[cryptome] Re: The NSA snooping.

  • From: "Al Mac Wow" <macwheel99@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <cryptome@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2013 10:56:50 -0500

Leaders of the US security services have been saying that if we want to find
a needle in a haystack, first we need to have the haystack.

Based on recent history, it is evident that statement is misleading.


The 9/11 investigations found that government agencies collectively had
sufficient dots to have averted the disaster, if only:

*       The different agencies had shared with each other, the data they
had.  This sharing had been prohibited by legislation in the wake of Church
Committee, which had found gross violations of civil liberties by the US
security services, by pervasive surveillance of forms which have now been
made legal by the Patriot Act, FISA court legal interpretations, and other
*       Additional related dots might have been helpful.
*       The security services needed quality data management tools to help
cross-index or map potentially related dots.
*       Analysts needed to comprehend the significance of the data, to
connect relevant dots.
*       Political leaders needed to act wisely when delivered actionable
intelligence, instead of letting ideology or partisanship get in the way.


There were also problems of mutual cooperation, and speedy
inter-communications, among government agencies, as the 9/11 attacks and
aftermath unfolded.  Some mid level government workers implemented good
decisions, without awaiting higher level approval, because higher level was
effectively paralyzed.


Reforms after 9/11 were supposed to fix problems found by the
investigations, to help the nation lower risk of similar events in the
future, and to better respond if and when they occurred.


The Boston Marathon investigations, just like the 9/11 investigations, found
that government agencies collectively had sufficient dots to have averted
that disaster, if only similar reasons.  The main difference between 9/11
and Boston, is that collectively the government agencies were drowning in
dots.  Due to secrecy, the public does not know the quality of analysis
tools being used by the security services, but we do see the failure of
different agencies, each having pieces of the haystack, failing to share
dots, so that each agency had small pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, which could
have been combined to map out high risk of danger.  


There's also the problem of ordinary people who witnessed important dots
before the bombing, and they chose to keep them confidential.  Those dots
alone, without the collected haystack, broken down into different agencies
not sharing dots, could have averted the atrocity.


What we have learned, thanks to Ed Snowden leaks, the dots being collected
by NSA will only help if:

1.      Intelligence outside, of the dot collection, locate some possible
enemy outside of the USA.
2.      That suspect communicates with someone inside the USA.
3.      Security service personnel dream up good enough queries of the dots,
and are able to act promptly enough to prevent the attack.


This dot collection does not help with purely home grown challenges, like
the OK City bomber, Sikh Temple, Denver Theater shooting, Sandy Hook School,
etc.  There are other gaps, of potential threats, which this system won't


Alister William Macintyre

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