Author Topic: Creeping Cloud By MAUREEN DOWD  (Read 505 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online mystery-ak

  • Owner
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 255,344
Creeping Cloud By MAUREEN DOWD
« on: September 28, 2013, 09:31:01 PM »
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/opinion/sunday/dowd-creeping-cloud.html?hp&pagewanted=print

September 28, 2013
Creeping Cloud
By MAUREEN DOWD

BLUFFDALE, Utah — AT the Husband and Wife lingerie store here in Mormon country — where babies are welcome amid the sex toys and the motto is “Classy, tasteful and comfortable” — no one had heard of it.

At the Allami smoke shop across the street, adjacent to a hypnosis center that can help you stop smoking, they were disturbed by it. Down the road at Quiznos, the young man making subs went on a rant about his insular community’s compliance with the government’s intrusions into Americans’ private lives.

Indeed, this valley of subdivisions, sagebrush and one of the remaining polygamous sects gets more exercised about the letter “c” — there’s a Kapuccino cafe, a Maverik convenience store and a Pikasso print shop — than they do about the National Security Agency’s secretive new $2 billion, one- million-square-foot data death star.

As Mark Reid, Bluffdale’s city manager, told The Times’s Michael Schmidt, the community’s initial excitement about new jobs faded because many of the data analysts are elsewhere. The good jobs, he says, are for security dogs who have a “plush” kennel.

“They don’t interact with anybody, they don’t let anybody come up there,” he said: “It is like they are not there. It is not like they are I.B.M. and they join us for town days and sponsor a booth.”

At a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee in Washington on Thursday, Democratic Senator Mark Udall of Colorado tried to pin down the shadowy and largely unchecked Emperor Alexander, as the N.S.A. head, Gen. Keith Alexander, is known, on whether his agency is indiscriminately Hoovering Americans’ phone records.

“I believe it is in the nation’s best interest to put all the phone records into a lockbox that we could search when the nation needs to do it, yes,” Alexander said.

When Alexander was asked a year ago if the Bluffdale center would hold the data of Americans, he replied no: “We don’t hold data on U.S. citizens,” adding that reports that they would “grab all the e-mails” were “grossly misreported.”

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon told me ruefully that on Thursday, “Alexander put in a lockbox information that he’s told the public he doesn’t have. This is what we’re dealing with.

“They think it’s O.K. to repeatedly say one thing to the public about domestic surveillance and do something completely different in private,” continued Wyden, who pressed Alexander about whether they’re collecting cellphone location information.

The senator is skeptical that the N.S.A. is open to reform, noting, “They’re just putting the same wine in a new bottle.”

Alexander recently wrote his employees’ families to reassure them that any news reports that the agency had overreached —behaving “as more of a rogue element than a national treasure” —were “sensationalized.”

Yet, news broke this past week that the N.S.A. inspector general admitted that there have been a dozen instances of staffers spying on love interests. (The Wall Street Journal said this practice is known as “LOVEINT,” for love intelligence.)

The Bluffdale sinkhole, which has quietly started sucking in mountains of data in the shadow of mountains, is the lockbox. This squat, ugly complex of four buildings is the creepy symbol of the N.S.A.’s remorseless reach deep into our lives. I drove onto the Utah National Guard’s Camp Williams base to see the concrete data cloud up close.

Never mind puny terabytes. Or even exabytes, a handful of which can hold all knowledge from the dawn of man, according to estimates.

James Bamford, the chronicler of the untrammeled powers of the “Puzzle Palace,” as he calls the N.S.A., wrote in Wired that the Utah tower of Babel may be able to store a yottabyte. That is equal to a septillion bytes or about 500 quintillion (500,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.

“It’s basically the N.S.A.’s external hard drive,” Bamford told me, noting that our phone call was no doubt being logged by the Bluffdale computers. “It holds more private information than anyplace else on earth.”

Bamford believes that the N.S.A. has transmogrified from an agency that “watched the Soviet Union to make sure it didn’t blow us up with nuclear weapons,” to one “that keeps collecting and collecting and collecting but doesn’t seem to do us any good.”

“They saw 9/11 and all these other terrorist attacks on CNN. They didn’t have a clue. The more electronic hay they stack on their haystack, the more difficult it is to find the needle.”

Bamford believes that Americans need to get out of their crouch on terrorism and get alarmed that James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, can deceive Congress without even a reprimand from the president.

Still, Bamford and Wyden see signs of hope. “If you had told me six months ago that somebody would come up and ask me about the FISA court at the barbershop,” Wyden said, “I would have said fat chance.”

 

Support the USO

Offline sinkspur

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 28,599
Re: Creeping Cloud By MAUREEN DOWD
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2013, 09:37:55 PM »
Quote
Bamford believes that Americans need to get out of their crouch on terrorism and get alarmed that James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, can deceive Congress without even a reprimand from the president.

Hell, the PRESIDENT can deceive the country and there's not a peep out of anybody.  He can act unconstitutionally, ignoring enforcing laws he doesn't like, and making changes, willy-nilly, to laws that require Congressional action.

I've yet to see any benefit to all this NSA collection of data.  Maybe somebody can show some.
From  "A Shining City on a Hill"

To "A global laughingstock"

Online truth_seeker

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 18,834
  • Common Sense Results Oriented Conservative Veteran
    • The place where argument addicts can go
Re: Creeping Cloud By MAUREEN DOWD
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2013, 10:16:06 PM »
Wonder if a shutdown of "the government" would include NSA?

How about a GOP bill, to trim down and focus this monstrosity?

"Bamford believes that the N.S.A. has transmogrified from an agency that “watched the Soviet Union to make sure it didn’t blow us up with nuclear weapons,” to one “that keeps collecting and collecting and collecting but doesn’t seem to do us any good.”

“They saw 9/11 and all these other terrorist attacks on CNN. They didn’t have a clue. The more electronic hay they stack on their haystack, the more difficult it is to find the needle.”

Bamford believes that Americans need to get out of their crouch on terrorism and get alarmed that James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, can deceive Congress without even a reprimand from the president.

Still, Bamford and Wyden see signs of hope. “If you had told me six months ago that somebody would come up and ask me about the FISA court at the barbershop,” Wyden said, “I would have said fat chance.”

These clowns missed 9/11/2001, missed Hasan, missed Boston and several others.
"God must love the common man, he made so many of them.”

Abe Lincoln

Offline Cincinnatus

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 5,514
Re: Creeping Cloud By MAUREEN DOWD
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2013, 10:18:19 PM »
It is not like they are I.B.M. and they join us for town days and sponsor a booth.

Be thankful they don't, dude. If you saw their faces they would have to kill you.
We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid ~~ Samuel Adams

Offline Oceander

  • Technical
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 47,027
  • Dork
Re: Creeping Cloud By MAUREEN DOWD
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2013, 09:06:25 AM »
Wonder if a shutdown of "the government" would include NSA?

How about a GOP bill, to trim down and focus this monstrosity?

"Bamford believes that the N.S.A. has transmogrified from an agency that “watched the Soviet Union to make sure it didn’t blow us up with nuclear weapons,” to one “that keeps collecting and collecting and collecting but doesn’t seem to do us any good.”

“They saw 9/11 and all these other terrorist attacks on CNN. They didn’t have a clue. The more electronic hay they stack on their haystack, the more difficult it is to find the needle.”

Bamford believes that Americans need to get out of their crouch on terrorism and get alarmed that James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, can deceive Congress without even a reprimand from the president.

Still, Bamford and Wyden see signs of hope. “If you had told me six months ago that somebody would come up and ask me about the FISA court at the barbershop,” Wyden said, “I would have said fat chance.”

These clowns missed 9/11/2001, missed Hasan, missed Boston and several others.

That sounds like a good idea; however, since the majority of republicans in Congress appear to be unable to recognize, let alone conceive of, good ideas - that gets left to the vocal minority of republicans - it's very unlikely to happen.


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf