Both These Things Cannot Be True

Last Friday, NSA’s Compliance Director John DeLong assured journalists the violations NSA reported in 2012 were “miniscule.” (I noted that the report showed some of the most sensitive violations primarily get found through audits and therefore their discovery depend in part on how many people are auditing.)

Today, as part of a story describing that NSA still doesn’t know what Edward Snowden took from NSA, MSNBC quotes a source saying NSA has stinky audit capabilities.

Another said that the NSA has a poor audit capability, which is frustrating efforts to complete a damage assessment.

(We’ve long known this about NSA’s financial auditing function, and there have long been signs they couldn’t audit data either, but apparently MSNBC’s source agree.)

For the past several months, various Intelligence officials have assured Congress and the public that it keeps US person data very carefully guarded, so only authorized people can access it.

Today, MSNBC reports NSA had (has?) poor data compartmentalization.

NSA had poor data compartmentalization, said the sources, allowing Snowden, who was a system administrator, to roam freely across wide areas.

Again, there have long been signs that non-analysts had untracked access to very sensitive data. Multiple sources agree — and possibly not just non-analysts.

While I’m really sympathetic for the people who are reportedly “overwhelmed” trying to figure out what Snowden took, we’re seeing precisely the same thing we saw with Bradley Manning: that it takes a giant black eye for intelligence agencies to even admit to gaping holes in their security and oversight.

And in NSA’s case, it proves most of their reassurances to be false.

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18 Responses to Both These Things Cannot Be True

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @chinahand Substantially yeah. If Sterling gave Risen the entire story for his 2003 quashed story, how are the 2004-5 convos in MO criminal?
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bmaz @ThePlumLineGS @brianbeutler I do! It has been very good to me. Remember I'm on your side, But @jadler1969 has better shot than you think.
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emptywheel @chinahand But it's prolly also likely if DOJ tries to take more charges w/o forcing reporter testimony.
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bmaz @ThePlumLineGS @brianbeutler Meh, if this thing goes beyond the Chevron analysis, you have lost. And Bagley/Tribe won't save you.
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emptywheel @chinahand Well, IMO it's how they got from 1 or 2 charges to 7 &--importantly--jurisdiction for all in EDVA.
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bmaz @ThePlumLineGS @brianbeutler Post hoc evidence not relevant.
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emptywheel @bmaz I'm sure it is important. Internet records prolly are important. @astepanovich
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bmaz @astepanovich @emptywheel She does view it as "important" though.
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bmaz @ThePlumLineGS @brianbeutler After the fact? If they are arguing that as significant on King? Yes, absolutely.
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bmaz @ThePlumLineGS @brianbeutler Them self servingly arguing that is of no necessary moment. b/c they support "your view" doesn't make "serious"
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bmaz @brianbeutler @ThePlumLineGS You are doing fine, and so is Greg! That is why I read you.
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bmaz RT @OrinKerr: Judge in the Barrett Brown case explains the sentence calculation: http://t.co/UzE0un7gb1
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