NSA: We Steal Industry Secrets, But Not for Competitive Advantage

Kudos to Kevin Gosztola, who liberated the propaganda the NSA sent workers home with for Thanksgiving to use with family and friends.

I find 3 of the bullet points particularly interesting (all of which Gosztola also touches on).

NSA: we steal secrets, we just use them differently

NSA does not and will not steal industry secrets in order to give U.S. companies a competitive advantage.

The NSA has uttered various versions of this claim since the Snowden leaks started. But I find this formulation particularly telling. NSA is not denying they steal industry secrets (nor could they, since we know they’ve stolen data from corporations like Petrobras and have stolen secrets from a range of hacking targets).

They’re just denying they steal secrets in order to give US companies a competitive advantage.

Of course, they’re not calculating the advantage that having the world’s most voracious COMINT spy might have for owners of IP. They’re not talking about how intelligence on opposition to US products (like GMO or untested chemicals) translates into industrial advantage. They’re not talking about how spying influences the work of Defense Contractors (who do, of course, also sell on the international market). They’re not talking about how larger financial spying ultimately gives American companies an advantage.

But so long as NSA’s workers can tell their mother-in-law they’re not facilitating US cheating (which they are), it’s all good, I guess.

We don’t demand, we ask nicely

NSA does not and will not demand changes by any vendor to any product, nor does it have any authority to demand such changes.

Again, watch the language carefully. NSA denies it demands changes (presumably meaning to the security of software and hardware producers). It doesn’t deny it sometimes asks for changes. It doesn’t deny it sometimes negotiates unfairly to get those changes. It doesn’t deny it steals data on those changes.

It just doesn’t demand those changes.

We perform exceptionally well if you ignore cybersecurity

NSA performs its mission exceptionally well. We strive to be the best that we can be, because that’s what America requires as part of its defense in a dangerous world.

Signals intelligence improves our knowledge and understanding of terrorist plans and intentions. It is one of the most powerful tools we have to protect our citizens, soldiers, and allies.

Fundamentally, NSA and partner foreign intelligence agencies work together to protect the world’s citizens from a range of threats like terrorism, weapons proliferation, and cyber attacks. Terrorists and weapons proliferators use the same technology many of us do, such as e-mail. That is why the U.S. Government compels providers to provide webmail for these carefully identified threats.

In the original, the first of these two bullets is bolded, on top of the emphasis to exceptionally well.

But note how carefully the document dances around NSA’s failures in cybersecurity? Elsewhere, the document admits its helps DOD with cybersecurity, but says nothing about targeting cyber attackers more generally.

It then pretends it only uses Section 702 for collection directly from Internet providers, ignoring the upstream collection and its focus on cybersecurity targets. It also pretends it only uses Section 702 for counterproliferation and terrorist targets, though ODNI has admitted to targeting cyberattackers under Section 702 before.

No lesser expert than Keith Alexander has equated the cybertheft of American companies to colonial plunder. It is his job to combat those cyberthieves who’ve plundered the country. And yet, he says he has done his job exceptionally well.

I guess that’s why he only wanted to talk about terrorism?

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+0Email to someone

6 Responses to NSA: We Steal Industry Secrets, But Not for Competitive Advantage

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @USPSHelp It has all been found! Thank you!
6mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @GatorZoneBB: #Gators Ranked No. 6 in Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll #ItsGreatUF http://t.co/FU12KqXCw7
3hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @Popehat can you also represent me in suit v ZD30 for facilitating Party's illegal leaks?
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @NickBaumann Any reason to believe she--who bought house in own name-- covert? Even people who were govt has shown great negligence with
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @dnvolz not at all. They've used "torture" for some time.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Glad NYT calling for torture prosecution. Pretty funny to call those who refuse to use T-word blinkered apologists bc NYT just adopted Tword
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Remember Curveball? Turns out torture has a Curveball too. http://t.co/b5LvTDojEX
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Add torture and the Internet dragnet to Bush programs partly justified by a fabricator. http://t.co/b5LvTDojEX
5hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @GreggJLevine: How false witness helped CIA make a case for torture //very excited to welcome @emptywheel to the pages of @AJAM http://t…
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @GreggJLevine: How false witness helped CIA make a case for torture //very excited to welcome @emptywheel to the pages of @AJAM http://t…
5hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Werner was basketball Driskel. RT @gatorhoops: @APMarkLong Werner had Charlie Brown syndrome, a.knack.for making losing plays.
6hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV One of four genetic tests #FBI used on #anthrax samples had 43% false negative rate. Still used it! #Amerithrax https://t.co/3yUk5sKX7n
6hreplyretweetfavorite
December 2013
S M T W T F S
« Nov   Jan »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031