More NSA Documents from the Snowden Archive

The Intercept is starting to publish a lot more documents. Yesterday they published the first year of an internal newsletter called SIDtoday, along with several articles based on the documents.

The Intercept's first SIDtoday release comprises 166 articles, including all articles published between March 31, 2003, when SIDtoday began, and June 30, 2003, plus installments of all article series begun during this period through the end of the year. Major topics include the National Security Agency's role in interrogations, the Iraq War, the war on terror, new leadership in the Signals Intelligence Directorate, and new, popular uses of the internet and of mobile computing devices.

They're also making the archive available to more researchers.

Posted on May 17, 2016 at 6:18 AM • 82 Comments

Comments

Marcos MaloMay 17, 2016 9:16 AM

@Rolf Weber
So, you're saying Snowden did nothing wrong. I'm looking forward to you defending Smowden the next time the other @Rolf Weber attacks him for being a traitor.

Dirk PraetMay 17, 2016 9:48 AM

@ Rolf Weber

Would you please be so kind as to stop trolling this forum? You've had your say and we're all sick and tired of your incessant attempts to derail every thread the name Snowden is mentioned in by continuously regurgitating the same outlandish opinions and denials nobody is buying.

What on earth are you trying to prove here apart from establishing yourself as a complete and utter git?

Ask ZeldaMay 17, 2016 10:10 AM

ASK ZELDA

"Dear Zelda,

Sniveling surveillance-state apologists swarm the forum like locusts whenever another Snowden dump embarrasses the untouchables working for the elite corporatocracy / militarized dictatorship. Exposing flagrant criminality brings them in droves.

What to do? Are the citizenry beholden to goose-stepping fascists beyond salvation?

Civil Libertarian"


"Dear Civil Libertarian,

You simply can't fight stupid. Stupid is as stupid does. Using facts will not win the day, so don't bother trying to educate the Adolf Beggars of this world of their misguided view. They will not be swayed by:

- unconstitutional, warrant-less searches of upstream data collection of millions of Americans;
- the author of the Patriot Act disagreeing that the act justifies the Verizon metadata collection program;
- a 2004 Justice Department review declaring the bulk Internet metadata program illegal;
- the NSA participating in illegal renditions and torture procedures at Guantanamo;
- a 2009 Justice Department acknowledgement that the NSA had collected emails and phone calls of Americans in a way that exceeded legal limitations;
- a 2011 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruling that the NSA violated the Fourth Amendment at least once; and
- the majority of civil liberties groups challenging the constitutionality of these programs, including lawsuits involving the EFF and ACLU.

In short, if Adolf Beggar and similarly feeble-minded nimrods can't see a problem with the pre-digital equivalent of the NSA camping out at the U.S. Postal Service’s major processing centers to open, copy, and read the contents of everyone’s international mail — all without a warrant, then they are aren't operating on much more than a brain stem.*

*Notwithstanding that the NSA did actually ran a program called “Project Shamrock,” in which the agency copied essentially all telegrams to and from the U.S."

Who?May 17, 2016 10:21 AM

I do not understand this part of (U) OUTPARKS: A New Internet for NSA:

As a result, users won't have to be concerned about having a BRAZEN or NIPRNet or OSIS or AIRGAP machine. Rather, there will be an Internet terminal from which one will connect to the World Wide Web and still be able to access data or connections particular to those systems.

Previously different machines were connected to different networks, so there was some degree of isolation. Are they suggesting using a single "Internet terminal" to access to all these networks? Doesn't it weaken their own security?

I do not know what AIRGAP means here. It is the first time I read about that NSA network. However it is obvious to me that machines on these networks are not airgapped.

Who?May 17, 2016 10:27 AM

...and I do not think a data diode be enough to "connect to the World Wide Web" in a broad sense.

Gerard van VoorenMay 17, 2016 10:27 AM

@ Dirk Praet,

If Moderator isn't gonna deal with Rolf Weber the only way to deal with him is to ignore him. I have read a very clear statement from Clive Robinson and from you as well. The simple fact is that Rolf keeps staying in his role. You can't change that, it has to come from himself. The only sensitive thing is to ignore the bait he lays out each time in order to prevent derailing of the subject. No matter how much it itches, don't scratch.

Jules DevorMay 17, 2016 10:44 AM

From: Diagnosis and Exploitation Support (S31153)
Run Date: 09/04/2003

(C//SI) During the course of a normal day I run cryptanalytic
routines on UNIX desktop workstations, supercomputers, and
special-purpose devices using available software tools. The routines
employ standard cryptanalytic tests which search for patterns and
non-random properties in data. If I devise a test for which no
available tools exist, then I will write software to perform the test.
If I detect a significant statistical property in data, I will
immediately seek, expect, and receive help from team members.
It is important for me to document my test results - failures as well as
successes - in our internal project news groups. It is also important
for me to read the postings made by others on our news groups.

How does one sign up to that mailing list? I haven't been able to find it listed on Yahoo Groups.

Who?May 17, 2016 10:48 AM

@ Jules Devor

You may try kindly asking someone at NSA... "our news groups" does not look like the usual USENET newsgroups.

Rolf WeberMay 17, 2016 10:52 AM

@Marcos Malo

Of course Snowden did a lot wrong. Quite the opposite, I hardly see anything he did right.

He stole and published top secret documents, but without any justification like revealing wrongdoings -- OK, with the only exception of the 215 program, which was no wrongdoing either, but I see the argument that this program should have been publicly known. If Snowden had stopped after this revelation, he would have been a true whistleblower. But he didn't stop, and most of what followed was not even remotely related to civil liberties, but either wrong or misleading or it was published with the only intention to harm western democracies. That he chose to hide in Putin's Russia makes his motivations even more dubios.

And now much more of "his" documents will be published, and these documents are highly unlikely to change anything. They will not reveal wrongdoings, but they will be abused to (try to) hurt the west. And the documents are not even technically interesting, the tech world didn't learn anything new from Snowden. "The NSA is not made of magic" -- it was not me who said this, it was Bruce Schneier after having seen the Snowden cache.

You may call me a "troll" or whatever you want, but that will hardly change the plain facts I write. Neither will other 100% ad hominem attacks. Snowden is a reckless defector, and I'm just the messenger.

Reggie MorleyMay 17, 2016 11:02 AM

My 2c:

-Please blank out the trolls
-Mine the hell out of the data set
-Post all your findings
-Have fun!

Nick PMay 17, 2016 11:02 AM

@ Who?

I can't guarantee it's what they're talking about but it sound very familiar. There's a picture near the top that shows the problem. Then, it has a nice survey of different models and solutions the government uses before advertising their own product. Not endorsing that product. Paper just has the problem and lots of good info.

Dirk PraetMay 17, 2016 11:47 AM

@ Rolf Weber

Of course Snowden did a lot wrong. Quite the opposite, I hardly see anything he did right.

Which you have been repeating ad nauseam for the last couple of years, contrary to folks like even @Skeptical hardly contributing any added value to the debate, not listening to a word anyone is saying and eventually irritating the living daylights out of every visitor of this forum.

We have heard your message and there is no point in endlessly reiterating it to an increasingly fed-up audience that is not buying it. So unless you have anything relevant to add on the topic of the new stash of documents published, take a hike or expect more ad hominem attacks.

LCNMay 17, 2016 1:01 PM

@Rolf Weber

There isnt any disclosure in there which is potentially negative, that matters.

Most secrets are just wastes of time. Meaningless details embued with delusional meaning because it is kept secret.

A lot of Snowdens secrets matter, because they show wrongdoing by members of the us gov.

Snowden did more to protect the freedom of the us then any of those engaged in that wrongdoing - or all of them combined.

rMay 17, 2016 1:04 PM

@rolf,

Let's point out that the document you link is sort've within the public's interest... Other than the fact it shows that national security resources are being spent on criminal enterprises it illustrates that not everything they're doing is outside of moral/constitutional bounds.

Oh God!May 17, 2016 1:14 PM

@Moderator - I'm pretty sick of the constant derailment going on here...

@Everyone (except Rolf): Will you all please shut the hell up and stop taking the bait!

I'd ask Rolf to stop too, but it's totally pointless. It will never happen. Not in a billion years, not if I paid him a trillion dollars. Just save your breath, guys!!!

Rolf WeberMay 17, 2016 1:47 PM

@r

Virtually all of the Snowden documents published so far show the NSA / the U.S. government in a very positive light, at least if you read the documents and not only the misleading headlines. But this is in no way a legitimation for unlawfully disclose top secret informations. And never ever should it be up to a 29-years old sysadmin-turned-defector-to-dictatorship to decide what should be published and what not.

Algo RythmMay 17, 2016 2:42 PM

Troll seems to being paid by the hour by his masters to muddy discussion threads before a search engine can index them. Too bad there aren't any amateur FOXACID complexes out there that can used for the greater good to 'lawfully' interfere with Troll ISP links.

Dupe DailyMay 17, 2016 3:44 PM

Ha ha, Rolf's got his ass all chapped because the 5/05/03 "SID today" shows the USG trying to dispel the evidence of their senses and their open NGO sources. It kills them to know Putin is incorruptible, because the IC has flushed all the incorruptible people out of public life in America. The spooks got so spoiled yanking Yeltsin's leash. The poor NSA pukes are so proud of their technical tricks, and so blithely ignorant of the fool's errand they got sent on thanks to their compartments.

Viscous CycleMay 17, 2016 4:57 PM

Trump is using similar tactics with similar effects. Disruption, which commands attention, which prolongs disruption, which commands attention, which prolongs disruption...

Apparently there is no solution.

ModeratorMay 17, 2016 4:58 PM

@Rolf Enough with the condescension, soapboxing, accusations of dishonesty and incompetence, and overall pit bull manner, consistently displayed in recent discussions referring to surveillance and the Snowden disclosures. You have made your point; now give it a rest.

@Various Enough with accusations of shillery; they're rude, and don't further anyone's argument.

Bumble BeeMay 17, 2016 6:08 PM

Lol. By this time we know good and well The Intercept is in bed with NSA and Huffington Post. Anything they are putting out anymore is subtle or not-so-subtle disinformation. Surely no one is going to vouch for its authenticity.

Jungled RumblerMay 18, 2016 12:38 AM

@BB indeed, we'd know TheIntercept wasn't in bed with the NSA if they would have made their pdfs downloadable from the start. Making them embedded in html only shows that they are more interested in their selfish profit from the documents, versus the public's profit from having easier and less controlled (and potentially monitored) dissemination of the documents.

@Moderator sorry for accusing TheIntercept of less than purely anti-shillery intent. But it's how they're journalistic choices make me feel.

Integral Lover of CurvesMay 18, 2016 1:08 AM

@VC

Obviously you can now see that moderation is and has always been the only solution.

Soaring Butter Price FightsMay 18, 2016 1:43 AM

@Who

Indeed, USENET perhaps embodied the Data Diode option. I'm waiting for Snowden to admit the NSA had something to do with the amount of racist and other trolling on USENET which seems to have led to Reddit's successful recentralization and commercialization of discussion forums.

DroneMay 18, 2016 3:03 AM

Data Diode => Reverse Breakdown

Air-Gap => Arc-Over

You can't win...

Rolf WeberMay 18, 2016 5:49 AM

@Moderator

When you say "enough with the condescension, soapboxing, accusations of dishonesty and incompetence, and overall pit bull manner", then I say OK, I expressed some comments this way, and I don't want to take it as an excuse that I was attacked the same way first. So my honest sorry for every time I was or appeared rude.

But then you said "you have made your point; now give it a rest" and I'm not sure how I should understand this. Is it that you don't want to see here my dissenting opinions about Snowden, the U.S. surveillance regime, "backdoors" etc. any more, or is it just that I should avoid to express my opinion in a provoking manner?

I hope it is the latter, which means I will continue to comment on these topics here, but will very carefully make sure that I'll always express it factually and non-provocative. If it is however that you don't want to read dissenting opinions here, than OK, it's your site, just tell me that I'm not welcome and I will go (or block me, I never did and never will post under other identities).

keinerMay 18, 2016 8:07 AM

You are not welcome. Ok now?

funny to see how it works! He destroys any useful discussion on the data. and it works again and again. he does definitely get paid for this kind of service.

Rolf WeberMay 18, 2016 9:30 AM

@keiner

You are not welcome. Ok now?

I'm sorry no, you are not the site owner.

And who should pay me? The NSA or any other western intelligence agency? A serious answer:
What do you think is the worst thing for intelligence agencies like the NSA? A bad press? No, the worst thing is a press at all. Intelligence agencies don't want public discussions about their work. So, I'm pretty sure that if the NSA knows at all about my comments here (what I highly doubt), that they don't appreciate what I do, because I help to keep the discussion about them open.

And again, I don't "destroy any useful discussion", I just have dissenting opinions, which I want to discuss (BTW, not only here but on Twitter and Google+ too): I think that Snowden acted recklessly, and that his (largely) wrong and misleading "revelations" created much more harm than benefit; I think that the U.S. surveillance regime has much better privacy and civil liberties protections, and oversight, than most other western democracies; and I think that there are reasonably secure "backdoors"; ...

I only "destroy any useful discussion" if you consider it as axioms that Snowden is a heroic civil liberties defender and truth-teller, that the U.S. created a horrible mass surveillance system out-of-control, and that there are no secure "backdoors", and therefore you are annoyed by my "denials". Believe it or not, but I really want productive discussions, however this is hardly possible when my counterpart asumes that I'm a "paid troll" (instead of just argueing my honest opinion). This is why I will try to avoid to answer at all to comments like yours in the future.

Who?May 18, 2016 9:59 AM

@ Nick P

Thank you! This paper is a very good read. All approaches shown here have serious weaknesses (e.g., I would not trust on running hypervisors over Microsoft Windows even to play games...) but it is a nice overview of different approaches to this problem.

Indeed, the "undisclosed US Government facility" at Figure 1 is the first image that comes to my mind when thinking on accessing different networks that require isolation.

I have a similar setup, but use a SCOUTutp to connect to different networks. Of course, the most secure one has its own, completely isolated, desktop computer (a ThinkCentre M55).

Bill V.May 18, 2016 10:09 AM

@Rolf Weber said: "... I think that the U.S. surveillance regime has much better privacy and civil liberties protections, and oversight, than most other western democracies; and I think that there are reasonably secure "backdoors"; ..."

Rolf, show us the proof. I submit that many of the documents leaked by Snowden show just the opposite.

ModeratorMay 18, 2016 10:22 AM

@Rolf Thank you for your apology. All courteously expressed, on-topic opinions are welcome. Trolling is not. For an example of trolling, note the first comment on this post, a conclusory pronouncement which effectively turned the focus of discussion away from the message (the new material published by The Intercept) to the messenger (Edward Snowden). (Bob's response was no better.) Note, too, that the universe of participants in discussions on this blog is fairly small; one engages with many of the same people over time, and over the course of numerous posts. Preaching to those you know are unlikely to be converted is a waste of everyone's time and energy.

"&#9774"May 18, 2016 10:48 AM

Another example of a troll, and a pretty epic one at that, would be to make the Schneier weblog show up in Nitin Agawal's hostile network monitoring for autonomous killer robot execution (check out the SOTICS conference presentation.)

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/the-pentagon-is-building-a-self-aware-killer-robot-army-fueled-by-social-media-bd1b55944298

Linking to Snowden documents gets you halfway there but the thing that really pisses SKYNET off is when you peace out. So I am sitting here with my 2 fingers like V'ed out listening to Yoko Ono LPs.

Hellfire missile on Bruce's corner office in 3, 2, 1,...

Dirk PraetMay 18, 2016 12:28 PM

@ Rolf Weber, @ Moderator

I hope it is the latter, which means I will continue to comment on these topics here

Let me summarize for both @Moderator and casual visitors of this blog the core of your beliefs:

  1. Edward Snowden is a traitor and a defector, who's sole purpose was to harm Western democracies.
  2. None of the documents he has brought to light have revealed any wrongdoing and, instead, have actually vindicated the USG and IC.
  3. There is no such thing as mass surveillance. It's all strictly targeted and subject to a rigorous oversight regime.
  4. There is and never has been any collusion between the USG, the IC and the US tech industry.
  5. Anyone claiming the opposite is either dishonest, incompetent or - unlike yourself - unable to correctly interpret the Snowden documents.

Fair enough. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. So what's our problem here?

  1. Ever since Snowden and mass surveillance became regular topics on this blog, you have derailed one thread after another to reiterate ad nauseam these same opinions over and over again. This has been going on for several years now.
  2. You have consistently done so in a rude and condescending way.
  3. Despite lacking any background in either security or investigative journalism, you consistenly present your fallacy-riddled "findings" as facts, making a mockery out of every rebuttal even by subject matter experts. However much your opinions get ripped to shreds, it never stops you from bringing them back up in the next thread.
  4. You are unable or unwilling to take a hint when enough is enough. You have been pointed out on more than one occasion both by myself and other people to either stay on-topic, get with the program or continue your anti-Snowden crusade on your own blog or somewhere else. Hence the growing number of personal attacks and accusations of trolling.
  5. Your Snowden obsession is so deeply rooted that anyone disagreeing with you on that topic by default is a moron who can't possibly have any valid knowledge or expertise in other fields either. Which became very clear in the backdoor-thread where you we're completely out of your depth but still kept on arguing.

Short: it's one thing that your Snowden-opinions here are the equivalent of "the earth is flat"-statements on a geography forum. The biggest problem, however, is your overall attitude, inability to participate in a civilised discussion and to adhere to common forum etiquette. Despite your apologies and @Moderator's lenience, there is no doubt in anyone's mind that this is not going to change. So please take some friendly advice and do everyone, including yourself, a favour by showing yourself out.

Mr. ObviousMay 18, 2016 12:53 PM

Nobody has said anything about it yet so I assume there's unspoken agreement that in general "SID today" is unlikely to be particularly revealing or helpful. Most genuine people here must already have read various declassified or unclassified "SID today" material during the last decade. It is better than absolutely nothing but not by much and barely at all when compared to what everybody already ought to be aware of.

Are the releases of "SID today" a stopgap measure because there has been so little happening with the rest of the files?

Is the problem that they're struggling to find anything which can be published without being massively censored or all kinds of hell would break loose, or does it all read like gibberish to the people looking through the documents? I've previously wondered if Snowden himself grasped the content of some of the files that were published. I don't think he fully did, at least not initially.

Snowden has a good excuse for that although I'm not sure if he has used it as such although I think he has mentioned it in a different context: he has not himself read all the documents, it would simply take too much time.

It seems safe to say that no one except the original owners have read through all the documents and searching through them is hard when you do not know what you're searching for. None of the files will be marked "Big story here!".

So it is important to realize that the documents came second, not first. What came first was the experiences Snowden had while working at the contractor that made him decide that the world must be told.

Those experiences led to the bigger news that broke and enabled people to find related documents which in turn told a somewhat bigger story than Snowden understood at the time. But as for the rest Snowden can't provide any such shortcuts.

This situation is not good for anyone, not even the surveillance agencies. Although if they realized this then they would be extremly unlikely to have done any of it in the first place.

This is where things yet again turn in an odd direction, as is the case with so much of all of this:
When somebody stops talking people do not stop thinking. If somebody who said something interesting suddenly stops saying anything noteworthy it has the same effect. That's part of the basics, they can't not know it.

LCNMay 18, 2016 2:01 PM

@Rolf Weber

And who should pay me? The NSA or any other western intelligence agency? A serious answer:What do you think is the worst thing for intelligence agencies like the NSA? A bad press? No, the worst thing is a press at all. Intelligence agencies don't want public discussions about their work. So, I'm pretty sure that if the NSA knows at all about my comments here (what I highly doubt), that they don't appreciate what I do, because I help to keep the discussion about them open.
Believe it or not, but I really want productive discussions, however this is hardly possible when my counterpart asumes that I'm a "paid troll" (instead of just argueing my honest opinion). This is why I will try to avoid to answer at all to comments like yours in the future.

Black is white and white is black.

I do not think you are intentionally trying to demean or make of ill repute, the other side of the coin. I do think, however, you have ended up doing that.

There certainly are foreign spies posting on domestic sites.

And, sadly, China and Russia is not the problem there. I know chinese and russian, and there are balances kept. It is "allies", in quotes, where the real big problems arise.

Chinese and Russian, hey, we are frenemies.

There is mutual respect.

Bob Lampbert's and Mark Kennedy's? Different animals altogether. Nobody likes that sort. They have zero training, they run havok, they increase problems instead of decrease them, they have no understanding of borders.

Yet, they are also incredibly conceited.

Do any of them speak from their enemy's perspective? No. They are fake "radicals", and usually focus on groups which are not radical at all. Just one more sign of their terrible training and innate [lack of] capabilities. They are in the dark.

I really do not give a s**t about the neighbor down the street who sells crack. I care about the woman in my bed.

Especially when that very close "ally" is found out digging into my financial papers at 3am, when I am supposed to be asleep.


LCNMay 18, 2016 2:04 PM

@Mr Obvious

Nobody has said anything about it yet so I assume there's unspoken agreement that in general "SID today" is unlikely to be particularly revealing or helpful.

Yep.

I was looking to see if anything interesting was found. But, 2003, was a very long time ago in tech terms.

Instead, the comments got choked up with nonsense.


While there is a mentionable scapegoat, my eyes are on another party altogether. And none of them are "named" regulars.

Rather, a singular 'claim to be' radical, whose radical belief sets are oddly incongruent and extremely shifting.

I think they tripped up Rolf, and put him on the defensive.


Ross SniderMay 18, 2016 2:14 PM

Those saying that Snowden published documents are already in an imaginary and accusatory role divorced from the reality of the situation.

Snowden got access to global surveillance documents for establish journalists and news media centers to filter through and selectively publish. The governments affected by the contents of the leak engaged with the media companies for discussion on what would be dangerous to publish. Where there were disagreements the companies were infiltrated (UK and the Guardian) so that documents could be forcibly destroyed. As a whistleblower Snowden functioned to not only alert news outlets to global surveillance but provide 'smoking gun' evidence necessary to vindicate the reality.

Various media outlets have played politics in the course of the disclosures. But unlike what some criminal state apologists would project - these were primarily the "establishment" outlets, whose close ties with the national security regime led them to cover the stories as "bulk collection" rather than "mass surveillance". These same outlets focused on personal stories ("is snowden a hero or traitor?", "Merkle and Obama at growing tensions!") rather than the technical content, which included the processing of huge portions internet traffic and providing these analysis to actors including state propaganda centers. Der Speigel, The Guardian and The Intercept have bothered to present the programs themselves rather than the human stories, performing the sort of investigative journalism that is not only of interest to civilians but was done under extreme external pressure and personal risk.

The Intercept is not Snowden. The Intercept is publishing these internal news letters. From the mouth of The Intercept itself:

"From the time we began reporting on the archive provided to us in Hong Kong by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, we sought to fulfill his two principal requests for how the materials should be handled: that they be released in conjunction with careful reporting that puts the documents in context and makes them digestible to the public, and that the welfare and reputations of innocent people be safeguarded. As time has gone on, The Intercept has sought out new ways to get documents from the archive into the hands of the public, consistent with the public interest as originally conceived."

Snowden has never published documents. He never will. Starting from that premise is to start immediately from a fabrication. It isn't surprising that fabricated conclusions, historical revisionism, inconsistent application of morals, and redefinition of words follow as conclusions.

LCNMay 18, 2016 2:44 PM

@Dirk Praet, Rolf Weber

I do not believe Rolf was always this way, and he can return to normal.

I attempted to post to him in the major thread in question, and he straight away ignored my questions and statements. From his statement, above, it seems he was victim of someone calling him a "shill". As in shilling. That is pub fight level of provocation, and I think it made him up on an unstable defensive. I am sure if any named regular got that accusation going, they also were just naively running words in their own mouth.

Why anyone would be so naive to believe that is the real threat anyone faces, here, I do not know. The regular named posters are much smarter and more knowledgeable then that.

@Rolf Weber

I will state again, I believe Snowden is an American hero. Like Manning.

The most intelligent response to that, most knowledgeable, is "maybe he is counterintelligence" or otherwise working for a group internal which is not mainstream and may wish to uncenter the balance of their domestic enemies. Rivals.

But, if I really believed that, I would not say anything I truly believed (and had very high confidence in my beliefs or what I have confidence strongest in), which would do anything but make him safest.

Different people, different threats, different mindscapes.


There is nothing which Snowden released which did any damage at all.

If you believe you can prove otherwise, great.

I do not have confidence in your knowledge of what Snowden actually released, so I have confidence you can not answer me squarely.


Rolf WeberMay 18, 2016 4:29 PM

@Bill V.

Regarding the U.S. surveillance regime, I like to compare it with the German, because these are the ones I know the most of. So here are a few points in which the U.S. is clearly superior:

1. In the U.S., there is supervison from all 3 branches of the government: Judiciary, executive, and legislative. In Germany however, judiciary supervision is completely missing. And not only this, you need to know that in Germany there is no real seperation of power between the executive and the legislative, because the executive is elected by the legislative, so both powers are almost always in the same political hands.

2. In the U.S., the institution that authorizes intelligence activities with domestic relevance is the FISC. The FISC is a real court, and its judges are all appointed by the judiciary. Its German counterpart is the G10-Kommission, where only the chairman needs to be a judge, and its members are appointed by the legislative and thus often politicians.

3. In the U.S., there are at least written rules for spying abroad: EO.12333. You may smile, because EO.12333 grants quite broad authorities, but in Germany such written rules do not exist at all.

4. Let's have a look at domestic internet backbone tapping. In the U.S., this is done under the FISA 702 authority, or the Upstream program. It basically works this way: The NSA sends selectors to carriers, and the carriers send back the matching data. That means: The NSA never has a "direct access" to the cable, they only get selected, targeted data. In Germany hoewever, it's the BND who directly taps into internet backbone cables. We know this from several hearings in the "NSA-Untersuchungsausschuss".

I could add a few more points. And I don't try to hide that regarding other points the German system is "better", for example metadata is more protected in Germany than in the U.S. But if you look at the complete picture, it is at least for me clear that the U.S. system is superior -- at least from the privacy and civil liberties point of view.

Regarding "backdoors", I simply refer to a thread here on this site where I explained my points:
https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2016/03/possible_govern.html


@Dirk Praet

Let me summarize for both @Moderator and casual visitors of this blog the core of your beliefs:

1. Edward Snowden is a traitor and a defector, who's sole purpose was to harm Western democracies.

Basically yes, but I'd express it a little bit differently: It is unclear if Snowden originally was only a naive idiot, but currently he clearly acts as a traitor and defector. The same regarding the purpose to harm western democracies, it's unclear if this was his initial goal, but in the meantime it clearly is.

None of the documents he has brought to light have revealed any wrongdoing and, instead, have actually vindicated the USG and IC.

Yes, that's my point of view.

There is no such thing as mass surveillance. It's all strictly targeted and subject to a rigorous oversight regime.

Yes, that's basically my point of view.

There is and never has been any collusion between the USG, the IC and the US tech industry.

I never claimed it that broad. I just say there is no single proof of a "PRISM partnership". This was a misrepresentation by Snowden and his supporters.

Short: it's one thing that your Snowden-opinions here are the equivalent of "the earth is flat"-statements on a geography forum.

Please show me one example where a "Snowden-related" statement of me is factually wrong.


@LCN

I attempted to post to him in the major thread in question, and he straight away ignored my questions and statements.

I didn't deliberately ignore questions, maybe I overlooked something. What do you exactly mean?

There is nothing which Snowden released which did any damage at all.

He released details about legitimate foreign spying, like about spying on China. What, if not this, is reckless damage?

And he distracted the public discussion with his wrong and misleading misrepresentations of the documents. Clearly harm too.

Just 2 examples.

polyaGGMay 18, 2016 4:53 PM

Somewhat related, djb wrote a blog post other day quoting Bruce as one of the few security people around advocating we need more post quantum crypto research lest we wake up one day in the near future and discover every stream cipher can be recorded by nation states in plaintext https://blog.cr.yp.to/20160516-quantum.html

Dirk PraetMay 18, 2016 5:08 PM

@ LCN

I do not believe Rolf was always this way, and he can return to normal.

I unfortunately do not share your optimism. It's his overall demeanour that eventually lead to psychological and political profiling as well as accusations of trolling and shillery. Not the other way around.

For what it's worth, I don't believe him to be a shill, just a person with a rather peculiar view on the world who for reasons unknown goes about everything Snowden-related in an unexplicably obsessive way. Not just here, but on other plaforms as well.

Read his last comment in reply to @Bill V. and yourself. Despite @Moderator cautioning him to stay on-topic, he's just carrying on as usual: laying out bait that has nothing to do with the thread topic, someone taking that bait and him reiterating the same opinions he has been repeating for the last couple of years, again completely derailing the thread. Same thing in his response to my previous post where he is once more trying to revive PRISM and other past discussions until we finally throw the towel.

He can't help it. That's just who he is, and that's not going to change until he's banned from the forum.

I rest my case.

Ross SniderMay 18, 2016 6:15 PM

@Rolf

"1. In the U.S., there is supervison from all 3 branches of the government: Judiciary, executive, and legislative. In Germany however, judiciary supervision is completely missing. And not only this, you need to know that in Germany there is no real seperation of power between the executive and the legislative, because the executive is elected by the legislative, so both powers are almost always in the same political hands."

The judiciary in this case is the FISC court which has no public accountability, is opaque to bodies like the OIG, and which was revealed during the revelations denied single digit numbers of requests out of inordinately huge numbers.

The executive in this case is the NSA itself and the IC community. This self-policing shouldn't be listed as supervision as though the executive is looking to limit its capabilities and powers.

The legislative in this case decried that they had been deeply misled about the interpretation that the Executive chose to take - even the original legislator of the PATRIOT Act decried that it was not intended to give authority for the programs that it did.

Let's be clear about all of that.

"2. In the U.S., the institution that authorizes intelligence activities with domestic relevance is the FISC. The FISC is a real court, and its judges are all appointed by the judiciary. Its German counterpart is the G10-Kommission, where only the chairman needs to be a judge, and its members are appointed by the legislative and thus often politicians."

The FISC was covered above, but let's add more. FISC stands for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance and it's mandate was to cover the requests for foreign targets. It's presumtive role under overgrasp from the Executive branch extended FISC over domestic decisions. This itself makes the court entirely unconstitutional.

"3. In the U.S., there are at least written rules for spying abroad: EO.12333. You may smile, because EO.12333 grants quite broad authorities, but in Germany such written rules do not exist at all."

I think you covered this quite well. I'd add that the domestic spying isn't covered under EO 12333 and unless there is some classified document there appear to be no written rules in these cases.

"4. Let's have a look at domestic internet backbone tapping. In the U.S., this is done under the FISA 702 authority, or the Upstream program. It basically works this way: The NSA sends selectors to carriers, and the carriers send back the matching data. That means: The NSA never has a "direct access" to the cable, they only get selected, targeted data. In Germany hoewever, it's the BND who directly taps into internet backbone cables. We know this from several hearings in the "NSA-Untersuchungsausschuss"."

A. The Snowden leaks and the associated reporting quickly revealed that the NSA had performed "full takes" of associated databases. What's more the selectors that were leaked showed that they were taking enormous swaths of information that in practice were not very targeted at all. Indeed their selection criteria for a valid target extended to signals for anyone up to three hops from any know person of interest.

B. Studies of human network connectivity have shown that this means everyone (it's about three hops from anyone to anyone on average).

"I never claimed it that broad. I just say there is no single proof of a "PRISM partnership". This was a misrepresentation by Snowden and his supporters."

What people mean here is extralegal cooperation between the largest commercial carriers and data providers to volunteer access and the programs that were revealed for NSA personnel to infiltrate corporations for which the NSA wanted additional access. PRISM was merely one program and it's unfortunate the media focused so exclusively on it. Anyway whether the National Security people on the board of most of the companies forced the companies to comply, whether caused by coercion like the QWest episode, or by financial interests and lucrative contracts (or economic espionage benefits) incentivized the collaboration, or whether businesses felt they would like for their own reasons to hand access to mass databases on all of their customers communications over to the highest levels of state police - there was collaboration of some kind.

You may debate whether to call the combination of infiltration, coercion, cooperation, inducement and command economy amounts to a 'partnership'. But this is what people are referring to. I'm sure you have a 'docile' name for it.

"Please show me one example where a "Snowden-related" statement of me is factually wrong."

I'm not familiar with your posts (this is the first time I've come across your character).

But I will say here that cherrypicking true facts - if all you've posted are indeed true facts - does not amount to informed discussion. Context, consistency and detail are all required. From what I've seen of your posts this what's missing.

LCNMay 18, 2016 8:29 PM

@Dirk Praet

I unfortunately do not share your optimism. It's his overall demeanour that eventually lead to psychological and political profiling as well as accusations of trolling and shillery. Not the other way around.

It is very hard not to try and profile enigmas like net-dev (went by Andrew or something on here) or Skeptical.

Regular real people tend to have their opinions across the map. Maybe leaning one way or the other. When someone is straight leaning only one way, that is not average, that is strange and remarkable. So strange it leads one to believe they are not a real person acting without duplicity.

Skeptical did, at times, show some scattering on that map. Very little.

There are sometimes some on the other side of the coin. Some who go so far I wonder if they are not a cop of some kind looking for people they can bump up against. Who are not here. (Because, Schneier.)

That kind tries to gain people's trust, hook up with them IRL, and eventually meet in person.

That kind is a scum bag. Those who trust in them end up going to prison. They don't have anyone close because they shit on them even more then they do on their victims. They are neither spies nor cops. Their life model is made famous by Judas.

One thing can be said about Rolf, Skeptical, Andrew -- they aren't gaining anyone's trust.

Wolves without sheep's clothing sort.

(I have literally had both Chinese and English spies on me. English, was Met Police. When I found that out, I was like, wtf is some rinky dink cop doing looking into me? Chinese? Well, I have a history with the Chinese. But those are real spies, and only reason I just used the word "spies" there, without quotes.)


He can't help it. That's just who he is, and that's not going to change until he's banned from the forum.

Like I said, I do not know. I take your statements with some weight. Being a very free speech kind of person, lol, not a fan of banning people. I avoid reddit because I think the voting system kills out controversial opinions.

I saw that last huge thread, attempted to jump in, curious about Rolf's response, but he did not respond, so I ignored it all.

I did see, clearly, he was going past reasonable bounds.

Before that, his name never came up in my mind as particularly noxious. (But, I just am like a heron, I come and go. You guys stay here, I do not. So, I do not know.)

Dirk PraetMay 18, 2016 8:44 PM

@ Ross Snider

I'd add that the domestic spying isn't covered under EO 12333 and unless there is some classified document there appear to be no written rules in these cases.

Traditionally, domestic surveillance powers in the US were held by LEA's like the FBI, and for which warrants from a judge and supported by probable cause were required, thus ensuring genuine oversight. National Security Letters date back to 1978's RFPA and were originally only intended for data held by a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. PA Section 505 (2001) extended their use and shaped their current form.

After 9/11, George W. Bush authorized the NSA's Stellar Wind (AKA The President's Program) and later domestic NSA spying programs were conducted under the authority of a secret FISC interpretation of PA 215. All surveillance conducted under these programs and authorisations was illegal and probably even unconstitutional.

The NSA's UPSTREAM program that intercepts telephone and internet traffic from internet backbone infrastructure both domestic and foreign, is legally authorized by FISA, FISAA 2008, Transit and EO 12333. NSA foreign spying is primarily conducted under FISA, PAA 2007 and FISAA 2008. Reagan's EO 12333 was originally intended as a basis for further expansion of IC data collection activities, and as such also used by the NSA as legal authorization for its collection of unencrypted information flowing through the data centers of Google, Yahoo and the like.

But I will say here that cherrypicking true facts ... does not amount to informed discussion.

Any comparative study will show that, at least formally, the US has a much broader legal framework in place with regards to foreign surveilance than Germany does. The UK does even worse. Nobody is even questioning that. For all practical purposes however, existing legislation is much too vague and way too broad in all three of them and any foreign communications in essence fair game. And which makes the comparison pretty moot.

All three lack robust systems capable of protecting citizens from unwarranted surveillance. The oversight, whether it be by the FISC, the G-10 or the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, is completely disfunctional in that their primary activity is to rubberstamp the activities of the agencies they are supposed to oversee, assuming said agencies even provide them with correct information, which neither of them have any way to verify.

LCNMay 18, 2016 9:08 PM

@Rolf Weber

I didn't deliberately ignore questions, maybe I overlooked something. What do you exactly mean?

I just mean, "I do not know". I saw one really long thread with a lot of complaints. A lot of frustration. I saw accusations. I did not even begin to read over the whole thing. I try and jump in and verify, my own self. Also, because I hold some controversial viewpoints, and I like to get viewpoints that may challenge them.

I did jump in, once, maybe twice. I made a statement above in this thread. ( https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2016/05/more_nsa_docume.html#c6724435 )

I did not see you as intentionally ignoring it. I saw you as really heavily invested into a "thing" with some other posters.

It struck me as personal level fighting. Not cold, analytical discussion, with an angel on one side and a devil on the other. :-)

LCN wrote: There is nothing which Snowden released which did any damage at all.
He released details about legitimate foreign spying, like about spying on China. What, if not this, is reckless damage?

Oh, the US was running compromised routers. You seriously did not think the Chinese already knew that?

That is throwaway disclosure if there ever was one.

And even if China was dense and not already running a counter program against exactly that (how, I do not know, since it figured heavily in the "Spiderman"/Carpenter/Sandia Labs case)... it was going to go stale at any time.

The US/New Zealand started finding and disclosing serious security vulnerabilities in routers and publicly disclosing some as far back as the early 2000s.

If the NSA or GCHQ thought for a second the idea of compromising routers was not important to China, they never would have brought backdoored huawei routers to the global media.

Same thing goes about the NZ/US underwater pipelines of communication. The US has been doing that all over the world for ages. You can't keep that thing a secret outside of five eyes.

Fact is, both cases involve NZ and the US. Only the Spiderman/Carpenter case did not.

And he distracted the public discussion with his wrong and misleading misrepresentations of the documents. Clearly harm too.


I think there was very clear harm, to a lot of the leaders in US Government. Enough to not have a doubt he is legit, as his story. But, not harm to deeper and more lasting US interests.

There is no internal controls. There is counterintelligence. There is security. They look for drunks and moles and f**k arounds. Poorly.

Why is this a concern of mine?

Because it is the perfect storm environment for the rise of a very powerful, rogue pseudo-governmental organization, that is why.

Democracies can not stand when the politicians are wiretapped and blackmailed.

NSA, CIA, are meant to be working offshore. Not onshore. With obviously legitimate exceptions.

Putting those powerhouses on their own people? That is simply way too much power with far too little control.

The FBI is dangerous enough. They have no legitimate oversight, except for non-super secret related offenses.

Super secret work? The investigatory powers of the AG can not look into those. There are so many, no one can even track them by sheer number. Nevermind the limitation of external party inspection because of the highly classified nature of some of them.

Look at Scarpa and Bulger.

The FBI effectively ran organized crime in both Boston and NY. That went into the late 80s, too.

And the FBI is *nowhere near* as sophisticated as the NSA and CIA in these things.


I hear guys who are German, such as your own self, say this stuff, and I shake my head. We are two different nations, with two entirely different sets of interests.

My job is to protect my stuff, your job is to protect your own. Nobody watches over their neighbor's house. They expect them to do it.

Even in my criticisms, I just want it better here. And because we are a global world, secondarily, elsewhere.

To be honest. Which people tend not to be on these subjects.

Unrepentant TrollMay 19, 2016 2:21 AM

Disclaimer: 'Trolling' is to some extent part of my writing style. I don't think it's the same kind of trolling that is being acutely addressed here. And in fact I consider the topic of trolling itself to be on-topic enough with Snowden, specifically- One important aspect of how the Snowden story played out (in the first year), was how Snowden I'm pretty sure, engaged in a touch of highest stakes trolling with the USG. I don't even remember the details clearly, or care about that. But it certainly seemed important seeing how in the very early day by day fallout/media-spin, guilt could be reasonbly inferred by how high profile relevent government employees reacted. Likewise for the few mega transnat corporations whose involvement (knowing or not) became clear all of a sudden. My point here is that trolling is a spectrum, and it's important not to demonize the word as such. Just like 'profiling', or 'discrimination'. Those words tend to get demonized when naked, but it's really the qualifiers that matter, such as 'racial discrimination', and 'government profiling'(think 'equal protection under the law'). So with that explanation, I hope it is generally considered socially acceptable to subtly troll on occasion. Perhaps one of my favorite ways to troll is to express strong and controversial and complex technical concerns while somewhat intoxicated. With the knowledge that my own thinking will with some predictable probability slip up from time to time. Knowing this, I then look at which of my slip-ups opposing debaters go after. Often this I feel gives me a better insight into the bigger picture, which is why I ultimately spend effort debating. Am I a bad person?

On another Snowden note- I must say the most depressing aspect of the Rolf Weber trolling discussion here is that 3 years ago, I was in no way hoping to see a future where 3 years from now there wouldn't be a Snowden2, Snowden3, Snowden4, and Snowden5 clearly existing to make Rolf's comments even vaguely sensical. Do we believe that Snowden reasonably safely 'got away with it'? If he did, why haven't we seen others that felt sufficiently empowered to go the same route? I'd like to believe Rolf Weber is just a troll that can be ignored, but where are the others? Instead of others we have Trump and 'muslim has nothing to do with religion' (connect that with aforementioned profiling and discrimination). This is seriously concerning folks.

ianfMay 19, 2016 3:12 AM


Unrepentant Troll (=a pseudonym!) asks: […] “Am I a bad person?

No, merely self-obsessed and boring. And it sounds even better im Hochdeutsch!

Rolf WeberMay 19, 2016 6:29 AM

Before I will later continue the above discussions in more detail, I just would like to share this interview with Geoffrey Stone, and I just can say that I see it exactly as him:

Stone: So before I began the work on the review group, my general view was that, from what I learned in the media, the NSA had run amok and created these programs without appropriate approval or authorization or review. And whatever I thought of the merits of the programs, my assumption was that it was illegitimate because it didn't have appropriate review and approval. What surprised me the most was that this was completely wrong.

Every one of the programs the NSA was running in foreign intelligence surveillance was approved by the House and Senate intelligence committees, White House, the attorney general and the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court. Every program was authorized and approved, and whatever one thinks of the programs, it was not a case of running amok or exceeding its authority. If there were extensive criticisms of the programs, the fault rests with the government entities that approved and authorized them. That I found surprising and illuminating.

[...]

Stone: His basic defense is that "what I did accomplished much more good than it caused harm. And therefore what I did was justified." I would respond in several ways.

First, I think it is wrong. I think if he had only disclosed the existence of the second 215 metadata program, then one might be able to make the case he did more good than harm because there were reforms adopted because of his disclosures. That's a good thing. And the program itself had not been up to this point all that valuable, and therefore even though its disclosure makes it largely ineffective going forward – they work in part because the person you're surveilling doesn't know they exist – the cost was pretty modest because the program wasn't that valuable. On that one could make an argument that the benefit of the disclosure, which brought about reforms, was sufficiently beneficial so on balance a net good. If that was all he disclosed, you could make a reasonable argument for his proposition.

The problem is he disclosed vastly more than that, involving foreign intelligence not of Americans but of individuals who aren't American citizens in other countries. No changes were generally made in those programs and Americans don't really care. But disclosing those programs has had a serious impact on their being as effective as they had been. I think he did a lot more harm than good.

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-05-18/civil-liberties-and-national-security-expert-on-edward-snowden-and-the-nsa

Dirk PraetMay 19, 2016 7:30 AM

@ Rolf Weber

Before I will later continue the above discussions in more detail, I just would like to share this interview with Geoffrey Stone

Which AGAIN has nothing to do with the release of previously unpublished Snowden documents and at best belongs in the Friday Squid thread.

What part of @Moderator's words about staying on topic didn't you understand?

Bumble BeeMay 19, 2016 7:38 AM

@ Rolf Weber, Ross Snider, Dirk Praet, others

Re: EO 12333

Perhaps there is some misunderstanding. EOs are not laws. They are simply orders from the President. They have no "scope" or jurisdiction whatsoever outside the context of federal employees (or military) carrying out and enforcing the U.S. Constitution and federal laws that have been passed by Congress in accordance with that Constitution.

The President of the United States is Commander in Chief of the armed forces, (as well as the federal government in general,) and he or she is supposed to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed," but the president is not a king, queen, or dictator.

In particular, under the Constitution, "The Congress shall have Power ... To declare War ..."

East Germany had a version of EO 12333. It is available here.

Rolf WeberMay 19, 2016 10:03 AM

@Dirk Praet

[...] where he is once more trying to revive PRISM [...]

The original PRISM reporting was erroneous on 3 claims:
- that there was a "direct access" to the servers of Google & Co.
- that the companies "joined" the PRISM program
- that PRISM was indiscriminate, mass surveillance

All these claims proved to be wrong, at least there is no single evidence for it. But the problem is, these claims are repeated, even today, and even here in this forum. And sometimes, when I see that someone claims something that I consider factually wrong, I comment on it. And when I do this, it is neither reviving nor trolling, it's just discussion.

Any comparative study will show that, at least formally, the US has a much broader legal framework in place with regards to foreign surveilance than Germany does.

What study do you mean, for example? These two studies suggest the opposite:

http://www.hldataprotection.com/2012/05/articles/international-eu-privacy/hogan-lovells-white-paper-on-governmental-access-to-data-in-the-cloud-debunks-faulty-assumption-that-us-access-is-unique/
http://www.sidley.com/publications/essentially-equivalent


@Ross Snider

The judiciary in this case is the FISC court which has no public accountability, is opaque to bodies like the OIG, and which was revealed during the revelations denied single digit numbers of requests out of inordinately huge numbers.

A number of about 2000 per year I wouldn't call "inordinately". But anyway, we are comparing with the German G10-Kommission, and they don't even publish numbers about denied requests. And the G10-Kommission has in no way more "public accountability".

The legislative in this case decried that they had been deeply misled about the interpretation that the Executive chose to take - even the original legislator of the PATRIOT Act decried that it was not intended to give authority for the programs that it did.

Similar happened here in Germany, when in the wake of the "NSA-Untersuchungsausschuss" some lawmakers realized how the laws were interpreted.

That's what I mean: Maybe you can call the U.S. intelligence oversight regime and privacy and civil liberties protections imperfect or even bad, but you will hardly find any western democracy with better ones.


@LCN

Oh, the US was running compromised routers. You seriously did not think the Chinese already knew that?

Maybe, may not be. At least after the leak they knew for sure, so this was harm. And the misleading press coverage damaged trust in the U.S. and U.S. companies, which was harm too. And there was no justification for this leak, because it had nothing to do with civil liberties.

But BTW, I meant another Chines related leak, one of the very beginning, when Snowden still resided in Hong Kong. Even Glenn Grennwald said that he wouldn't have published it and added:
“What motivated that leak though was a need to ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China.”
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/06/25/greenwald-snowden-s-files-are-out-there-if-anything-happens-to-him.html

That's what I mean, most of Snowden's "revelations" had nothing to do with civil liberties, but with legitimate NSA spying, obviously published with the only intention to hurt the west. And this is harm. And as I showed above, Snowden continues with this habbit with his new releases when he publishes documents about for example spying on Russia.


@Bumble Bee

Regarding EO 12333, of course you are right that EOs are no law. But they are binding for the executive anyway. And I didn't claim that it would be law, I just said that Germany doesn't have any written rules at all for its spying on foreign soil. At least nothing publicly available.

And East Germany neither had, your linked document was secret. Besides that East Germany was a dictatorship, other than democracies under the rule of law like Germyn or the U.S., so even if they had something similar, it wouldn't have been of any value.

LCNMay 19, 2016 10:32 AM

@Rolf Weber

Maybe, may not be. At least after the leak they knew for sure, so this was harm. And the misleading press coverage damaged trust in the U.S. and U.S. companies, which was harm too. And there was no justification for this leak, because it had nothing to do with civil liberties.

I do not think the coverage that the US was hacking some small subset of Chinese routers in anyway hurt the reputation of the US and had nothing to do with US companies. Nobody blames the US for doing that. That was clearly fair game.

Conversely, PRISM did, but that should have. Specific details of PRISM have not been stated, directly. So no undercover were hurt, such as those engaged in prism via the sentry eagle/bird programs.

One thing to bear in mind here, which I do not think you are doing, is... Snowden knows the US has compromised China in far worse places. Saying you have an obscure window open in your building, which is hard to reach, when you know the front door and back door keys have been compromised does no harm to security of the thief. They fix the obscure window, and feel more safe then they did before.

But, the thief still has both the front and back door keys.

But BTW, I meant another Chines related leak, one of the very beginning, when Snowden still resided in Hong Kong. Even Glenn Grennwald said that he wouldn't have published it and added:“What motivated that leak though was a need to ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China.”

From the article:

In addition to providing documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post, Snowden has also given interviews to the South China Morning Post, an English-language newspaper in Hong Kong, which reported that Snowden has disclosed the Internet Protocol addresses for computers in China and Hong Kong that the NSA monitored. That paper also printed a story claiming the NSA collected the text-message data for Hong Kong residents based on a June 12 interview Snowden gave the paper. Greenwald said he would not have published some of the stories that ran in the South China Morning Post. “Whether I would have disclosed the specific IP addresses in China and Hong Kong the NSA is hacking, I don’t think I would have,” Greenwald said. “What motivated that leak though was a need to ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China.”

This is what I am talking about. He exposed some routers. That is it.

The language is indefinite, and this may be confusing you.

It states, "Snowden has disclosed the ip addresses for computers in China and HK which the NSA monitored". This is bad language. It is potentially implying Snowden disclosed ALL IP addresses in China and HK the NSA monitored.

The word "all" is not used, but some are wrongly inferring this.

Greenwald also uses similar language, which, likely, this report's language is based on.

They had a tiny few IP addresses NSA monitored. The routers I was talking about. That is it.


This does not hurt security. The disclosure was five, ten, very small number of systems. People were erroneously believing that was all IP addresses compromised. Very far from it.

This is a basic security tactic. Admit a very little, and the very big is given enhanced cover.

It is like lying on a lie detector. "Oh, that question made me feel nervous, because I do meet with foreign agents as part of my normal job duties". (From Aldrich Ames, as advised to him by the KGB.)


That's what I mean, most of Snowden's "revelations" had nothing to do with civil liberties, but with legitimate NSA spying, obviously published with the only intention to hurt the west. And this is harm. And as I showed above, Snowden continues with this habbit with his new releases when he publishes documents about for example spying on Russia.

Benny, what's his name, think Snowden is a traitor. He thinks he did this.

I disagree with him, too.


And as for your criteria, eroding trust globally in US and US companies??

BIG problem with that, for this reason: US intel (a lot) and Law Enforcement is yelling day after day, week after week, year after year, on the global stage saying they want backdoors in all American software and hardware products.

Nothing can destroy that trust more.

Today, people have some reasonable expectation of privacy. When they buy and use American products. Tomorrow? They will not. Because lawfully and openly, or in secret and unlawfully, they will get those backdoors.

This is like putting a billboard for your thieving skills on a hill where everyone can see you. "I am a thief, and I want to break into all of your houses, all the time."

That erodes confidence.


LCNMay 19, 2016 10:38 AM

@Rolf Weber

On Geoffrey Stone:

Never trust expert opinions. You should work through the logic of the flow of the evidence. Not just a shortcut with a singular source with a very limited perspective.


As an American, I am in no way bothered by what Snowden disclosed. Maybe some are. Seems more like they don't know what they are talking about.

It definitely hurt some programs, programs which did involve civil liberties.

Not just American civil liberties. For instance, the routers under question which were disclosed, were academic.


Does China use universities to attack other nations with? Yes, they do. But, still, small subset. Telling someone you stole a penny from them, when you really stole their house, their car, everything in their bank, and their wife and kids, too.


Helps more then hurts.

Obviously, there is the short sighted view of things.

A lot of these pundits are where they are because they follow rules. They are not capable of genuine independent thinking.


Ross SniderMay 19, 2016 12:48 PM

@Rolf

It is very clear reading your arguments that, while you claim to stand on strong theses ("The US government does not engage in mass surveillance") - you fall back very quickly in actual argumentation to weaker theses and finger pointing ("I think those guys over there perform mass surveillance worse or with less 'oversight'").

I feel I understand your arguments, having read them in detail on this forum.

They are not moving. They do not establish what you say they do when presented in your strongest synopses. The strongest thing I've seen you successfully defend are small technical feats of redefinition or of trying to contrast favorably against low standards.

Indeed. Detailed reading of your arguments has you admit that the US does all the things that you say they do not do when you round them up to synopses.

I can only imagine you discussing, similarly, how the US torture program is more docile than some other places in the world - and how this makes torture okay. (I realize you haven't made this specific argument, I am merely using it to draw out how you are arguing about mass global and domestic surveillance).

In any case I'm very thankful that you have an 'alternate' viewpoint and you feel compelled to argue it.

Unfortunately the sum of the argument in my assessment, say if I were a professor grading it as a homework assignment, is that it is weak on its assumptions, weak on its details, and weak on its consistency and completeness. It's strongly presented though, with your character arguing so fervently about it. Though it may be the case that you can convince some less educated folk merely by giving the impression you have a strong thesis and that you are arguing it effectively ("argument by exhaustion").

Try not to rabble-rouse too much on this one topic. There's plenty of good arguments to make - and this one of yours being so weakly held together I fear, in the long run, will wither and you'll see that the energy you've spent on it wasted. Absolutely thank you for playing devils advocate. I wish you and the people provoked into argumentation all the best.

tj williamsMay 19, 2016 1:29 PM

May I recommend reading "Playing to the edge" by General Michael Hayden?
That should clarify what had been approved, by whom and when. At least according to the author.

Ross SniderMay 19, 2016 1:47 PM

@TJ WIlliams

I would recommend reading the Snowden Documents themselves. You can find them online in a searchable format.

That gives great clarity, especially when taken alongside the reporting from Der Speigel, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Intercept and others - as to what had been approved, by whom and when.

These documents are primary sources, where as autobiographies are secondary sources, restricted so singular perspectives, are subject to editorial controls, and can be written more easily from a political purpose. The documents, while dry, give a very good understanding not only of the technical capabilities but also the assumed scope and methodology of work.

However for those wishing to read something less dry and technical would do well to read multiple books to get multiple perspectives.

I would recommend reading "No Place To Hide" by Glenn Greenwald - the award winning investigative journalist who risked both his life and career to bring to light the Snowden documents.

tj williamsMay 19, 2016 2:16 PM

@ross
I agree with your proposals.

What I meant is even MH admits that some programmmes initially didn't get the appropriate HISC/FISC oversight/approval. I can't believe this is untrue in an authorized biography.

Ross SniderMay 19, 2016 3:09 PM

@TJ Williams

Furthermore we need to acknowledge that Keith Alexander was the General in charge of NSA during the time period of the global and domestic surveillance disclosures. What Hayden had access to was the NSA on damage control after General Alexander was given the golden parachute.

Rolf WeberMay 19, 2016 4:08 PM

@LCN

I do not think the coverage that the US was hacking some small subset of Chinese routers in anyway hurt the reputation of the US and had nothing to do with US companies. Nobody blames the US for doing that. That was clearly fair game.

Of course it was fair game, and because of this, because it was no wrongdoing, and had nothing to do with civil liberties, there are just no justifications to expose this stuff.
I mean there are reasons why spying operations are kept secret. Otherwise the IC could publish on Twitter whom they are monitoring. So it is harm when details about spying operations are published, and such exposure can only be justified when they spied on the wrong people, or did some other wrongdoings. But this is simply not the case when they are spying on China or Russia. That's their job. To expose details about this is simply a crime.

One thing to bear in mind here, which I do not think you are doing, is... Snowden knows the US has compromised China in far worse places.

May be, may not be. Snowden was a sysadmin, with no insight into NSA's offensive SIGINT arm. All he knows about it is from "his" documents. And here we simply do not know which documents besides the published so far he has/had. We will have a better idea about the documents he handed over to Greenwald when the Intercept is done with the announced releases, but then it's still an open question what other documents he has/had. (I'm personally convinced that Snowden is behind the Merkel story, the ANT catalog, the XKeyScore sources, the drone papers and the stingray story, but that's another topic, maybe off-topic here ... :-)

Never trust expert opinions.

I absolutely agree!


@Ross Snider

It is very clear reading your arguments that, while you claim to stand on strong theses ("The US government does not engage in mass surveillance") - you fall back very quickly in actual argumentation to weaker theses and finger pointing ("I think those guys over there perform mass surveillance worse or with less 'oversight'").

This is because we have to answer two questions, not a single one. For a better understanding a quick recap:
After the Snowden stories came out, there was a lot of outrage in Europe, and especially in Germany, about the NSA's real or alleged spying. And then they started some investigations, in Germany most notably with the parliamentarian "NAS-Untersuchungsausschuss". And the more they investigated, the more they realized "oopsie, what we do is essentially the same ...".

So the two questions are:

1. Is that what the U.S. does really unique, unprecedented under western democracies, or is it what all do, more or less?
2. Is it really wrong what we, the western democracies, are all doing?

And my answer to both questions is "no". And I don't see why my argumentation should be contradictory.

Dirk PraetMay 19, 2016 4:44 PM

@ Rolf Weber, @ Moderator

The original PRISM reporting was erroneous on 3 claims:

Thank you for proving my point, in addition showing off to everybody that you don't give a rat's *ss about @Moderator's request to stay on topic and no longer engage off-topic with people you are not going to convince anyway. And no, I'm not taking the bait.

What study do you mean, for example? These two studies suggest the opposite:

The first document you refer to is a pre-Snowden white paper pointing out that governments in other jurisdictions than the US have access to cloud service provider user data, in some even without legal process and protections. Now that's a surprise!

The second one is a not even thinly disguised effort by a well-known legal lobby shop to legitimize Privacy Shield. And no, I'm not taking that bait either.

Maybe you can call the U.S. intelligence oversight regime and privacy and civil liberties protections imperfect or even bad, but you will hardly find any western democracy with better ones.

Please explain how this has anything to do with the current thread topic other than continuing to abuse this forum to vent completely unrelated and irrelevant opinions in threads where Snowden or surveillance comes up.

Rolf WeberMay 19, 2016 5:09 PM

@Dirk Praet

Thank you for proving my point, in addition showing off to everybody that you don't give a rat's *ss about @Moderator's request to stay on topic

I'm sorry? Maybe my post really was off-topic, if yes I'm sorry, but I just answered to your post, which then was off-topic in the first place. Such things sometimes happen in such discussions. I don't blame you, bot you blame me. That's the only difference.

The first document you refer to is [...] The second one is a not even [...]

So OK, you obviously do not like the studies I quoted. But it was you who claimed that "any comparative study will show that [...]". So what study are you referring, for example?

Dirk PraetMay 19, 2016 7:39 PM

@ Rolf Weber

I believe I have made my point both to yourself and @Moderator and will refrain from further participation in a thread that has already sufficiently been derailed by your continued off-topic preaching. You may still find a soundboard with new or casual blog visitors, but most of the regulars here are done with you.

JoshMay 19, 2016 8:06 PM

@ Rolf Weber,

"Is it really wrong what we, the western democracies, are all doing?"

Mass collection isn't part of the democratic process, because as I understand it was done in the name of national security. Thus, mass collection or the spying of citizenry at large is not the doings of democracies but a decision made by a delegated authority of representatives who apparently does not have to listen to their voters at large.

"The original PRISM reporting was erroneous on 3 claims:"

How do you think they collect data, reassemble all the packets? LOL

LCNMay 19, 2016 10:44 PM

@Rolf Weber

Of course it was fair game, and because of this, because it was no wrongdoing, and had nothing to do with civil liberties, there are just no justifications to expose this stuff. I mean there are reasons why spying operations are kept secret. Otherwise the IC could publish on Twitter whom they are monitoring. So it is harm when details about spying operations are published, and such exposure can only be justified when they spied on the wrong people, or did some other wrongdoings. But this is simply not the case when they are spying on China or Russia. That's their job. To expose details about this is simply a crime.
May be, may not be. Snowden was a sysadmin, with no insight into NSA's offensive SIGINT arm. All he knows about it is from "his" documents. And here we simply do not know which documents besides the published so far he has/had.

I want to know, why is a German national with no ties to the US so worked up about this. And, why are they linking their "real identity" and employer while doing so?

This sounds like a sales pitch to the US IC. I do not think you can persuade me otherwise. But, I do not believe "real identities". You could be Russian or Chinese. A picture, a name, means nothing. Setting up a fake employer means nothing. Maybe it is a day job, while you try and ingratiate yourself with US IC.

I don't buy that you really believe US IC does not read this site.

I am not a fan of people exposing sources or methods. Working with the US in those countries can be one of the most powerful ways to bring about change.

In this case, no one was exposed, and the methods exposed would only lead China on a wild goose hunt.

While they are looking to the left of the road, they don't check who is crossing it on the other side.

You are speculating on things you do not have enough information on. That is fine, but having such high confidence for such limited knowledge speculation is not accurate.

But, you do say, "maybe, maybe not". So why waste energy getting worked up on it?

It surely could be argued that Snowden had a lot of work exposure to methods of hacking being used. I am sure he could have come to the same conclusion: they have way more sources then just those routers.

I would not, at all, be surprised... if China had not long before discovered the routers. And even, Snowden may have surmised this, or known it.

Which means the disclosure was like a taunt.

It would make the entire issue very, very irresistible to them.

But, it would all be a distraction.

We will have a better idea about the documents he handed over to Greenwald when the Intercept is done with the announced releases, but then it's still an open question what other documents he has/had. (I'm personally convinced that Snowden is behind the Merkel story, the ANT catalog, the XKeyScore sources, the drone papers and the stingray story, but that's another topic, maybe off-topic here ... :-)

That is really wild speculation.

Those releases may have been part of a deliberate counterintelligence mission to mislead people about NSA capabilities. You do not know otherwise.

The ANT catalog had old stuff, known stuff. Not known to hobbyiests, entirely, but the basics they sure knew.

I would be really surprised if China and Russia did not know these things already.

Who knows. Not like one can listen in on their analysts talking.

If they knew of these things, it would just mess with their heads, and collectively.

When you can get in someone's head, and stay there, with something that is not what you want them to know, that is mind control right there. That is defeating them without going to war.

They can't shake the possibilities. They become haunted. Ghosts rule their mind. And that is who they end up chasing. Instead of anything or anyone real.

Fact is: even if these things were not known, they are still going to have to speculate.

A lot of big questions there. And important. That kind of speculation does wonders on brainy analysts minds.

So, what is the loss.

And, where is China coming and saying, "We used this data and found so many other compromised systems". Or anyone. Crickets. It is silent. Maybe they did, maybe they did not. They are not confident enough to put their cards down on the table. So, they are losing.


Point is: nothing to get worked up about. Too many unknowns. I can speculate on your real identity. You can speculate on mine. Nobody can ever really know.

It is when you think you know, where the errors happen.

Rolf WeberMay 20, 2016 4:04 PM

@LCN

I want to know, why is a German national with no ties to the US so worked up about this.

Why should it be important who I am? Factual arguments should count, nothing else. And just for the record, "no ties to the US" is not correct, my daughter was born in the U.S. and is an American citizen. But this has nothing to do with my opinion and my engagement.

And, why are they linking their "real identity" and employer while doing so?

I come from the Usenet, where it was common to write under real name, real identity. I always did, and ever will. Believe it or not.

I can speculate on your real identity.

Of course you can. But consider that on my Google+ page, I documented for example a criminal complaint I filed, and related answers (but all in German). And other similar stuff. I of course had to do this under my real identity, and if it was faked everybody could find out.

But back to the topic: I think you would only admit damage if there was real, imminent damage, like for example if an agents real identity was exposed and he is in imminent danger. But I see other damages too, which are not directly provable, like unnecessary tensions between western countiries (because of wrong or misleading allegations), or like that concrete methods are leaked to enemies (like dictatorships, criminals or terrorists), or like that western intelligence agencies are paralyzed because of the allegations. Or even that political decisions were influenced towards the wrong directions, like for example with the new European data protection laws. Or that the leaks indirectly led to the invalidation of the SafeHarbor framework. And so on. There was so much harm.

And this is why I say: You need to have a very good justification if you leak secret informations to the public. And to expose that the NSA spies on Russia or China is never ever such a justification.

LCNMay 20, 2016 6:56 PM

@Rolf Weber

La Cosa Nostra wrote: I want to know, why is a German national with no ties to the US so worked up about this.
Rolf Weber: Why should it be important who I am? Factual arguments should count, nothing else. And just for the record, "no ties to the US" is not correct, my daughter was born in the U.S. and is an American citizen. But this has nothing to do with my opinion and my engagement.

Nothing matters to me.

I was one of the very, very few who did actively spy "against" China. I did have that data in OPM, and they did not protect OPM. Of the 22 million records stolen, I was probably one in ten people who had in there details on real spying against China.

I want, even demand (though with zero doubt wait), for regime change there.

And I am intimately familiar with the NZ/US projects behind both the router attacks and the underwater cabling systems...

And, what Snowden disclosed does not bother me in the least.

So, curiously, I was just wondering why it bothers you...

I mean,that is great, you, as someone who has zero experience in intelligence, far less, with US vs China spying, has an opinion. But, who knows.

Somehow I feel giddily confident in the fact that my main goal with China will be complete. Soon. Which is? Regime change. lol.

So, I wonder what outsiders might think....

"How did you get such motivation for something like this"...

Stuff like that.

And, why are they linking their "real identity" and employer while doing so?
I come from the Usenet, where it was common to write under real name, real identity. I always did, and ever will. Believe it or not.


I did, sometimes. I actually came with a good Usenet hacking newsgroup forum straight from... Usenet... to here.

For the most part, I did not use my real name. Initially, as a noob, I did. I did get caught once effectively posting with one religious identity... versus my hax0r identity.

I had a credible beginning, from Usenet, to where I went.

Worse, I have code in a lot of core, cutting edge systems. And curious people ties.

It may also be bad that I invented the watering hole and drive by Attacks. While, I leave evidence for that, I normally do not trumpet it very loudly.

Wolves in sheep's clothing, are my prey. I consider myself a predatory, alpha predator, large cat, who particularly delights in the well gamed flesh of wolves.

Not saying you are. Just curious as to why any of this bothers you. And, cynical.

I post here for fun, if you are wondering. But, also, always working. With countries, sometimes. Not for, ever.

None of that is "classified" for anyone. Because they use code names and obscure the background identities of people in papers...


la cosa nostra wrote: can speculate on your real identity.

Of course you can. But consider that on my Google+ page, I documented for example a criminal complaint I filed, and related answers (but all in German). And other similar stuff. I of course had to do this under my real identity, and if it was faked everybody could find out.


It literally does not take me ten seconds to get someone to add such *apparently substantiating* information...

Did you think it was hard to come up with whatever documents one needs, regardless of how high up, in the german (or US, or anywhere!) government....?

Phenolight... Mixter... CCC?

I appreciate BND's collaboration, but, lol, did you think that would discontinue?

Trump is our puppet. Clinton is our puppet. Oh noes. Sanders is our puppet. And Merkel.

And what a great cover.

...

But back to the topic: I think you would only admit damage if there was real, imminent damage, like for example if an agents real identity was exposed and he is in imminent danger. But I see other damages too, which are not directly provable, like unnecessary tensions between western countiries (because of wrong or misleading allegations), or like that concrete methods are leaked to enemies (like dictatorships, criminals or terrorists), or like that western intelligence agencies are paralyzed because of the allegations. Or even that political decisions were influenced towards the wrong directions, like for example with the new European data protection laws. Or that the leaks indirectly led to the invalidation of the SafeHarbor framework. And so on. There was so much harm.


So, as convincing as it seems otherwise... "Manning" is not spending his days in jail, anymore then "Robert Hanssen".

They were just actors.... spy actors, yes, so not literally "just" actors. I mean. Fuck. They did a really good job...

Just because people see newspaper reports seemingly about real things. Does not mean they are real.


And this is why I say: You need to have a very good justification if you leak secret informations to the public. And to expose that the NSA spies on Russia or China is never ever such a justification.


I need Russia to get more curious.


China, too.

The giggles of utter delight come as much when people do not believe us, as when they do...

The later of which they saying is

"Doing homework", or equivalent....


We have some low level folks here from various nations.

In Germany, we just have some minor course corrections. But... it is true. It may hurt a lot.

LCNMay 20, 2016 7:54 PM

@Rolf Weber

One in... the whole fuckin load of it.

:-)

One in a billion.

...

:-)

And... I am for regime change. I know. Very impolite of me.

But, so, ME is much more important for me.

Lebanon we have kept as safe as Israel.


....

We are using both. Sorry!!!

;-)


Immortality is the real bitch of it all, though,

Take my word for it.

CarpetCatMay 20, 2016 9:53 PM

[Slightly off topic]

I wish @Benni was here. I'm sure he would mention how the BND was proven to be working for the NSA, thus breaking German law.

I wish I knew the number of replies across all posts and dates you've all made. What great metrics to gather and study! I postulate that you've been conversing with a machine, in the vein of Microsofts latest display. No firm opinions on anything, no weighing of moral ambiguous choices, just firm neverending circular spewing.

If I ask it, what is your favourite ice cream? Or, would you like to meet in person for a coffee and some small cakes?, I will get no response. Just as others whose questions where missed. But if I name it directly, the flood gates part and the game continues.

And what game is this? Quite frankly, the lot of you have willingly handed your personal opinions on various topics up willy nilly. You are all the victims of cyber-profiling. A never yeilding, unmoving object that's sole porpose is to ectract the political leanings, and degree of passion of these holdings. Yes, there isn't exactly anyone hiding here. But this is just a test of the program after all, a polishing of its ability.

Think of the future! We could deploy these AI-ish chatterboxes to lower education! Childen could learn computers and typing! All the while having there unsavory idea(l)s measured and recorded- with a bit of patriotic pride pumped in for good measure.

To wit, my point: @Snowden:

Dear Snowden, why did the US illegally revoke your passport? Why did the US force a soveriegn nation head of state to land their plane and forcibly board it while looking for you? Why would the US do these things if they are the leader of the free world, indeed a shining beacon to their shores of all that is rightious and good? etc.

@all
It can't answer these questions. Anymore then it can answer the question of Job, should I kill my son or follow Gods will? It doesn't understand moral dillema, the yearning of the individual portrayed against the lure of the crowd and that sense of belonging to a purpose. It just repeats itself, or asks you a question to make you frustrated and repeat yourself, as you can see by skimming the above. Ich verstehe das nicht. What do you mean? I don't see, etc. Over and over again.

Lets return to our roots of great debate and knowledgable discussion. We don't need the @Moderator to do it for us.

[On Topic]
I think the more info released, the better. Is there anyone that thinks all gentlemen are NOT reading each others mail anymore? I know they don't want a Wikileaks situation, were its almost overwhelming, but the drumbeat needs beat, loud and steady. How many suprises could there be, anymore? We need to counter the 15 min news cycle of wag the dog.

WaelMay 20, 2016 10:39 PM

@CarpetCat,

How many suprises could there be, anymore?

No surprises left. Just confirmations of suspicions.

Mr PeabodyMay 21, 2016 3:42 PM

Rolf Weber has a valid if unpopular point. At least from Snowden's document cache, we have no evidence of the government interfering with the political actions of citizens ala Hoover.

This could mean that they don't do those things. This could mean Snowden didn't have visibility into those kinds of operations or this could mean "the system" was still evolving those capabilities at the time of Snowden's snapshot. No one knows.

This is certain. If Snowden had waited until he had had evidence of such programs, we all would have coalesced on a shared evaluation of "the programs" and there would have been substantial changes to them instead of the superfical and cosmetic ones we have now (ATT will now hold all the metadata instead of the NSA).

Here's another unpopular point to ponder. In the non-science-fictiony meaning of the future, that is, the real and plausible near future, it will be possible for just anyone to do things like create viruses that exist in the real world and not just computers, and create autonomous microscopic do-dads that go here and there and do this and that.

One argument that I used to hear, call it the hacker's argument, was that very many smart people will engage in the defense against DIY bio terriorists and the numbers somehow will favor us. Now that it's been indisputably and forever proven false - in the petri dish of computers - and it's been shown that we can muster to our collective defense only weak means with limited effectiveness, what are we to do?

We humans are aggressive, powerseeking, selfish animals possessed of an extraordinary degree of cleverness coupled with an equally extraordinary ability to put what empathy we may have on ice. We don't see each other and think - "oh glad, another human !" , instead we, like all territorial animals think "she wants to take my stuff .... and me hers". It's equally true of men and women and of smart people and stupid people and it's 1000% true of people who end up at the top of any competitive heap and have real power in this world. Thus the tale of the historical tape. Barring some genetic breakthrough, none of that is going to change.

So it's not clear to me that countinously scanning the population for the worst of the worst is actually a bad idea. OTOH I hardly trust any of those people I just described or any system they make to do it accurately, dispassionately or honestly.

So bad news abounds.

It's interesting to think how one might accumulate enough internet-activity points to get one's name thrown onto a watchlist or even an active target list by some autonmous "rater agent" which, we can imagine, continuously scans the government's vast warehouses of digital debris for evidence of dangerousness. I'm sure any such system would be appalling in its algorithmic details with respect to due process, actual, relevant evidence not to mention totally bereft good old fashioned scientific skepticism, starting at the very base with things like: "correlation does equal causation..."

With respect to talking about all this, all I see online is bombs being thrown by entrenched camps. Rolf Weber makes a perfectly accurate and valid observation and Dirk Praet tars and feathers him with an accusation of trolling then tells him: "don't come around here no more". Grunt grunt.

And this blog is one of the higher-IQ places for discussion. Is this all we are? Is this the best we can muster? Stone throwing encampments?

Does anyone know where the smart people are hanging out onine talking about what direction society should take in light of, you know, the present and the future facts?


Gerard van VoorenMay 22, 2016 7:22 AM

@ Mr Peabody,

I am not gonna argue about your Rolf Weber arguments.

"And this blog is one of the higher-IQ places for discussion. Is this all we are? Is this the best we can muster? Stone throwing encampments?"

I wished people stop using the "higher-IQ" argument. I think most people here have a 3 digit IQ but that is not what takes people here. It's education what counts. It's always about education because that brings knowledge to lots of people. So please stop that ridiculous IQ argument, together with God.

"Does anyone know where the smart people are hanging out onine talking about what direction society should take in light of, you know, the present and the future facts?"

If you consider yourself a smart person you could figure that out by yourself, don't you? Or do you need a bit of knowledge?

The nature of this blog is that it is open, so you get mixed opinions and because Bruce is a regular poster the amount of information is huge. You can start a blog by your own and manage the moderation. Then you have everything under control. Or you could start or join a cabal.

Mr PeabodyMay 22, 2016 9:13 AM

>>I wished people stop using the "higher-IQ" argument.

Wow did you just impugn to me, from my casual use of the phrase "high IQ" as a shorthand for "forum with intelligent informed discussion", my subscription to those century old, long-ago discredited theories of Binet et.al. which attempt to measure intelligence using standardized testing procedures ? Or with the supremely discredited theories of Murray et. al. in the Bell Curve which were long ago dissected by statiticians as a form of scientific fraud ?

Did that really just happen?

Perhaps you need to lay off that PC crackpipe for a while and get some fresh air.

OK, OK you win. I take back my assertion that this is one of the hgher IQ discussion forums around.

Gerard van VoorenMay 22, 2016 9:27 AM

@ Mr Peabody,

I actually tested you (and you failed btw). The test was about how easy people start to behave like five year olds. You wrote a fair lengthy post about "being civil" but then you start to attack a comment made by a person you don't know. So just admit it, you are human too.

Mr PeabodyMay 22, 2016 1:36 PM

Why, because I expressed contempt for a ridiculous assumption directed at myself ? So defending yourself using a combination of sarcasm and tinged with contempt for the ideational content of the post is off limits now? You've got to be kidding. I thought I was being pretty civl in comparison to what Rolf's detractors were offering up, without criticism.

And that post by me implies (once again) something about my character ?

And that, in turn, implies that my points are invalidated?

Wow.

So you're now making my post *about* something other than the content of my post, which is a *known* diversionary tactic.

Yeah.

Mr. ObviousMay 22, 2016 3:08 PM

I am not the one to usually reply to replies here but have revisited this time.

LCN wrote:

...whose radical belief sets are oddly incongruent and extremely shifting.

I think they tripped up [redacted], and put him on the defensive.

My parsing is lacking because there are so many possibilities to choose from. From a narcissistic point of view it could be close to describing me to some. If whoever made someone think then I would tend to consider it a victory for everyone, but perhaps a Pyrrhic one.

Also thank you for you reply of affirmation as to the importance or lack of. I often wonder if I have just landed on an outlier when no one else says what seems obvious.

CarpetCat:
Very interesting post. Clever. Such are the ways the games can be played on ones own terms. Towards the end is what I took to be a reply and I mostly agree but there is a signal to noise issue and a hidden signal issue.

I like your reference to the idiomatic expression concerning gentlemen and their reading habits but I must protest that any such still do not read others mail or they would not be gentlemen by definition.

Wael:
I think there has to be surprises but not in "SID today" and maybe not in Snowden's trove. What is known so far is too "untidy", unreasonable, and irrational.

I can't shake the feeling that there are far too many sizable incongruences on multiple levels. Too much that is odd and strange no matter what basic perspective or point of view one applies, thus one is left suspecting that important parts are missing even though the surveillance itself seems to be sufficiently described and enumerated ("everything"). I'm not saying there is some sort of excuse, instead I'm saying there is more that is seriously wrong going on here than only the unlimited surveillance and the governmental and political deficiencies, and while I doubt I'll ever know I guess I would at least like to be barking in the right forest :)

WaelMay 23, 2016 7:14 PM

@Mr. Obvious,

I think there has to be surprises...

Depends on the recipients, their convictions and expectations. Nothing would surprise me...

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