, but decent content. Describing events of 2010-11, "They had to be content to sit in a special sealed room, soak in information that they said appalled and frightened them, then offer veiled messages that were largely ignored."

edutcher said...

Well, he's already a proven liar.

Astro said...

Not another Clapper caper...

This is the city...

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

in fairness elkh1

Washington Post broke PRISM. So the US press is 1 for 8.


0 for 8.

The WaPo's been sitting on the story for at least 3 weeks. The (Manchester) Guardian, a British paper broke it.

The WaPo spilled what it had to CYA.

Simon said...

He's right, and I hope that they throw the leaker in the brig. I'd prosecute Greenwald for good measure.

edutcher said...

Gonna be tough. He lives in Rio.

Mogget said...

Quite a bummer when things best kept close are broadcast, eh, Clapper...

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

edutcher said...

The WaPo's been sitting on the story for at least 3 weeks. The (Manchester) Guardian, a British paper broke it.

The WaPo spilled what it had to CYA.


I didn't know that. I stand corrected

edutcher said...

It hasn't been common knowledge.

bpm4532 said...

My, do they need some plumbers!

I think there may be a lot of people becoming very uncomfortable where things are going with this huge data collection and mining effort and this is the precursor to some really nasty and embarrassing disclosures of how this has been used against U.S. Citizens who have been wrongly branded as terrorists or sympathizers.

Janet Napolitano thought military veterans were a risk for joining right wing groups. You know, like Christianity?

Dante said...

I was talking with a friend of mine who worked at a company that did Lawful Intercept here in Silicon Valley, after this story broke, to see if he was involved. They were snooping on OC-12 lines in big carrier networks (OC-12 is about 688Mbps, or close to a Gbps).

He says the stuff isn't very useful for encrypted frames (whenever you do https), and further believes in order to make the kind of system they are describing here, it is necessary to intercept at the server, that is before encryption/after decryption. In other words, to make this kind of system, the incumbents (Google, Apple, etc.) would have to be involved.

Now, the government classifies crypto technologies as "Munitions," which means the government, in this case the NSA, gets to decide what security is exported out of the US. That probably means there is no crypto that is exported the NSA can't crack, and due to the way companies work, that also means all data within the US can be cracked.

I don't think the NSA is relying on cracking codes for PRISM, though.

Here are a few thoughts regarding this PRISM idea. As a network engineer, I think it would be very difficult to hide intercept code from others working on a system. While I have seen crypto code "locked up," this function would be very difficult to hide because it would affect important aspects of the system, especially performance. To communicate to the NSA, the system would have to transmit packets, and there are many tools that people could use to see these packets going through.

In other words, it would be hard to conceal this was going on. Testers would see it. Administrators would wonder what was going with their oddly behaving systems, and wonder why performance was so poor.

Large pipes would have to be built coming out of the data-center to feed the huge organs of the big data-analysis machines at the NSA, which would be necessary as those algorithms would be top secret.

In short, I'm wondering about the veracity of this.

I could imagine this as a pilot project, seeing whether it could be done.

Meanwhile, I wanted to mention a similar kind of attempt by the Chinese. They elected to create their own security suite, WAPI, which to this day are having a very hard time getting embedded in their networks. The original idea was they would allocate a security key from a centralized server for any WiFi connection, which would allow them to snoop on the connections of anyone using WiFi. They failed.

Mark said...

Dante, I've been coding to Google AppEngine lately, and one thing to understand about how they handle data storage is that everything is massively redundant; stored once, every entity gets copied N number of times to server farms everywhere. Google does this for both performance and data security reasons.

Each entity is uniquely identified, and each entity's identifier includes its complete parentage information.

Assuming the NSA has the ability to "fork" the feeds from farm to farm, and assuming they can also decrypt the data streams, and assuming they can decrypt the entity identifiers, Google wouldn't need to know anything at all was amiss.

Depending on the depth of history the NSA wanted to keep, they wouldn't need anywhere near the total long-term storage capacity of Google. If they wanted to keep two weeks of data for mining purposes they could operate at a much lower data storage cost. But since this is almost certainly "black budget" territory I doubt that's an issue.

David R. Graham said...

Jarrett is maneuvering to fire Clapper: "There, problem solved." She wrote the drama.

Smilin' Jack said...

"The top intelligence official,,,

I wish these bozos would stop using the word "intelligence." It corrupts the language.

ken in sc said...

I don't think we have tarred and feathered a government official since the 1790s. I think this is mistake. We should do it every once in awhile just to encourage the others.

Strelnikov said...

Now achieving new levels of tone-deafness.

Robert Cook said...

“'The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.' This last quote is from President Thomas Jefferson.)"

Umm...no, not so far as can be documented, it's not.

Robert Cook said...

"...I hope that they throw the leaker in the brig. I'd prosecute Greenwald for good measure."

So, Simon...you're an out and proud fascist, eh?

Robert Cook said...

"Janet Napolitano thought military veterans were a risk for joining right wing groups. You know, like Christianity?"

I know you're being (rightly) sarcastic, but I'll take the opportunity to point out that if you're doing Christianity "right," you're not going to be confused with a right-winger.

Larry J said...

"I don't think we have tarred and feathered a government official since the 1790s. I think this is mistake. We should do it every once in awhile just to encourage the others.

6/8/13, 12:58 PM"

I don't know about tar and feathers but I do know that our nations lamp posts are really underutilized.