[Update] That didn’t take long. Looks like the government is angry about all of this. The leak of the leaks that is. And they are going to try to find the culprit, and prosecute them.
Any “Mea Culpas” from them on the fact that this is … I dunno … illegal? Er … no.
Most transparent admin … evuh???
I read something last week which made me laugh. It read “tomorrow is Thursday, time for a new scandal”. Then the NSA bit broke.
For those who aren’t aware, the NSA is sort of a bigger/more secretive version of the CIA, missioned in a different manner from the CIA. Much more in the way of signal intelligence, large scale analytics. They have a huge pool of data to work with apparently.
In our case, as we are Verizon wireless users, they seem to have been recording calls. And since our email servers are now Gmail …
Dear NSA, since you’ve been able to read our calls and emails, and you know our secrets, and you know how fast our stuff is, why not show us a little love and buy a few thousand siFlash? We’ll give you a good price (and since you already know what it costs us to build, you know that the price will be good …)
Ok, I’ll be a little more serious.
The NSA is charged with a mission, and its an important mission. But last I checked, they weren’t supposed to be looking within the US. Thats not good.
Here in the US, we regularly see probes on our services from overseas. We have lots of reporting and analytics of hack attempts into our publicly exposed units (very few). I am hoping that none of them are NSA. Seriously, if they want access, I’d be happy to work with them to get them passwordless ssh access for testing our boxen (just like we do with everyone else). Indeed, if any of the folks probing our site(s) want that access, just write in the contact page. We’d much rather know whom you are, and figure out a way to help you if possible.
But this isn’t about the NSA. And fundamentally, despite propaganda to the contrary, these folks are NOT evil. They are the good guys, on the virtual wall, helping to keep us safe. Sometimes they are ordered to do bad things. And that is what this is about.
Richard Nixon had an enemies list. He used the instrumentality of the state to persecute his enemies. He resigned the presidency before being impeached, which he would have most assuredly been had he remained in office. This said, he was, despite his profound paranoia, actually a decent president with respect to foreign policy, economics, and other things.
But spying on your political “enemies” or, hell, just everyone, is enough to get you impeached and fired. Impeachment, for those whom are not sure, is a process whose purpose should be to remove someone from power whom is a danger to the nation and all that it stands for. Nixon was a danger.
This NSA scandal comes about after someone tipped off a reporter with documents. The White House claims its hype. The reality appears to be that this may have been leaked to this reporter to offset the firestorm over …
The information leakage from the IRS to left wing political groups, and the retribution from the IRS with audits, and many other elements of the instrumentality of the US government. They targeted “political enemies” of the president. The IRS shared tax returns with left wing groups. The IRS audited enemies of the president. The other elements including the Labor department, and other groups attacked right leaning outspoken people and businesses. Evidence from the staffers initially accused as the “rogue agents” is blowing back up this admin, and pointing fingers on high.
This is an impeachable offense.
The leakage scandal came about after some people and bloggers started putting pieces of information together, coupled with some FOIA data, and some information leaks, which may have been done to offset the firestorm over …
The AP scandal. Turns out that the Attorney General and the justice department went after a “political enemy” of the president’s by invoking a statute which was, at best, an extreme stretch of the imagination. The AG had to shop around for a compliant judge to get approval. Reporters are, finally, up in arms over the trouncing of their rights. Some of the “reporters” on various propaganda mouthpiece channels/organizations are still towing the administration line, but pretty much all the others have finally … finally … had enough.
This AP scandal came about after someone tipped off reporters with some FOIA documents that the government worked very hard to prevent getting out. And these may have been leaked to offset the firestorm over …
The IRS malfeasance was exposed by a planted question, with a specific goal of offsetting the expected firestorm over the forthcoming Inpector general report.
In this malfeasance, the IRS specifically targeted religious, political groups, whom were “political enemies” of the administration. Those who agitated against the administration.
Nixon was almost impeached, and did the honorable thing, and resigned, because of this. This is an impeachable offense, and it appears, as more information has leaked out, that it wasn’t “low level staffers” in one office, but a coordinated nationwide, ongoing malfeasance directed from the top. The 157 visits of the IRS administrator to the white house suggest, I dunno, coordination?
There is an honorable thing to do here, and given this administration’s history, I expect that to be the road untaken.
But others have speculated, and there is at least circumstantial evidence to support the notion that this leak was less about the IG report, which the White House thought they might be able to suppress the impact of, and more about a way to deflect the firestorm over …
The Benghazi incident, where an ambassador and 3 support members were murdered, while the administration told the military to stand down from supporting them, and possibly saving them, or capturing the perps.
Unlike Watergate, where no one died, there are 4 dead personnel here, due to either gross incompetence at best (on the part of the Secretary of State/White House), or criminal negligence at worst.
This is an impeachable offense.
The problem with impeachment, is it really requires our congressional people to behave as representatives of the people, and not as party members. There would need to be a trial in the Senate. As long as the president’s party holds power in the Senate, this won’t happen.
There is a cost to all of this. Supposedly this was to be the “most transparent administration, ever”. Turns out it wasn’t. Rule of law was to be respected. It wasn’t. Information security, and an apolitical bureaucracy was supposed to be in place. It wasn’t.
Right now, all I can do is shake my head and buy these.
But that’s not the cost. The combination of the IRS and their failures, along with a healthcare bill that people don’t want, by a 2 to 1 ratio, that the same IRS that has targeted half the population for painful scrutiny … is to manage? Um … seriously?
The cost is that people no longer trust that our ideals are what we implement. That we believe in freedom. That we believe in liberty. That we believe in the rule of law. That we have an independent media acting as a watchdog on the excesses of a government gone off the rails.
Had we an independent media, and not a propaganda mouthpiece for the current administration, we might have caught some of these sooner. But we have MSNBC, CBS, and other, well, hard left bastions of thought and commentary.
And non-US companies, people, will rightly ask “is my data safe in the US” ?
Very important to ask as our 5th amendment rights are under attack right now.
This is sad. Those of us who voted for the current situation have been had (at best). And if you think this is a good state of affairs …
If we can’t right this ship, the rats, as it were, will start to abandon it. Pick up their marbles, and find a new home.
The US doesn’t need that. We don’t need customers outside the US to ask whether or not we are injecting bad security tech into our units or services ala Huawei (at least this is what we hear from others). We don’t need to lose business because our politicians in power are inept, incompetent, and in desperate need of being fired.
Folks, this is sad. In the US today, I have to show my papers to board a plane. My computers may be searched/confiscated anywhere within a 100 mile radius of the border. My communications may be tapped for any reason. My business/personal life details may be audited and attacked by instrumentality of the government. My personal information may be given to those whom are politically arrayed against me.
Since when did I move to the USSR? Or in this case, USSA?
Very very sad.
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ? Benjamin Franklin