ramriot September 2, 2013 7:45 AM

Am I the only one who find the by-line on this article odd, and a little anoying:
By David Burnham
Published: March 27, 1983

Since a web page cannot have a publication date more than 6 years before the web existed then when was the article actually put up?

The wayback machine only started indexing this page around August 15th this year.

Craig September 2, 2013 8:02 AM

@ramriot: Yes, you’re probably the only one. The rest of us know that the NY Times was printing on that old-fashioned “paper” stuff for a century or more before the Web came into existence, and that the publication date refers to the original print publication.

Danny September 2, 2013 10:53 AM

Oaw, more then 30 years ago. And, at that time NSA already had an unknown budget? Imagine now. And this was even before their involvement on DES.

Impossibly Stupid September 2, 2013 4:59 PM

Bruce, I’m still waiting to hear you declare that you’ve never received an NSL. If you can’t talk about it because it is too late and your freedom has been taken from you, just continue to talk around the issue and we’ll understand.

Simon September 2, 2013 5:57 PM

Hi Bruce – in a similar OT vein do you get “randomly” pulled aside for enhanced interrogation (TM) more than the average citizen when transiting airports?

Dirk Praet September 2, 2013 8:39 PM

Not just the NSA. Looks like the DEA just as well. The NYT has just brought out that for at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counternarcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans’ phone calls — parallel to but covering a far longer time than the NSA’s hotly disputed collection of phone call logs.

Adrian September 2, 2013 8:56 PM

@Dirk Praet,

Those subpoenas, by the way, are so-called “administrative subpoenas” which do not require any kind of judicial oversight.

Prinz Wilhelm Gotha-Saxe-Coberg September 2, 2013 9:53 PM

In this we see the signs of institutional ossification leading to fossilization of the cranium’s fatty tissues. Not a usual occurrence, but common amongst bureaucracies.

The KGB was forced to endure its archives being opened. When will we see the same happy ending for those of the NSA and the others in that alphabet soup?

Nameless September 2, 2013 11:15 PM


the USSR KGB archives were partially opened only relating to such mass interest issues as affairs of WWII veterans and KIA/MIA servicemen, and the fates of the repressed during the long USSR history. And still, most of the access is on a FOIA-like bureaucratic request-respnse basis.

Jon Eliot September 3, 2013 4:20 AM

An interestingly relevant-to-2013 turn of phrase from Senator Church: If such forces were ever turned against the country’s communications system, Senator Church said, “no American would have any privacy left. … There would be no place to hide.”

For us members of European communities where the bulk of human electronic interaction is hosted by Google and Facebook, this seems a precise description of the current state of affairs, especially since we do not have, and never have had, any protection against ”unreasonable searches and seizures” by the US.

Is there a German alternative to Facebook, under German jurisdiction, with servers situated on German soil, and where do I sign up? Norwegian or Swiss would do. Dutch is probably ok. British… no thanks.

Peter September 3, 2013 4:29 AM

@Jon Eliot, there’s a Spanish one, Tuenti, if that’s good enough for you. But it’s curious to note that Facebook’s T&Cs have some special-casing for Germany.

stine September 3, 2013 7:50 AM

This reminds me of a joke from the mid-to-late 1980’s.

If you want a job at the NSA, just call your grandmother and ask for an application.

Petréa Mitchell September 3, 2013 11:38 AM

The Washington Post has filled in a little more detail between 1983 and 2001:

A 1990 series in The Post delved into the agency’s regulation and found that fewer than 10 congressmen even had the clearance to see everything the agency was doing and what it produced, let alone to exercise any oversight. Former representative Robert L. Barr Jr. (R-Ga.) told The Post’s Vernon Loeb in 1999 that Congress had not asked the NSA a single “hard question about electronic surveillance” in the preceding 24 years.

Just wondering September 4, 2013 8:26 PM

BTW, if it is true that NSA is allowed to spy e-mails if there is at least 51 percent change that the sender/receiver is not a US citizen, that might mean that NSA is allowed to spy all e-mails. If the majority of e-mails in world is sent or received by a person who is not a US citizen, then the probability that both sender and receiver of a randomly picked e-mail is under 50 percent.

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