June 15, 2013

"There were lots of discussions at N.S.A. and in the intelligence community in general about the acculturation process."

"They were aware that they were bringing in young people who had to adjust to the culture — and who would change the culture," said Joel F. Brenner, a former NSA inspector general, quoted in a NYT article titled "For Snowden, a Life of Ambition, Despite the Drifting."

The article also says that Snowden's disclosures highlight something the elders in the agency have worried about for a long time: "young Internet aficionados whose skills the agencies need for counterterrorism and cyberdefense sometimes bring an anti-authority spirit that does not fit the security bureaucracy."

What a fascinating culture clash! These old security folk are dependent on these new people who not only don't share their values: They are a completely different kind of person. Snowden is an example of a type of person that we need to understand. I'll call such people Snowmen.

Tell me about the Snowmen....

39 comments:

Astro said...

snowmen? Or snowgoons?

Mogget said...

Let me openly doubt that Snowmen are anti-authoritarian. My experience is that they resent the authority that restrains them, but are perfectly happy to be the authority that restrains others.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Tell me about the Snowmen....

Obaminable snowmen

El Pollo Raylan said...

Yeti

edutcher said...

And, apparently, not everybody on the inside accepted the culture, either,

SOJO said...

"We" need to understand? I feel like I completely understand Snowden. It's the people who don't get the Snowdens (and Swartz's) that I need to understand. That anti-authoritarian techie "culture" has been around a long time:

Good ole Woz Prism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOWDwKLJAfo

SOJO said...

Meant to say "On prism".

betamax3000 said...

AKB48 NSA Robot says:

Let's Have a Peek-a-Boo Party! My Girlfriends and I will Whisper Secrets to Each Other and You Can Listen In Like You weren't Even Here.

gregq said...

I think you're looking for the Falcons.

betamax3000 said...

AKB48 NSA Robot says:

My Girlfriends and I will Pretend that We Didn't Notice that Our Skirts were So Short: You Will Have to Monitor Us Closely.

betamax3000 said...

AKB48 NSA Robot says:

Snowmen LOVE Sno-Cones! Let's play 'Igloo Spy'!

rhhardin said...

Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?

Yossarian's take on Ballad of the Ladies of Times Past.

bagoh20 said...

Snowden is the John Kerry of his time. In 40 years he'll be Secretary of State under President Honey Boo Boo, who will be elected in order to prove the nation has moved beyond hatred of the fat, nasty and unwashed.

somefeller said...

Hipsters. Next thing you know, they'll be serving kale in the NSA commissary and playing Neutral Milk Hotel as elevator music.

chuck said...

Snowmen

We used to call them teenagers.

KLDAVIS said...

Snowmen rules:

#1 Information wants to be free.
#2 The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

Danno said...

SOJO, Is that like "On Wisconsin"?

Mark said...

Data cowboys.

virgil xenophon said...

We can snark all we want, but it's people like Snowden that will cause an American city to vaporize someday or an American carrier to be sunk with the loss of all 5000 souls. All in the name of utopian hipster worship at the alter of cultural relativism..

Gramsci's minions in our educational system have done their work well--as have those responsible for the ascendance of leftist cultural hegemony in Hollywood, TV, and the "chattering classes." Brave New World indeed..

It was once said that if Mondale were elected President and Castro invaded Florida the first thing Mondale would do is begin immediate negotiations about the neutrality of Georgia. America is now populated with millions of youthful idealistic Mondales..

bagoh20 said...

I think people including those responsible for protecting the homeland are way overestimating the value of this surveillance. In a way it's like the fantasy of gun control. If the bad guys are thwarted by it, they will simply adapt. The greatest threat to this tool is it's success, which means it will soon be obsolete.

You don't need a suspicious cell phone or to even be on the grid at all to poison the water supply for a city, or to pull another Oklahoma City bombing, and certainly not to bring down a plane or derail a train. The attackers will not be stopped by this even if it does catch some boneheads here and there. Terrorism is just too damned easy.

Think back to the Iraq war. With all the assets of the U.S military, and the freedom to drive tanks through he streets and fly sorties overhead, we could not stop daily bombings, any other way then to simply wait for the the locals to make it unpopular. It took old fashioned ratting out of the bastards by locals with no technology at all.

This data collection system will eventually and quickly become useless for terrorist fighting but essential for common crime fighting, blackmail, and election tampering.

Even if it prevents a terrible event, it can't seriously be expected to make much of a dent in the level of terrorism that would succeed without it. Like I said, it's analogous to gun control in that it will only substantially disrupt the people it's designed to protect.

I think cost/benefit, we will regret it.

The Godfather said...

If using data mining to combat terrorism requires that we hire and rely on people like Snowden, then we need to ask ourselves whether the risks are worth the rewards. It's hard to believe that there aren't other ways of detecting terror plots that are as effective and don't require that we recruit fruitcakes.

bagoh20 said...

It's not that I think it's currently being abused - I doubt it. I think they are simply collecting all digital transactions, at the very least in metadata form, but once the data is collected it will be sitting there irresistible like a pastrami sandwich on a low table at my house. There is always one dog who's hungry enough to take a shot at it, and it will likely be easy to get away with it.

Henry said...

Do snowmen have snowden mothers?

Henry said...

It's kind of like if they only way you could crack the KGB was with bongo drumming and you had to hire Maynard G. Krebs.

Except Krebs understood friendship. Did Snowden have any friends?

And, checking wikipedia here, Krebs served in the U.S. Army.

traditionalguy said...

Snowmen are not the problem. They are the solution...the antidote to Baby Boomer's fantasy uber alles culture.

They are the return of the Traditionalists who came from the time of facing raw reality being the only value. They faced The Great Depression and The War.

To traditionalists Film Noir speaks best to their life story rather than The Big Chill.

Browndog said...

Mogget said...

Let me openly doubt that Snowmen are anti-authoritarian. My experience is that they resent the authority that restrains them, but are perfectly happy to be the authority that restrains others.


Oh, you mean like all men/mankind....unrestrained.

Methadras said...

Hey NSA, how about you acculturate this?

....................../´¯/)
....................,/¯../
.................../..../
............./´¯/'...'/´¯¯`·¸
........../'/.../..../......./¨¯\
........('(...´...´.... ¯~/'...')
.........\.................'...../
..........''...\.......... _.·´
............\..............(
..............\.............\...

Browndog said...

bagoh20 said...

It's not that I think...


I, on the other hand, think "they're" making a sandwich because they are hungry.

Too many condiments being put on the sandwich to think it won't be eaten..

Deep down, we all know what awaits, just can't fathom how.

"They" know.

Best to stop fighting, and learn to love Big Pastrami Sandwich.

Carl said...

What's to understand? If it were actually wartime -- a finite duration conflict against an identified enemy -- then he'd be shot as a traitor, and no one would blink an eye.

Since we're not at war -- no conceivable temporary state of emergency applies -- and he ratted out a program of absurd overreach, wildly exaggerated benefits and sleazily minimized (if not outright concealed) costs, and gross illiberality, over which Stalin would have salivated, he's a Jeffersonian hero and if the republic survives he will get a longer Wikipedia page than such forgettable contemporaries as Hillary Rodham Clinton.

To attempt to understand the actor is what you do when you are befuddled or morally adrift in interpreting the act. It's like how all those clowns at FBI started wondering about what made Robert Hanssen do it -- because their heads couldn't hold the realization of how incredibly badly they'd fucked up (the only really useful and interesting topic of consideration) without exploding.

So rather than contemplate their own stupidity and arrogance, those embarassed by the affair start to dissect the personality of the boy who pointed out their emperor had no clothes. How do you suppose we was reared? Did he always have a fetish for nudity in public? I hear he liked his girlfriends to shave their pubes and pretend to be underage...

Zeb Quinn said...

What a fascinating culture clash! These old security folk are dependent on these new people who not only don't share their values...

I know this culture. I've been interacting and exchanging with it since the mid-90s. They make up a sizeable chunk of my students nowadays. True, they have their own values, cobbled together from available sources of the day, boomer parents, leftist teachers, politicians like Bill Clinton and George Bush, and the political climate they each brought. And Obama. Cut to the chase: They have an ethical code, and they adhere to it. Problem is, it's a mile wide and an inch deep. Like Snowden's.

wildswan said...

Well maybe all this will save the Post Office. After all it's evident that totalitarian wireless collection systems can't track everything in the dispersed in the post office / paper system. And in addition the government still needs warrants to get at the US mail. So there is a realm of privacy - paper thin maybe - but it exists.

But don't you love the excuse that "to connect the dots we have to have the dots" which some intelligence agent was using to justify this massive data overreach. I mean to "connect the dots" on a sheet of paper you have to first exclude almost all the dots that could be on that sheet, otherwise you just have a solid mass of dots, a black sheet of paper that could be connected any way at all.

Browndog said...

The Godfather said...

Obama dismatled the intelligence apparatus when he first came to office, even had Holder try to prosecute the CIA. Remember?

Cyberspying, drones.

Leftists are a lazy bunch.

Figure out how to remedy a problem?

That takes work.

BAN everything and anything that may cause a problem, problem solved.

"They" even admit that 1/7 of the President's Daily Intelligence Briefing is derived from metadata.

I suspect the other 6/7 is comprised of "a", "and", and "the".

We're where we're at by choice.

Another gutsy call by Capt. Kickass

Browndog said...

wildswan said...

According to FBI Agent James Spiropoulos, investigators accessed a Postal Service computer system that “incorporates a Mail Isolation Control and Tracking (MICT) program which photographs and captures an image of every mail piece that is processed.”

leslyn said...

Snowden may have a character in "Rocky and Bullwinkle" someday.

One picture is worth a thousand words: "Tourism Ambassador"

Tom said...

C/net just published a report stating the NSA does not believe it needs a wiretap warrant to tap a phone line. How many citizens have been arrested for photographing police abuse?! And the government can listed to our calls and read our emails with no warrant?

How is this a free country any longer?

William said...

I don't know why this is, but I feel more offended by altruistic spies like Snowden, Manning, and the Rosenbergs than by greedy fucks like Hansen and Ames whose moftivations were strictly venal. It's the self righteousness, I suppose.

Michael Ryan said...

Not "Snowmen". Try "Falcon and the Snowman".

halojones-fan said...

"These old security folk are dependent on these new people who not only don't share their values: They are a completely different kind of person. "

To the point: The new people are a kind of person who hasn't been in the military.

The NSA--in fact, most of the national security apparatus--is dependent on a rigid adherence to orders, laws, chains of command, scope of conflict, rules of engagement. It depends on its new hires coming in already indoctrinated in this culture, rather than needing it explained to them. And it needs people who are able to absolve themselves of moral qualms by putting that burden on national security.

In other words, soldiers.

And between American society and American government activity, there aren't enough soldiers to go around anymore.

Robert Cook said...

"(The NSA) needs people who are able to absolve themselves of moral qualms by putting that burden on national security.

"In other words, soldiers."


In other words, amoral automatons.

Soldiers have the obligation to ignore illegal orders; they may not "absolve themselves" of illegal or morally abhorrent acts by "putting that burden on national security."

There were soldiers at Nuremberg who were not absolved at trial just because they "were just following orders."