November 27, 2013

"The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites..."

"... as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document."
The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target's credibility, reputation and authority....
The document justifies the targeting based on their expressions indicating that "Non-Muslims are a threat to Islam" or "offensive jihad is justified," or "the U.S. brought the 9/11 attacks on itself."

Do you object to the NSA preparing to discredit people like that by collecting information on their use of pornography? The linked article, at the Huffington Post, reminds us of the old FBI history of keeping files on, among others, Martin Luther King, Jr.

The FBI today displays its file on MLK, here. If you go there, you can click into lots of files through the links in the sidebar. Writing this post, I got distracted into reading about whether Lucille Ball and Groucho Marx were Communists. Somehow these 2 were nevertheless on TV all the time in the 1950s.

And did you know the FBI wasted time trying to figure out what was up with ESP? From the file on William Foos: "Should his claims be well-founded, there is no limit to the value which could accrue to the FBI  — complete and undetectable access to mail, the diplomatic pouch; visual access to buildings — the possibilities are unlimited insofar as law enforcement and counterintelligence are concerned."

Ridiculous... but in the end, they only had to wait for email, and then they had it — complete and undetectable access to mail... the possibilities are unlimited insofar as law enforcement and counterintelligence are concerned.

31 comments:

stutefish said...

I'm okay with this. Information warfare is a cromulent part of warfare.

If we can't trust our military and intelligence agencies to properly use their proper tools of war, the solution is to reform the agencies, not take away the tools.

Shouting Thomas said...

The target is... everybody.

When I worked for a corporate law firm, I was acutely aware that that firm was keeping a "negatives" file on every employee to justify firing that employee for cause when and if the necessity (or opportunity) arose. You couldn't help but do something negative, because the rules were so voluminous and constantly shifting.

So, a negatives file in relationship to porn is being kept on everybody, and it is there for use when the need arises. The "need" is subject to interpretation by whoever is in power.

Alexander said...

It's all a good idea for reasons of security until you're the one under the looking glass.

Get rid of it.

AJ Lynch said...

Yes this bothers me. There is no guarantee they stopped at the six Muslim extremists.

I bet they use stuff like this to guarantee the consistently favorable news slants from the NYT? Heh.

elkh1 said...

"... as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches," e.g. politicians who disparage Obamacare, donors who donate to Dear Leader's enemies, Congressmen who wanted to investigate us... Lara Logan who couldn't let Benghazi die. Knowing their email addresses and writing styles, we can also fake emails and other evidence. It's our job to disseminate disinformation to protect our turf.

The Drill SGT said...

Alinskyite tactics employed against Jihadists?

I'm ok with it. It worked on Bork, oh wait, those were Dem Senators who did that, not the evil NSA

jacksonjay said...


HuffPo mentions J Edgar, but conveniently leaves out any reference to "... my friend Bobby."

Ambrose said...

A tech guy told me in the 1990s to always assume that nothing you did online was private. Never was, never will be. Conduct yourself accordingly.

Big Mike said...

You mean Muslim men also like to look at videos of pretty women with their clothing off and faking orgasms? I thought that was just Jews, Christians, atheists, and Buddists. I am just amazed.

EDH said...

The NSA wants to know whether you're a cock-sucking faggot, or not.

Alexander said...

Blackmail: When the NSA does it that means it's not illegal...

ironrailsironweights said...

I don't care ... nothing is going to stop my visits to Voyeurweb and Guess Her Muff.

Peter

madAsHell said...

The whole Candy Crowley episode comes to mind. It's like they knew Mitt was going to use that talking point, and then they pounced....er....lied..

RecChief said...

Since the IRS has ben found to be a political organization masquerading as non partisan government department, how long before the NSA leaks this information to one party or another, during a campaign perhaps, or worse, on the President sitting in the Oval Office? welcome to the world you have created liberals.

Illuninati said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill, Republic of Texas said...

@RecChief

Or Chief justices who just cast the deciding vote against the President's big legacy legislation?

FleetUSA said...

This is a normal part of warfare to undermine the enemy by attacking their leaders. Imagine if we had inside information on Hitler or key Japanese leaders.

Politicians and the MSM use it too.

Illuninati said...

I haven't heard of any Muslims brought down by their internet porn visits. Does anyone else remember that happening? Probably if it ever happened the Muslim involved would just laugh at the stupid kaffirs who don't understand Islamic morals. Using kaffir women as sex objects or sex slaves goes all the way back to Mohammad. There is no shame in that. On the other hand I have heard of many conservative Republicans who have been publically embarrassed by release of private information.

The real enemy of the left are conservatives and fundamentalist Christians. I have no doubt that they are keeping tabs on every Islamophobe, Tea Party member, conservative Christian and Republican politicians just in case the need ever arises to destroy them. The real value of this information is to use against political enemies not against Muslims.

tim maguire said...

"Do you object to the NSA preparing to discredit people like that by collecting information on their use of pornography?"

Do I object to blackmail? To the government using dirty tricks to silence critics instead of responding honestly to the criticism?

Why yes, yes I do.

Birches said...

I'm concerned because right now the government is using these powers on low hanging fruit. These files and the arrest of that Silk Road guy and child pornographers through hacking is kind of on the same level: really murky, maybe illegal territory. The government trusts that no one will bat an eye because of who they are targeting. That will change though. You can count on it.

grackle said...

If we can't trust our military and intelligence agencies to properly use their proper tools of war, the solution is to reform the agencies, not take away the tools.

Here's the problem as I see it: Government, which includes the military and "agencies" of the government, cannot be trusted to use spy data from US citizens only for plots against the US. The fact that the same 'tool,' the ability to spy on all electronic communications, can also be used for domestic political gain is simply too tempting. Sooner or later, probably sooner, that 'tool' will be used against domestic political foes.

No amount of "reform" will change this dynamic. Whoever is in charge after reform would still be tempted. Whoever is in charge will inevitably succumb because the advantage is just too easy to use, is VERY difficult to prove it has been used and can be used anonymously. It would be like trusting that an unguarded bank would not be robbed.

Paul said...

Like the IRS, the NSA will use the dirt they collect to discredited whomever the current administration wants discredited.

Be it citizens, radicals, Senators, Congressmen, and SCOTUS members who don't vote their way,

No, it MAYBE for good use at first, but like any corrupt enterprise they will use it to twist arms.

I wonder if that is why the Democrats all vote in lockstep. Does Obama, through the NSA, have dirt on them?

JRoberts said...

Come on, this is America. You have no legal right to privacy...

Unless you're a pregnant woman who wants to kill her unborn child.

Robert Cook said...

"Do you object to the NSA preparing to discredit people like that by collecting information on their use of pornography?"

Yes.

I object to the NSA merely keeping tabs on the porn-surfing habits of anyone.

Robert Cook said...

There is no guarantee they stopped at the six Muslim extremists.

Shit...there's no suggestion or reason to assume they stopped at the six Muslims. They're watching everything everyone does.

YoungHegelian said...

Like the IRS, the NSA will use the dirt they collect to discredit whomever the current administration wants discredited...Be it citizens, radicals, Senators, Congressmen, and SCOTUS members who don't vote their way....

Guys, the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover did exactly that. I remember an interview with Walter Mondale where he described how FBI agents would visit members of Congress & tell them exactly how they were being indiscreet, and "how it would be a shame if that information became public...".

Now, it's a lot easier to watch the rest of us, is all that's changed.

I sure hope they're not tapping the IP address showing up at spankandwank.com.

Bruce said...

Why bother actually tracking what porn people are watching?

They just have to say that "Person A watches make-up-your-own-embarrassing-category-of-porn!".

Certainly no one could prove that they were not watching it.

They could save a lot of money by not tracking it, and just make up whatever stories they want to.

MayBee said...

Any story you hear, just remember what happened to General Petraeus. They can destroy those they want to destroy.

They don't have to target you to affect you.

Balfegor said...

I'm surprised we bothered to gather actual information. Isn't the usual practice in this kind of propaganda war just to make stuff up and doctor some supporting documentation afterwards? Unless we were trying to blackmail them (as opposed merely to discrediting them), this seems like a needlessly expensive way of gathering material for salacious rumours about our enemies.

gbarto said...

My hypothesis: They also know what websites Obama visits and the coup happened four or five years ago.

Richard Dolan said...

Alas, the ability of the new technology to discredit works against those who wield it s much as it does their targets. Have you noticed that the group most discredited by the NSA's forays into boundless snooping have been, first, the NSA itself (now both an international joke as well as a pariah), and second, its putative masters, the Obama administration. The technology is powerful, but it's the kind of power that those who use it cannot control.