Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Last Call For Spies Like Us

This Jack Devine piece in Politico sums up every problem I have with Team Dudebro Defector:

In his new book, No Place to Hide, Glenn Greenwald tells how Edward Snowden once confided to him, “with a hint of embarrassment,” how much he had learned from playing video games. In the black-and-white world of video games, “the protagonist is often an ordinary person, who finds himself faced with grave injustices from powerful forces and has the choice to flee in fear or to fight for his beliefs,” Greenwald writes.

But Edward Snowden’s video-game world is not the real world. I see Snowden in a very different light. My colleagues and I spent our careers in the CIA looking for people like him—on the other side, that is. We worked hard to locate the kind of person who could be persuaded to give up his country’s secrets: narcissistic, often delusional under-achievers whom we could hope to turn into loose-lipped sources in our enemies’ camps and other hostile locations. We understood just how valuable it was to every aspect of our foreign policy to know the plans and intentions of our enemies; the best way to do this was to look for a source and exploit people like Snowden, the National Security Agency leaker, ­ to target for this purpose.

The Russians weren’t slouches either in searching for sources of classified information. They were looking for their Snowdens too. You don’t have to go back too far to see their success in recruiting American spies with unique access – John Anthony Walker, Aldreich Ames, and Robert Hanssen – who did immense damage to our national security. Moreover, Ames and Hanssen’s compromises led to the death of many of our top Russian sources. Walker’s compromise, by contrast, allowed the Soviets to know the locations of U.S. submarines around the world. One shudders to think what more could have been done against us if they had had Snowden’s access to sensitive communications and his technical know-how on how to extract it from the system. Some people think of Snowden as a latter-day Daniel Ellsberg, a noble whistle-blower. Clearly I do not.

Once again, if your goal was to do as much damage as possible to the intelligence capability of the US, Edward Snowden could not have done a more crushingly thorough job.  The debate over the NSA's role and oversight is something that needs to happen and continues to be ongoing.  But the debate over whether or not the actions taken by Snowden, Greenwald and others caused lasting harm to the country is over, and we lost.

Terrorist group al Qaeda and its offshoots have created new encryption software in the wake of the June 2013 leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, according to a new report from Big Data firm Recorded Future.

While U.S. government officials have contended that its adversaries would respond to revelations on NSA surveillance techniques with counter-measures of their own, there has been little public evidence that’s been the case. This is some of the first tangible evidence that al Qaeda and others may have responded by creating new encryption software.

Since 2007, the main encryption software for al Qaeda was called Asrar al-Mujahideen which means Mujahideen Secrets. Four to six months after the Snowden leaks, three Middle Eastern groups released three significant new tool sets for encryption, against a baseline of basically no new products for seven years, said Christopher Ahlberg, CEO of Recorded Future, which uses large quantities of publicly available online data to predict the timing and targets of future cyberattacks.

Of course, this could be random, but it seems unlikely,” said Mr. Ahlberg, in an email. “Snowden provided the motivation and his leaks highlighted the means.”

So the debate now shifts to cost analysis:  how much damage is the NSA doing with its techniques, versus how much damage has been done by exposing them.  That's the debate we should be having at this point.  Yes, the NSA has violated the public trust, but so did Edward Snowden.  It remains to be seen which will have more long-lasting detrimental effects to our country.

You Say You Want A Revolution

This weekend is apparently FREEDOMPALOOZA Get The Black Guy Operation American Spring, where millions of "patriots" will magically appear in Washington DC in order to drive President Obama (and the GOP leadership!) out of office at gunpoint with their patriotic guns that shoot patriotism, or something.

“We are calling for the removal of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, and Eric Holder as a start toward constitutional restoration,” said retired Army Col. Harry Riley, leader of the Operation American Spring protest group. “They have all abandoned the US Constitution, are unworthy to be retained in a position that calls for servant status.”

Operation American Spring aims to pressure those lawmakers who remain – or are replaced by officials of their own choosing – “to sponsor and pass very Constitutionally crafted State legislation to dissolve the size, powers, scope and spending of the U.S. Government by 2/3rds.”

The activists say they expect 10 million to 30 million like-minded Americans to join them Friday in the nation’s capital for a rally patterned after Occupy Wall Street and “Arab Spring” protests.

They also plan a sister event the same day in Bunkerville, Nevada, where militia groups have gathered to support scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy in his dispute with the federal government.

Organizers also anticipate “incremental nullification” by state legislatures of “all withholding taxes, employment taxes, employer taxes, and income taxes.”

“This will effectively DOUBLE the size of ALL American Middle Class family weekly paychecks and cause our local city and town economies to boom,” the group promises on its Facebook page.

Oh wow, ten to thirty million "patriots" armed to the teeth and ready to cause a second American Revolution!   I'm sure the President will immediately surrender at the sight of 47 guys with AK-47s and the DC police totally won't round up these idiots and chuck them in the drunk tank for a weekend.

Here's the best part:

Or, as a blogger speculated at Before It’s News, the whole operation could be a false flag planted by the Obama administration to launch a civil war.

Keep on truckin', clowns.

Dear America

"The Selfie Administration?  That seems about right.  Obama's teenage clowns aren't ready to run anything, they certainly weren't able to solve the disasters Bush left for them both foreign and domestically and everybody basically hates the uppity bastard.  He certainly doesn't have the gravitas of George W. Bush and his top political adviser, Karl 'Turd Blossom' Rove."

--Bruce McQuain, Hot Air

Bonus Verbatim Stupidity:

It is a pretty fair and devastating summary of an immature, selfie-taking, hashtag loving administration. Intentions speak louder than action in their world. They don’t take criticism well. And they are about as petty as it comes when talking about their opposition. They demand respect for the man in office, but the man in office shows no respect to those whose views differ from him.

He is also given very little if any respect in the world because he’s really done nothing to earn it (and quite a bit to unearn any he had when he took office).

Right, because the party that insisted President Obama was The Kenyan Usurper and regularly portrayed him as an African savage, regularly attacked him as a Communist dictator and traitor to America for doing things other Presidents were happily allowed to do (recess appointments, executive orders, judicial appointments), that tried to repeal Obamacare 50+ times, and when that didn't work, launched yet another pointless Benghazi investigation certainly cannot be classified as petty, thin-skinned, or disrespectful towards the views of those who disagree with them.

Instead, he's just the Affirmative Action president.  The only thing he did to deserve the office was, you know, win an election and then win re-election, but screw him, right?  That's not how we really select presidents or anything.

If Barack Obama really was as awful a person as they project on to him daily, some people would have been shot by now.  That's all I'm saying.


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