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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Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV RT @GainesvilleSun: Driving practice ends with 5 injured people, 3 crashed cars http://t.co/P6BkQ3ke2Y
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bmaz @bradheath Maybe. Maybe who they are collaborating with?
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bmaz How Harry Reid Changed the Federal Courts http://t.co/7wuS91krzy A good read from @JeffreyToobin Though I DO wish Reid+Obama started in 2009
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bmaz @HanniFakhoury Hey Fresno, Fakhoury is dangerous!!
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bmaz @Popehat You gotta admit, that was a brilliant plan by Berghdal to "just walk to another facility" in the middle of the night.
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bmaz RT @dcbigjohn: Reid became leader in large part due to his legislative acumen and deal making. Schumer, not so much. testament to changes i…
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bmaz From Waldorf to Hampton Inn: Inside elaborate, surprisingly unglam world of presidential hotels https://t.co/0wj5283LZf via @yahoopolitics
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emptywheel @JohnWonderlich Right. Bc GOP Chairs have had IGs in to complain abt not getting access -- what? 7 times?
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emptywheel RT @saftergood: CIA: "FOIA practitioners looking for an opportunity to serve their country are encouraged to apply." http://t.co/0QN1m88wVZ
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emptywheel RT @JohnWonderlich: bizarre that the WH is defending years of State Department IG vacancy -- "vibrant" office.
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emptywheel @Steve_U_DS Except those were targeted, at least ostensibly, at AQAP. Here they're targeting AQAP's internal adversary.
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