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Schneier: Break Up the NSA

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the but-leave-the-door-open-to-a-reunion-tour-in-twenty-years dept.

Privacy 324

New submitter BrianPRabbit writes "Bruce Schneier proposes 'breaking up' the NSA. He suggests assigning the targeted hardware/software surveillance of enemy operations to U.S. Cyber Command. Further, the NSA's surveillance of Americans needs to be scaled back and placed under the control of the FBI. Finally, he says, is 'the deliberate sabotaging of security. The primary example we have of this is the NSA's BULLRUN program, which tries to "insert vulnerabilities into commercial encryption systems, IT systems, networks and endpoint communication devices." This is the worst of the NSA's excesses, because it destroys our trust in the Internet, weakens the security all of us rely on and makes us more vulnerable to attackers worldwide. .... [T]he remainder of the NSA needs to be rebalanced so COMSEC (communications security) has priority over SIGINT (signals intelligence). Instead of working to deliberately weaken security for everyone, the NSA should work to improve security for everyone.'"

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Oh, Hell Yes! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303605)

That is all!

Re:Oh, Hell Yes! (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#46303743)

Well, let's elaborate, shall we. I think the number of possible satisfactory solutions to the NSA problem are infinite. This plan, like every other one that would work all fall on unshakable premise. Congress needs to pass legislation removing previously granted powers(then do something else, apparently, to mollify those who are actually scared of terrorists, in this case move those powers to law enforcement).

This one premise, though, has shown zero chance of happening. Those in congress critical of the NSA's behavior mostly seem interested in using it as an attack chip for the republican party in the next couple elections, and so leaving the power in the executive plays to their needs. The executive, for their part, have either bought, or are willing to attempt to sell, the pragmatism line, and the laws passed by congress say it's legal, so they don't see a need to change anything by fiat.

Re:Oh, Hell Yes! (5, Funny)

Hentai (165906) | about 7 months ago | (#46303785)

> This one premise, though, has shown zero chance of happening. Those in congress critical of the NSA's behavior mostly seem interested in using it as an attack chip for the republican party in the next couple elections, and so leaving the power in the executive plays to their needs.

I would support Beta 100% if they gave me the ability to moderate posts "+1 Depressing".

Re:Oh, Hell Yes! (3, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#46304125)

Congress needs to pass legislation removing previously granted powers(then do something else, apparently, to mollify those who are actually scared of terrorists, in this case move those powers to law enforcement).

So to use your terms, Congress needs to pass something to mollify the people scared of NSA?

Re:Oh, Hell Yes! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#46304177)

... I think you've forgotten your schtick. You're the one who's supposed to be like "national security is super important dog". Let's start again:

Well, let's elaborate, shall we...

The you come in and say "But the NSA needs to do this because anyone else wouldn't be able to widely classify and hide their behavior"

Oh, Hell NO! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303803)

DO NOT break up the NSA. Do away with it and replace it with nothing. The CIA too.

For those of you treasonous traitors that like to yell "national security" to cover up for your crimes, consider this: Before the CIA and NSA were founded, the US was 8-0 in war. Since those organizations were founded, the US is 0-5 in war.

You treasonous traitors that like the NSA and CIA (I'm looking at you cold fjord) are the national security risks.

Mmmm... fun... (3, Insightful)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about 7 months ago | (#46304135)

I just love the thought of the FSB, Mossad, MI5, and just about every other foreign intelligence network on Earth (and those are merely the legal ones) running rampant throughout our country and society without the CIA to check them. Gosh, that'd be so much fun to just lower our guard and take punches! Oh hey, maybe those other nations would be so friendly towards us once we dismantled our intelligence apparatus that they'd willingly leave us alone! And forswear corporate espionage to boot! Dismantle the NSA, yes. Spread it out amongst the other agencies, yes. But don't disarm us completely. The CIA has screwed up a lot, so has the FBI--but they're still good ideas to have in place. We as a society have to reassume the responsibility, and the maturity of overseeing the operations of those two agencies on an appropriate basis.

Re:Oh, Hell NO! (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 7 months ago | (#46304163)

Wow... a 100% win rate to a 100% loss rate, eh? That's pretty extreme, and extreme claims raise a nice big red flag that you're cherry-picking examples to consider "war", and probably also "victory" and "defeat" criteria are malleable, too.

Let's look at some third-party information [wikipedia.org] . Wikipedia's certainly contestable, but it's good enough for a general idea. Prior to 1950, The United States had a mix of victory and defeat, with the World Wars as clear outliers in the extreme victory area. After the 1947 founding of the CIA and the 1952 founding of the NSA, we've also have a mix of victory and defeat, just without the major outliers.

I'm terribly sorry to let facts get in the way of your rhetoric, but it seems to me that reality's just a bit more complicated than you think.

Re:Oh, Hell NO! (2, Insightful)

deadweight (681827) | about 7 months ago | (#46304257)

From 1776 to 1945: AFAIK we were all wins except the War of 1812, which was just a giant clusterfuck. We only won after the buzzer, so the shot doesn't really count. The other side didn't really win either, so all in all a waste of resources. 1946 - present. Korea was tie. Everything else was along the lines of win or get bored and go home. No one can stand toe-to-toe with the USA and win an all-out war. What they CAN do is just make sure they start with a third world dump that can hardly be made worse by more fighting and just not quit. We'll get bored and leave sooner or later ;)

Re:Oh, Hell NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304195)

DO NOT break up the NSA. Do away with it and replace it with nothing. The CIA too.

For those of you treasonous traitors that like to yell "national security" to cover up for your crimes, consider this: Before the CIA and NSA were founded, the US was 8-0 in war. Since those organizations were founded, the US is 0-5 in war.

You treasonous traitors that like the NSA and CIA (I'm looking at you cold fjord) are the national security risks.

8-0 eh?

Wasn't aware the CIA and NSA were founded before the Civil War.

There are no real winners in war. Particularly that fucking one.

And I'm not sure that an 0-5 record would put is in any better position or light than if our standing was 27-0, standing high as the Supreme Unbeatable Asshole of the Universe, with everyone painting a target on your back. Intelligence gathering can avoid conflict too when properly used.

Re:Oh, Hell NO! (2)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 7 months ago | (#46304203)

Nice job calling out a specific person while you're too cowardly to post under your name.

People who support our government aren't "treasonous traitors" no matter what the voices in your head tell you.

Re:Oh, Hell Yes! (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 7 months ago | (#46303913)

But think of how awkward it would be when the N runs into S or A at the spy conventions. They'd reminisce about the old times of spying on millions of Americans. They'd probably laugh about some guy on deviantart drawing naked women and crying while masturbating. Then N would be like "So, you guys want to get out of here" and the A would be like "N, look, we can't. S and I have a good thing going, you're just too crazy for us, lets just be friends," and N would be like "Sure yeah, no you're right, it's cool." But it won't be cool. N will finish his drink and then leave, all three of them will feel bad. A and S will go home and start getting intimate, but S won't be able to get it up, thinking about how bad N must feel.

You really want to do that to N, S, and A?

Re:Oh, Hell Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304113)

LOL

Re:Oh, Hell Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304173)

But think of how awkward it would be when the N runs into S or A at the spy conventions. They'd reminisce about the old times of spying on millions of Americans. They'd probably laugh about some guy on deviantart drawing naked women and crying while masturbating. Then N would be like "So, you guys want to get out of here" and the A would be like "N, look, we can't. S and I have a good thing going, you're just too crazy for us, lets just be friends," and N would be like "Sure yeah, no you're right, it's cool." But it won't be cool. N will finish his drink and then leave, all three of them will feel bad. A and S will go home and start getting intimate, but S won't be able to get it up, thinking about how bad N must feel.

You really want to do that to N, S, and A?

Think of the trauma this will cause children when the letters A, N, and S can no longer appear together on Sesame Street.

Re:Oh, Hell Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304145)

The NSA must be completely dismantled and its operations not handed over to any other government department or public/private organisation. The NSA has proven itself and the governmental oversight (cough, cough) to be ineffectual and an abomination to freedom and privacy much less presumed innocence. A dozen hell-fire missiles impacting all NSA facilities in the only solution.

Bruce Schneier Fact (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303617)

Bruce Schneier can break the NSA

since when is the FBI a spy agency? (4, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 7 months ago | (#46303623)

the FBI is a federal police force, not a spy agency that collects intelligence

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303641)

What about the CIA?

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (4, Informative)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#46303691)

"By law, the CIA is specifically prohibited from collecting foreign intelligence concerning the domestic activities of US citizens. Its mission is to collect information related to foreign intelligence and foreign counterintelligence. By direction of the president in Executive Order 12333 of 1981 and in accordance with procedures approved by the Attorney General, the CIA is restricted in the collection of intelligence information directed against US citizens. Collection is allowed only for an authorized intelligence purpose; for example, if there is a reason to believe that an individual is involved in espionage or international terrorist activities. The CIA's procedures require senior approval for any such collection that is allowed, and, depending on the collection technique employed, the sanction of the Director of National Intelligence and Attorney General may be required. These restrictions on the CIA have been in effect since the 1970s."

Of course, that's from the CIA's website, so it's exactly what they want you to think...

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303773)

The key phrase in that statement is "US citizens." There are plenty of non-US citizens that are fair game.

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#46304009)

"senior approval for any such collection that is allowed"

Can the officials with that authority just grant a blanket power to monitor everyone, and make that order secret? If so (And the scale of the monitoring show it must be so) then that protection isn't worth much.

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#46303737)

CIA is foreign intelligence only. They may engage in some signals intelligence, but it isn't their primary responsibility.

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#46303659)

That's exactly why. Any surveillance of Americans should only be done if it pertains to a police matter (e.g. investigation).

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (2)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | about 7 months ago | (#46303731)

Which is exactly how it's organized. The NSA is spying on overseas comms. When it links to a date/time placed/received call stateside, they hand that information to the FBI, and say, "This phone number in the US is talking to some very bad people overseas." The FBI then starts the investigation.

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (2)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#46304081)

That is how it is supposed to be organized, but the current perception (true or false) is that this is not what is actually occurring.

Part of this comes from historical issues of agencies not wanting to work together or share data, esp when a particular case or subject crosses back and forth between foreign and domestic, so the perception is that the NSA, rather then handing the domestic pieces over to the FBI, continues to work with the data under the umbrella target... so organizing based off the origin or focus of the case rather then the nationality of individuals within it.

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (2, Insightful)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | about 7 months ago | (#46304279)

I understand your point. Only problem then becomes, "OK now what?" Following your scenario, let's say they start tracking you stateside, after you've made an international call to known or suspected threats overseas. Their systems aren't set up to intercept your calls. It's metadata only. So, they collect reams and reams of your phone calls to mom, the store, work, co-workers, and one or two known threats. Now what? They don't have jurisdiction to go to a FISA court, and a judge would laugh them out of the room with, "We know he made 100 phone calls to Abdullah Muhammad," for probable cause for anything. Now, if we're talking about CIA and FBI, then you have a great point. Domestic spies would be handled by the CIA and FBI, where information sharing becomes an issue. However, NSA is not domestic, and to be honest, doesn't care what Americans are doing stateside. Now, an American flies to Syria for "spiritual training," and you've crossed into their domain of interest.

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 7 months ago | (#46304275)

You mean that's how it *should* happen.

Because what actually happens is nothing near that.

Maybe you missed the memo (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303677)

FBI dropped "law enforcement" as one of their primary duties not long ago. They consider themselves a national security organ now:

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/01/05/fbi_drops_law_enforcement_as_primary_mission

Re:Maybe you missed the memo (0, Offtopic)

Immerman (2627577) | about 7 months ago | (#46303795)

Well then, I suppose they've got the "organ" part right at least...

Re:Maybe you missed the memo (4, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#46303805)

They added it back.

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303687)

It's called surveillance.

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303727)

the FBI is a federal police force, not a spy agency that collects intelligence

When Bruce suggests a "scaling back", he's not implying that the FBI become an intelligence-gathering agency. He's suggesting that intelligence-gathering exercises be scaled back to mirror more of what the FBI already does today with federal criminal investigations within normal legal (due) process instead of mass intel gathering of its citizens (as if there isn't enough commercial entities doing this already)

I know that the suggestion of using something that mirrors more of what common sense would dictate sounds fucking insane, but hey every now and then we should probably side with common sense to avoid the human race being sucked down the Darwinian drain.

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (4, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#46303729)

the FBI is a federal police force, not a spy agency that collects intelligence

The FBI's current mission statement:

Our Mission [fbi.gov]

As an intelligence-driven and a threat-focused national security organization with both intelligence and law enforcement responsibilities, the mission of the FBI is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners.

You might want to follow the link and read the rest.

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (1)

MondoGordo (2277808) | about 7 months ago | (#46304045)

Since they removed law enforcement from their fact sheet https://www.techdirt.com/artic... [techdirt.com]

Re:since when is the FBI a spy agency? (1)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#46304055)

Police forces collect intelligence as part of their police duties. Things like wire taps and stake outs would fall under that category.

any notion of justice is based entirely on mercy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303631)

takes out the contempt & violence features. hope to not be judged as harshly as we must administer?

Re:any notion of justice is based entirely on merc (3, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | about 7 months ago | (#46303833)

Not really. Modern justice is one of those concepts that came about as a way to stop the cycles of violence fed by vigilante justice. As such it needs to be violent and ugly enough to sate the victim's desire for revenge well enough that they don't feel the need to take things into their own hands. At the extreme, why do you suppose executions are so brutal? We know perfectly well how to kill people completely painlessly - a gas chamber filled with pure nitrogen will knock somebody unconscious in under a minute, usually without them ever noticing anything is wrong (we're not wired to detect oxygen deprivation), and they'll be dead a few minutes later. But somebody dieing peacefully in their sleep doesn't provide any catharsis for the victims. So we use techniques that induce plenty of twitching and whimpering to sate our bloodthirsty consciences.

Re:any notion of justice is based entirely on merc (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#46304033)

Another good example is the political unpopularity of rehabilitation programs for prisoners. They may help to prevent repeat offending, but they also insult people's sense of justice. They want to see the criminals made to suffer - doing anything to help them just feels wrong.

Re:any notion of justice is based entirely on merc (2)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#46304107)

Which is really sad since the concept of rehabilitation was really pioneered by American groups, but then the people who helped start the movement were generally voted out of office in favor of 'make them suffer' candidates. So now other countries have learned from what we were doing AND observed the negative impact of moving away from that model and thus produced systems that, from an actual 'reducing crime' perspective are much more effective but which have less emotional satisfaction to them.

Which of course becomes a vicious cycle since an ineffective justice system results in more crime, which means more political pressure to make things worse from victims and scared people.

Tomorrow's News (4, Funny)

Talderas (1212466) | about 7 months ago | (#46303633)

Security expert Bruce Schneier was found dead in his home. The cause of death is unknown but police are investigating possible foul play.

Re:Tomorrow's News (5, Funny)

TheCarp (96830) | about 7 months ago | (#46303661)

bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs unpersons rewrite fullwise

Re:Tomorrow's News (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#46303671)

News Update: The police, in conjunction with several federal agencies, has determined the official cause of death to be a weather balloon. And swamp gas.

Re:Tomorrow's News (4, Funny)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 7 months ago | (#46303705)

Security expert Bruce Schneier was found dead in his home. The cause of death is unknown but police are investigating possible foul play.

The cause of death has been revealed. Schneier died from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. Investigators have ruled his death a suicide.

Re:Tomorrow's News (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 7 months ago | (#46303981)

Is everyone that scared of the NSA?

If they try that, they will stir up such a hornet's nest they will wish Congress had reined them in hard and early. I fully expect there will be mass dismissals and murder trials of NSA agents, and if there aren't, popular unrest and revenge killings. There would likely be revenge killings in any case, as was the case with Ruby Ridge. That's just the sort of thing that would confirm the worst fears of all the conspiracy nuts and angry, gun-toting, anti-government paranoid citizens the US has everywhere.

Re:Tomorrow's News (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#46303747)

Security expert Bruce Schneier was found dead in his home. The cause of death is unknown but police are investigating possible foul play.

That is a screenplay, not news.

Re:Tomorrow's News (2, Insightful)

CRC'99 (96526) | about 7 months ago | (#46303783)

Security expert Bruce Schneier was found dead in his home. The cause of death is unknown but police are investigating possible foul play.

Thats too much work... They just need to pay some young girl a few grand to say she was raped by him. Oldest trick in the book....

Government agencies are like cockroaches... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303637)

... once you have them, you can never get rid of them.

NSA is doing fine (0)

mozumder (178398) | about 7 months ago | (#46303645)

Remember, all the disclosures show that they're filtering communications data from American citizens.

Why would the NSA keep a top-secret program to filter out communications from Americans, if they weren't interested in privacy rights?

(And it's perfectly fine for the NSA to wiretap foreigners, because fuck-em.)

Really, the only people complaining about the NSA are whiny libertarians, such as all the 12-year olds that infest this site. They just whine all the time because they are not intelligent people.

No need to break them up. Just make sure they're following the laws, which as the disclosures indicate, they are.

Re: NSA is doing fine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303725)

Good job. We need more sheep like you, citizen. Keep it up.

RE: NSA is doing fine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304087)

> Just make sure they're following the laws, which as the disclosures indicate, they are.

The disclosures indicate that they are NOT following the law. Searches REQUIRE a warrant, per the 4th amendment, and before you say that the Patriot Act changed that, you are going to need to show me where 2/3 of the states ratified the Patriot Act. The NSA surveillance of American Citizens without a warrant obtained by providing probable cause is unconstitutional and should never have been allowed.

> the only people complaining about the NSA are whiny libertarians, such as all the 12-year olds that infest this site ...and the only people who are supporting the NSA surveillance programs are communists...welcome to the U.S.S.A.

Giving the FBI NSA's duties is a BAD idea. (5, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 7 months ago | (#46303651)

It would encourage the use of espionage/security methods in criminal cases.

That is, I think it would be more likely to corrupt the FBI than to clean up the NSA's investigation of Americans.

The real problem is priorities more than anything else.

The events of September 11th panicked us Americans, and we decided to overspend and over-allow security.

We need to realize that the number of terrorism related attacks are relatively SMALL and to cut funding for all things that invade our privacy - starting with the TSA.

When you limit their funds, they spend their money wisely on clear and present dangers.

When you give them unlimited funding, as we have been doing, they spend it on any wild-ass crazy possibility, which means they investigate people and cases that are clearly and obviously not terrorism related.

Inconceivable (3, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 7 months ago | (#46303717)

> That is, I think it would be more likely to corrupt the FBI than to clean up the NSA's investigation of
> Americans.

Corrupt the FBI? The FBI are as incorruptible as the proverbial satan. We are talking about the people who have so precious little to really do that they go around creating criminals to arrest. These are the people who go after little shit online troublemakers and find mentally unstable people who they can shove a bomb in the hands of.

Corrupt them?

Re:Giving the FBI NSA's duties is a BAD idea. (1, Troll)

alen (225700) | about 7 months ago | (#46303849)

lots of terror attacks in the 80's
in the 90's we had the WTC bombing, the USS Cole and the embassy bombings. hundreds dead
2001 we had 9/11 and after that nothing

so you figure the new security and intel collection stopped at least a few attacks, which now means since there were no attacks all this is a waste of money

Re:Giving the FBI NSA's duties is a BAD idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303967)

The logic of "We changed X and since we did, we haven't had an attack! Therefore, it's because we changed X." is absolutely abysmal. Correlation is not causation. For instance, we now secure cockpit doors and passengers are willing to fight back.

But you seem to naively trust the government. Why?

Re:Giving the FBI NSA's duties is a BAD idea. (3, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 7 months ago | (#46304083)

You are engagned in wishfull thinking. We have had just about as many attacks in the 2000's and 2010's as in the 80's and 90's. In particular US embass's have been under multiple terrorist attacks in 20001 - Nairobi, Ben Gahzi, etc. Not to mention the Boston Massacre, shoe bomber, the attack on the Sikh Temple, and the multiple ricin letter attacks - all against civilians for political purposes.

Worse, you have a twisted idea of what a terrorist attack is. USS Cole bombing was not a terrorist attack. It was an act of war. If a country (Sundanese Government officially liable for the attack, as per US judge) attacks a soldier, that is an act of war. If you attack civilians for political purposes, that is an act of terrorism. It doesn't matter if you use a bomb - or if you use a suicide attack. Soldiers are armed and are supposed to be capable of defending themselves (assuming some idiot did not give stupid rules of engagement). Civilians are usually unarmed and usually not capable of defending themselves - which is why attacking civilians is a far worse thing (i.e. a crime called terrorism) than attacking soldiers - which is a bad thing, but only an act of war, not of terrorism.

Re:Giving the FBI NSA's duties is a BAD idea. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304103)

lots of terror attacks in the 80's
in the 90's we had the WTC bombing, the USS Cole and the embassy bombings. hundreds dead
2001 we had 9/11 and after that nothing

so you figure the new security and intel collection stopped at least a few attacks, which now means since there were no attacks all this is a waste of money

So I guess the Boston Marathon thing didn't happen ?

Re: (1)

bigpat (158134) | about 7 months ago | (#46303903)

I think the point is that giving anyone (including the NSA) the NSA's current "duties" is a bad idea, but if the government still needs to spy on particular communications within the US as part of a criminal investigation, then it should be done using the government's police powers under a constitutionally valid warrant.

Only if there was an ongoing shooting war (not periodic acts of terrorism) should the government be using its war fighting authority to monitor domestic communications, which is essentially what it is doing now long after 9-11 and where we have been fighting wars overseas and not on US soil.

The fact that people in government cling to emergency powers long after the emergency is nothing new or novel in history. It just needs to be stopped no matter what label or acronym you put on the agency doing it.

Re: (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46303973)

Only if there was an ongoing shooting war (not periodic acts of terrorism) should the government be using its war fighting authority to monitor domestic communications

But only if they have a warrant. Can't spy on innocent people.

Re:Giving the FBI NSA's duties is a BAD idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304065)

The events of September 11th panicked us Americans, and we decided to overspend and over-allow security.

Us Americans? For a moment, yes. Perhaps a few hours. And then many of us snapped out of it, and saw what was coming by way of the Government and military deployment. I'm talking a day here, not months or years! A good many Americans know their history, and know exactly what happens when shockingly tragic events happen to the foundations of a country. It does a disservice to those who spoke out against the impending and clear over-reaction by the US Government and it's many parts. We are not like the others, so please do not label us among the sheep who were reactionary and easily manipulated. We voiced our opposition then, just like we voice it now.

That said, you are right. Giving the FBI ANYTHING by way of more power is a bad idea. That Shneier is suggesting this, says to me he hasn't been reading some of the recent Civil Rights violations they've committed, or rampant fascist tactics they've employed. Shneier knows security. I don't doubt that. Leave domestic policy concerning Federal Judicial enforcement to the constitutional scholars. There should be a find line here between domestic and International law. Giving the FBI any more leeway will only make things worse.

Re:Giving the FBI NSA's duties is a BAD idea. (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46304181)

A good many Americans know their history, and know exactly what happens when shockingly tragic events happen to the foundations of a country.

An elite few Americans, you mean.

Re:Giving the FBI NSA's duties is a BAD idea. (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 7 months ago | (#46304223)

"That is, I think it would be more likely to corrupt the FBI than to clean up the NSA's investigation of Americans.

The FBI has been marvelously corrupt on its own. There have been articles discussing "off the record" the competition between the FBI and the NSA about who could collect more data on US citizens. The FBI has escaped being put under the microscope so far, but they have plenty of data access that the general public is not aware of. Hence the change in scope and terminology on their charter. Make it security and the protections of citizens under US law don't matter any longer.

Master Control Program: Sure..... (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 7 months ago | (#46303699)

I'm sure they are happy to break up into as many parts as you think they need.
I'm sure they are happy to keep people as misdirected as possible.
I'm sure they are happy to be closed down 100% no one at this address not more... /business as usual behind the curtain.

Tron is dead..
Master Control Program: End of line!

Author doesn't understand the NSA (4, Insightful)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | about 7 months ago | (#46303711)

This is akin to a guy who has flown on an aircraft thinking he knows how to run an airline. "The NSA should hand off to the FBI spying on Americans." They do. NSA does not investigate domestic nor Americans unless specifically given a court order to do so (which is less than 60 Americans in the entire US as of December 2013). If the NSA stumbles upon metadata that links an American, or domestic entity tied to overseas terrorism (which is what they're lookin for), they hand off the metadata (phone number called, date/time stamp of call) and say to the FBI, "Whoever this is, is talking to terrorists overseas." Then the FBI runs with it.

CyberCommand, a command I'm very familiar with as prior-Air Force, doesn't have a reason to take over what the NSA does. The author of this article really doesn't know what he's talking about.

Re:Author doesn't understand the NSA (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 7 months ago | (#46303765)

What about the Americans arrested by local police based on intelligence provided by NSA, where parallel construction was subsequently used to hide the fact that ubiquitous surveillance is what got them caught?

Re:Author doesn't understand the NSA (4, Interesting)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 7 months ago | (#46303847)

What are you even saying? The whole thing about parallel construction is not that evidence is invented. It's that if you actually committed a crime, then a lot of other evidence which can be reasonably discovered probably exists and its easy to find it - i.e. "this guy probably killed someone and buried him in the woods along the highway, we know from an inadmissable wiretap" - but that means there's still actually a body, and once discovered that is admissable evidence.

You can't be prosecuted from inadmissable evidence, but hohoho, you're also not as good at crime as you think. The alternative to completely eliminating parallel construction and surveillance exchange is a situation where NSA analysts happen across evidence of a crime (like the above example) and then can notify no one at all. Is that really an improvement?

Re:Author doesn't understand the NSA (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304053)

Why do we pretend to have rights or laws if there is a class of people that they don't apply to? That's really what parallel construction means, because the NSA analyst, in this case, is clearly above the law, or being asked to defend his decisions.

We could just get rid of rights and laws, go back to the law of the jungle, and be done with it.

The problem people have with parallel construction is that it's pretty clear that it's over the line. At best extralegal, but pretty clearly illegal. You are denying people the right to examine all of your evidence to construct a fair trial.

But parallel construction crosses the line. It means that the Government is effectively allowed to do whatever they want, regardless of the law.

Why do we pretend to have rights or laws if there is a class of people that they don't apply to?

Re:Author doesn't understand the NSA (3, Interesting)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | about 7 months ago | (#46304197)

What initiates the process is your act of calling internationally, and correllating to a known or suspected threat. 99.999% of us will never "accidentally" call anyone the NSA is interested in. Have you made a call and accidentally gotten the German president? Also, there are literally millions of calls. The only thing that gets an analyst looking at your specific call is multiple calls. You'd have to call President Joachim Gauck [wikipedia.org] quite a few times in my ficiticous scenario. The very same thing would happen with the DEA if you called a drug dealer the next street over. "Roving wiretaps," is the term for what would catch you. "Opps, wrong number" and you're not very likely to get a surprise visit at home. Call 5-10 times asking, "for the suff," and you might come home to guests.

Also, in this specific case I believe you're trying to make, the NSA surveillence tip isn't admissible in court. If you've read an intel document, a large number state at the very beginning in no uncertain terms, "This information is not to be used in a court of law or for any judicial purposes." (I'm paraphrasing). It's on the FBI to investigate, find probable cause, get a prosecutor to agree, find a judge to agree, and then charge you. Whether it's the NSA seeing your metadata linking your phone call to a Taliban bomb-making expert in Syria, or a NYPD officer seeing, as he performs a walking patrol, large tubs of liquid in your car's backseat, leading to multiple triggers and a remote receiver, while parked at a shopping mall during Christmas season, is there really a difference? No. Before you say, "Well my car is in a public place," remember your international call crosses the same legal threshold. If you absolutely want to be unspied upon while calling your TB bombmaker by the NSA, then fly him stateside so it's a domestic phone call. This assumes the guy isn't already on a no-fly and being monitored, so good luck. Back on point, governments watch other governments. Part of this is agencies with specific missions.

The NSA is in charge of monitoring overseas communications. They are within the Legislative Branch's oversight and follow federal laws on what they can look for, how they look, etc. If you don't want to know what threats are overseas, then write your Senator and Representatives. As you draft that email, keep in mind thousands were saved during WWII by the fact we broke German encyption. 9/11 was missed because there was no system at the time to catch the two Al Quida operatives in San Diego who were calling their AQ handler overseas, and there was no process for the NSA to tip the FBI that there's two phone numbers in the US who are calling a known bomb maker overseas. If you think it's bad to catch this, mail the letter (or hit "Send" on the E-mail, "Submit" on the website submission).

Re:Author doesn't understand the NSA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303927)

This is akin to a guy who has flown on an aircraft thinking he knows how to run an airline. "The NSA should hand off to the FBI spying on Americans." They do. NSA does not investigate domestic nor Americans unless specifically given a court order to do so (which is less than 60 Americans in the entire US as of December 2013). If the NSA stumbles upon metadata that links an American, or domestic entity tied to overseas terrorism (which is what they're lookin for), they hand off the metadata (phone number called, date/time stamp of call) and say to the FBI, "Whoever this is, is talking to terrorists overseas." Then the FBI runs with it.

CyberCommand, a command I'm very familiar with as prior-Air Force, doesn't have a reason to take over what the NSA does. The author of this article really doesn't know what he's talking about.

Except this isn't what the NSA is doing, They are spying on US Citizens you say only 80 Americans have been spied on does that include the 16,000 Secret warrants, which we have no idea what they have been used for because its classified, Yes the FBI dose the NSA's fieldwork but its not that simple and not all data gets handed over, most goes to homeland security where it gets actioned, the problem is the way the data is being collected you say well its "metadata" From 20 years in retail IT support, Metadata is very conclusive and far, far more dangerous than you realize. Also the covert data collection tools that have been deployed have been warrantless, from tapping trunk cables to incepting wireless communications without any cause or warrant its just done for "data collection" and then we get to weakening encryption, this was a knee jerk response to an unknown threat, and was most likely implemented with nothing at all to do with "catching terrorists", from most of the data released most of the terror cells have been using "book cyphers" (Eg, Page 221 Line 15 Word 8 of where's waldo) its low tech, its secure and easy to deploy and conceal perfect for covert operations.

Re:Author doesn't understand the NSA (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46304059)

Except this isn't what the NSA is doing, They are spying on US Citizens you say only 80 Americans have been spied on does that include the 16,000 Secret warrants, which we have no idea what they have been used for because its classified..

I challenge you then to produce 16,000 victims of improper evidence gathering by the NSA... Problem for this argument is that there are exactly ZERO people who have been charged from such warrants or convicted of crimes due to the existence of such evidence. Not to mention that the granting of a warrant means the Judge agreed there was sufficient reason to conduct the search which, by definition, makes the gathering of it legal.

So, go get a true case of somebody who was charged and convicted based on classified evidence collected by the NSA under one of these warrants... I'm guessing you won't find anybody. In fact, I'm guessing you will only find cases where the charges where supported by unclassified evidence, where the classified part wasn't necessary to secure a conviction. There will be lots of bluster about not having access to this classified evidence, but no cases where classified evidence was actually used.

Re:Author doesn't understand the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304265)

Problem for this argument is that there are exactly ZERO people who have been charged from such warrants or convicted of crimes due to the existence of such evidence.

And the problem with this argument is that parallel construction is used precisely so there is ZERO evidence of this happening. You cannot put on a blindfold and then rationally claim that something did not happen just because you did not see it.

Re:Author doesn't understand the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303945)

The current situation of the NSA just collecting all this data like it was the same as foreign sigint where they just collect it all and sort it out later just doesn't jive with the US Constitution. It would be like soldiers coming back from Afghanistan, joining the police force and then going on a house to house search without a warrant. The point of having a robust overseas defense is so we can live in freedom here. NSA is shitting in their own bed.

Re:Author doesn't understand the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303965)

Does the NSA delete the metadata it collects once it knows for sure it belongs to US citizens that are not subject to one of those specific court order? If it's collected, stored then analysed by computer programs, then it's investigated whether humans read the data or not.

To Cybercom? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 7 months ago | (#46303715)

CYBERCOM and NSA have the same director, so...

Maybe he meant to add (haven't read TFA, obvs) that CYBERCOM should have its director as well.

What good are freedoms? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303759)

Seriously, what good are freedoms when you're dead? Do any of the 3000 people killed on 9/11 have any freedoms today? What happens to your freedoms when a terrorist blows up the plane you're on?

Can we seriously not tolerate some innocuous, invisible surveillance that has ZERO EFFECT ON OUR LIVES if it helps our government carry out its constitutional duty to provide for the national defense?

Can anyone name a single person who was arrested for a non-terrorism related charge based on NSA counter-terrorism surveillance?

Re:What good are freedoms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303983)

Maybe when this was all just one big nod and a wink secret. But now that we are aware of a complete violation of the US constitution, you can't put that genie back in the bottle and live in ignorant bliss.

This is akin to finding out that your wife is poisoning your meals. It might have tasted great when you didn't know any better, but now do you just keep eating whatever she puts in front of you?

Re:What good are freedoms? (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#46303993)

You have to understand that many people posting and moderating here don't care about your life at all. They literally don't care how many of their fellow citizens are killed by any means as long as it doesn't affect them and they think it makes them more free. You can decide for yourself as to the reasons why that is. Some possibilities are unsound philosophy, ahistorical views (including of the Founders), narcissism, fatuous legal views, distorted thinking, uncritical acceptance of claims of oppression or deprivation of civil rights, or others. One of my favorites is when they try to claim that "America is supposed to be the land of the free and brave" and therefore Americans should "bravely" die by massacres or bombs in shopping malls for our "freedom." Haven't massacres of your civil population in any war been one of the tests of your personal liberty? The more massacres of your countrymen the freer you are?

Another thing to keep in mind that people from all over the world both post and moderate. There are many of them that don't care what happens to Americans, including death by the thousands, as long as they think a particular policy or event either weakens the US or limits the ability of the US to conduct intelligence or military operations. The US population is more or less evenly split about Snowden, but he is wildly popular in various overseas countries - including ones that have been victimized by his leaks. Of course what they often fail to reflect on is the fact that the US is a partner with many countries around the world and helps to protect them by sharing intelligence information. There are terrorists in jail in Europe now because of intelligence gathered by the US. Of course some of them do know that but would accept the trade-off of a lot more dead Europeans (or country X) as long as it meant a weaker US.

Dollars to donuts this ends up at -1.... for our freedom .... because part of freedom is that we all have to believe the same thing or be moderated down.

Re:What good are freedoms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304027)

Talking to yourself again?

Re:What good are freedoms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304043)

And what good is life if you are not free?

And there hasn't been a police state in history that has remained "innocuous" for very long. As it stands now US Citizens are getting assassinated overseas by presidential order based in large part on signals intelligence. If you buy into the idea that this is a war and these are combatants and the battlefield is the US, then there is no other reason to not do the same on US soil. What about the next president and the one after that? And the one after that? Are they going to be so deliberative and selective about who they decide to kill? Or are they just going to use all this information the good old fashioned way in order to control people? And forget the "elected" leaders... Mid-level bureaucrats usually long outlast the leaders and don't get the cushy university appointments and honorarium that keep the wealthy leaders "honest".

Re:What good are freedoms? (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46304079)

Seriously, what good are freedoms when you're dead?

Yeah, so I guess the army that people worship so much should stop 'fighting for our freedom.' Why do you even live in "the land of the free" if you don't even understand that freedom is more important than security?

If you die while being free, at least you weren't a coward.

Can we seriously not tolerate some innocuous, invisible surveillance that has ZERO EFFECT ON OUR LIVES if it helps our government carry out its constitutional duty to provide for the national defense?

No, intelligent people will not tolerate government thugs spying on their communications and violating their rights, the constitution, and privacy.

What you advocate for is the ability of government to be able to do as it pleases. The hundreds of millions dead throughout history thanks to governments disproves your fantasy view that the people in the government are perfect angels.

And since when do you care about the constitution? Clearly, you don't. You're an unprincipled piece of trash.

sell NSA (1)

vrhino (2987119) | about 7 months ago | (#46303769)

The US federal government should sell NSA, piece by piece. Interested bidders might be Google, Amazon, Microsoft, China, Russia, Switzerland, Israel, Comcast, Verizon, Cisco, MIT, Harvard, Stanford, the Vatican, New Jersey, Texas, Qatar, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the US Senate...

Re:sell NSA (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 7 months ago | (#46303937)

I don't know what the floating-point performance of their computers is, but some of the scientific computing community would probably appreciate it if Fort Meade was auctioned off. Or, for that matter, [bit|lite|doge]coin miners.

Re:sell NSA (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46304077)

The US federal government should sell NSA, piece by piece. Interested bidders might be Google, Amazon, Microsoft, China, Russia, Switzerland, Israel, Comcast, Verizon, Cisco, MIT, Harvard, Stanford, the Vatican, New Jersey, Texas, Qatar, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the US Senate...

You foolishly assume Google, Amazon, Microsoft et. all don't already have better collection systems and are interested in what the NSA has to sell..

Plus.. Remember that the Senate cannot buy anything without the house giving them the money.

Re:sell NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304253)

Nah, Google already has all that info.

A good idea, potentially.... (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 7 months ago | (#46303787)

I like it, assuming that their funding and capabilities get scaled way back. Splitting it into separate arms of the FBI and military could assign actual reasons and purpose to their operations; as opposed to one independent data-addicted behemoth whose sole mission is to hork down all the information it can get it's paws on, regardless of cost or actual usefulness to security. Too bad this is extremely unlikely to happen.

shoot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303791)

I thought it said break up the USA

Re:shoot (1)

Stumbles (602007) | about 7 months ago | (#46304115)

Your confusing that with the Obama promise of transformation... oh wait, never mind.

Net effect - zero. (1)

Stumbles (602007) | about 7 months ago | (#46303811)

Breaking up the NSA is pointless when warrant-less actions are allowed.

NSA not tactical, not COMSEC (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 7 months ago | (#46303853)

He suggests assigning the targeted hardware/software surveillance of enemy operations... [T]he remainder of the NSA needs to be rebalanced so COMSEC (communications security) has priority over SIGINT

Schneier's proposals make no sense. NSA's charter is to collect and analyze electronic communications worldwide. They're not a tactical operation nor are they responsible for COMSEC.

The most likely three way split (1)

TomRC (231027) | about 7 months ago | (#46303879)

Most likely, the NSA would be split along the lines of their three core missions:

- Spy on and sabotage information systems of enemies of the United States to disrupt their operations.
- Spy on and sabotage information systems of friendly foreign nations to maintain and enhance US hegemony.
- Spy on and sabotage information systems of US citizens, to chill free speech that might threaten the NSA with budget cuts.

Then the first could be downsized as not an essential contributor to their primary goal of maintaining the power of the NSA.
Use the freed resources to step up the last, as obviously they've gotten too lax there and it is starting to threaten the primary goal.

NSA Walks a Fine Line (3, Insightful)

organgtool (966989) | about 7 months ago | (#46303895)

The NSA does not necessarily want you to be insecure. As a matter of fact, I have downloaded documents from their web site with tips on how to configure my OSes to be more secure (and I don't recall any of the tips requiring me to install any additional software, which definitely would have raised a red flag). It is in the best interest of the NSA that the computers that protect sensitive data in all public and private sectors be secure from outside threats. With that said, it is also in the NSA's interest to be able to access as much data from these same machines as they can possibly gather. Therefore, they walk a tight line where it's best when everyone's security is loose enough that the NSA can get in, but tight enough to keep less sophisticated groups out. Based on systems such as BULLRUN, it seems that the NSA has become more concerned with gaining access for themselves over encouraging tight security.

Re:NSA Walks a Fine Line (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304049)

They walk a tight line where it's best when everyone's security is loose enough that the NSA can get in, but tight enough to keep less sophisticated groups out.

Russians have very talented mathematicians. If the NSA can enter so can Russia. Thanks the NSA for making industrial spying easier for Russians.

intelligence vs law enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46303899)

Part of the problem is that the FBI & DHS have a sort of dual role. On the one hand, they're a law enforcement, with a need for evidence chain of custody, constitutional restrictions, and the need to be able to "prove a case" in a court of law.

On the other hand, they're more an intelligence agency, where fuzzy data goes to analysts who can proactively identify threats that can be mitigated. For this kind of application, you don't worry about evidence rules, and the going-in assumption is that the data has inaccuracies.

The problem comes up when data collected for the latter winds up being used for the former. what might be (barely) acceptable from a constitutional standpoint in an "intelligence gathering" situation is totally unacceptable as search and seizure for criminal prosecution.

It used to be that intelligence agencies NEVER shared their data with law enforcement, but post 9/11 (especially) the quite palpable fear that another attack was imminent led to a "lets do everything we can to prevent it" sort of modus operandi. And therein lay the problem.
And that's how we get bizarre "parallel construction" kinds of things.. find out something in an extralegal way, and that cues you on what evidence you need to collect by legal means. Which I think is skating pretty close to, if not over, the edge of constitutionality.

I've worked with people on all sides of this issue over the years, and the vast majority of them are working with best intentions. The surveillance folks are genuinely concerned with propriety, constitutionality, etc, but there are these forces pushing them close to and over the line. Nobody wants to see another 3000 people die spectacularly, because of something they did not do, that they were capable of doing.

And there's also the whole technologist problem that has existed for centuries. People get caught up in their rapidly increasing ability to do things, and don't always stop to think that the question is not "can we do X?", but "should we do X?" That's a non-trivial problem to solve. The atomic bomb development is a fine example. A lot of the scientists and engineers were morally conflicted about their work and set aside their concerns during the war, but had serious misgivings afterwards, particularly during the cold war era. The rapidly improving technology for communications intercept, storage, and searching is in the same area, but without the convenience of a world war to frame their thoughts.

WRONG! Make the NSA SHARE its data. (1)

crovira (10242) | about 7 months ago | (#46304025)

That it stupid, short sighed and unworkable. You can't un-see goat.se.

Instead, make them SHARE and just learn what you can.

We will have different uses for the data, but its just data, that WE unknowingly paid for.

The last time that happened we got Google Maps. The time before we got the internet.

Physically? (1)

x0 (32926) | about 7 months ago | (#46304051)

Can we do so physically? With big bulldozers?

Killdozer may still be in a evidence locker somewhere, maybe we can rent out time on it. I know more than a few guys that would love to drive big construction equipment for fun.

Heck we may even be able to recoup some of our national debt. You know, do our part to support Hope and Change!

m

May I suggest the perfect solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304109)

The perfect solution: Implement NSA Beta. Then they will find themselves unable to do jack shit, and our privacy rights will be safe from them. Problem solved!

hmm (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 7 months ago | (#46304131)

Instead of working to deliberately weaken security for everyone, the NSA should work to improve security for everyone.

The common (arguably flawed) rebuttal to this is that "everyone" includes "people who want to do us harm". That is to say if the NSA were to succeed in making security stronger for "everyone" it would have made security stronger for the bad guys too, potentially allowing the existence of secure communication channels that would empower the "bad guys" to do more harm than they would be able to otherwise.

We tried this with AT&T already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46304213)

In the early 1980's AT&T was broken up into little pieces but the separate parts eventually merged back together again to reform AT&T.

It's like that shape-shifting liquid-metal T-1000 Terminator.

oh sure, that's exactly what we need. (1)

StealthHunter (597677) | about 7 months ago | (#46304243)

more fragmentation in the government. Taxes will go up and there will be more agencies with various NSA-like powers.

the fbi is no more secure than the nsa tho (1)

strstr (539330) | about 7 months ago | (#46304273)

FBI utilizes all the same surveillance tools as the NSA. They hack phones remotely, using the microphone even when the phone is powered off. They use the NSA to access digital communications from all sources from the past. The FBI has SIGINT of its own, including satellites for tracking heart rate, breathe, human movement and brainwaves from space.

Links to all this:

http://www.washingtonsblog.com... [washingtonsblog.com]
http://www.washingtonsblog.com... [washingtonsblog.com]

FBI Tim Clemente says they utilize both foreign and domestic tools to access all digital communications, anything from the past, and that no communication is secure, and everything is saved.

Look up FBIs COINTELPRO, the FBI is fucking nuts and doesn't care about our rights any more than the NSA.

http://www.oregonstatehospital... [oregonstatehospital.net]

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