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Underfunded NSA Suffers Brownouts

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the war-on-terror-doesn't-include-juice dept.

The Almighty Buck 198

An anonymous reader writes "Almost ten years after the an internal report, and a year after a Baltimore sun story warned that the electrical system at the fort Meade NSA HQ couldn't keep up with the growing electricity demand ... the problem has got worse. The 'NSA has had to resort to partial, rolling brownouts at its computer farms and scheduled power outages and some offices are experiencing significant power disruptions'. NSA director Alexander testified to congress about this problem. It is suggested he wanted to add more than $800 million to the 07 budget. A recent public powerpoint presentation suggested 70% of of all intelligence spending goes to contractors. It also included a graph, without numbers, of this spending. It suggests that US intelligence spending is around $60 billion. An internal survey that showed NSA employees have problems trusting each other."

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Underfunded NSA Suffers Brownouts... (0)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628795)

Br...

Brownouts? What the hell..

Re: Underfunded NSA Suffers Brownouts... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19628857)

Yeah, a "brown-out". Or, as I call it, takin' a dump.

Brown! Out!

Re: Underfunded NSA Suffers Brownouts... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629479)

"El fuego se está acabando, !no eches más leña al fuego que se está acabando la leña!"

It's to put more oil to the C.I.A.
The President George Bush doesn't want the C.I.A. now.

Intelligent men!
Is it the "end of the C.I.A."?
Or is it the "end of papers" generated by the C.I.A.?

brownout="many hours to stay employed"

In Soviet Venezuela ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629545)

NSA brownouts you.

NSA = CIA = FBI.

National Security Agency = Center Intelligence Agency = Federal Bureau Investigation.

They are the same federal agency with different names.

It means no money to pay to the 3 agencies.

One is better than three!!! Why to pay x3? That stupid!!!

Re: Underfunded NSA Suffers Brownouts... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19628869)

brownout=undervoltage

Not that problematic for computers anymore, because modern switching power supplies will simply draw more current to compensate (but if overload is the cause of the brownout, that only makes things worse). Brownouts used to kill harddisks when the spindle-motor didn't get enough juice and slowed down, causing the air cushion under the read-write-head to collapse: headcrash.

Oh boo-hoo... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19628961)

So the NSA doesn't have enough electricity to illegally spy on my phone conversations and e-mail correspondence?

Cry me a fucking river.

Re:Oh boo-hoo... (2, Informative)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629185)

My thoughts exactly, from the moment I saw the headline.

Re:Oh boo-hoo... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629393)

> So the NSA doesn't have enough electricity to illegally spy on my phone conversations and e-mail correspondence?
>
> Cry me a fucking river.

The depressing part is that when I was a larval-stage nerd, working for NSA was the coolest job imaginable. H4x04 teh Russkies' b0x3n, and defend our citizens' b0x3n against the l33t3st h4x0rz and m4th3m4t1c1unz of teh KGB. All the while trying not to spy on Americans more than absolutely necessary.

Today, not so much. If all you wanna do is spy on Americans, you might as well work for fuckin' Google.

Re: Underfunded NSA Suffers Brownouts... (1)

palewook (1101845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629463)

poor NSA. perhaps if they focused on covering their jobs, rather than attempting to data mine all of the domestic usa data, they would have more then enough available power and certainly more free machines. truly a case of the chimp being too stupid or too greedy to let go of the fruit in his fist, while his hand is stuck in the tree trunk.

Re: Underfunded NSA Suffers Brownouts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629465)

Yeah, why would a bunch of Firefly fans attack the NSA? They can't all have sisters being shaped into psychic assassins.

Oh, brown-OUTs. Lack of electricity.

Were there code monkeys? Some terrifying code monkeys got loose perhaps?

Re: Underfunded NSA Suffers Brownouts... (3, Insightful)

bbagnall (608125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629473)

The problem isn't that it's underfunded. The problem is that it is a government agency. All government agencies grow all out of proportion to their usefulness and they are incredibly inefficient. Solution: Get rid of it or drastically downsize like 80%.

No shit.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19628803)

If paranoia is part of the job description, not trusting the coworkers is kinda expected, isn't it?

Re:No shit.... (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628841)

It's a bureaucracy. Any large bureaucracy, where one cannot make direct causal relationships between events and is subject to faceless administrators, breeds paranoia and mistrust.

Re:No shit.... (5, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628965)

I don't think it's quite paranoia, more of a problem of dividing evryone into "goodguys" and "badguys". Once you start treating the very citizen you are suppoed to protect like "badguys" you stop trusting anyone.

."What we need is fundamental change in the way we manage NSA and what we expect of management and ourselves," concluded the study, which was led by George "Dennis" Bartko, the NSA's deputy chief of cryptanalysis.


Yeah we need a serious change, like admitting that all this cloak and dagger, sorry that is classified, need to know, bullshit is the cause of most of the terrorist problems we have today. Drop the secrecy, and disassemble these above-the-law organizations. Dealing with policy in the open is the only way to keep it honest. When the government is dishonest with the nation about policy you do not have democracy, you have "democracy theater"

Mod Parent Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629131)

"I know not what course others make take, but as for me: give me Liberty, or give me death." -
    -- Patrick Henry

If we fear death so much that we are willing to tolerate such "security" then Liberty dies. Our personal deaths are inevitable, let's keep Liberty alive for our progeny.

Re:No shit.... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629183)

Yeah. Let's start with keys for military frequencies. Publish them on the internet. Then we'll move on to nuclear launch codes. Everyone should have a set of those. Alternately, they could get rid of the codes entirely and just hook all the nukes up to a big red button.

Re:No shit.... (3, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629475)

Sure we could publish the launch codes, because we don't really need more than about 10 nukes anyway. Get rid of all the rest. Nukes are zero deterrent in modern urban warfare. The sole continued purpose is to prevent the use of nukes against us by another nation. What nation in the world would not be decimated by losing their 10 most populous cities? Every nuke beyond that is just a terrorist target or accident waiting to happen. It's easier to keep 10 locations physically secure than 50 or 100 locations, if anyone ever actually gets to the button, why would a fucking code stop them?

As for the military frequencies, why would the military need to be conducting secret operation on it own citizens? Sure you don't want kids with walkie-talkies being able to talk to fighter pilots while thay are training, but there should be not a single classified military action taking place outside of a declared warzone. Our US Special Forces have no business going to influence a internal conflict in another country. Ever. If it's that fucking important who wins the foriegn internal conflict, then it is worth declaring publicly. Honesty really is the best policy.

Re:No shit.... (3, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629645)

I'm sorry, did you just seriously suggest that the military shouldn't have secure comms?

Your level of ignorance is astounding.

Re:No shit.... (1)

Urusai (865560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629793)

The police shouldn't. But increasingly they do.

Re:No shit.... (1)

49152 (690909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629823)

You need to train those reading skills better. He did not say any such thing.

Your level of brainwashing is astounding ;-)

Re:No shit.... (3, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19630363)

No. I said the Military has no need of secret operations outside of a declared warzone.

But why shouldn't I have the military equivilent of a police radio monitor? I grew up in Virginia Beach next to the largest Navy base on the East Coast, why shouldn't I know when flight manuvers will be practiced over my neighborhood? or that will an amphibious assault training exercise at 4am on the beach at the base? or that there was and accident on one of the ships? or anything else going on in a peacetime military? If they are the might behind the Democratic will of the people, why can't the people know what they are doing? Unless of course they are doing something that the average citizen would find to be abhorrent, like:

"Sophisticated military technology was illegally transferred from a major U.S. company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to South Africa and Chile and, from there, on to Iraq. The Iraqi-born designer of a chemical weapons plant in Libya set up shop in Florida, producing and then shipping to Iraq chemical weapon components. The CIA, the FBI and other federal agencies were made aware of the operation and did nothing to prevent it. "During the 1980s and into the '90s, senior officials of both the Reagan and Bush administrations encouraged the privatization of foreign policy, certainly towards Iran and Iraq. http://www.jonathanpollard.org/iraq.htm [jonathanpollard.org]

Re:No shit.... (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629957)

Intriguing thoughts on the nukes, much akin to "Why should I carry all these baskets? My eggs will all fit in this one." Suppose China would like to nuke us, but we've got these 10 nukes pointed at their vitals. Is anything so secure that you'd bet against saboteurs or terrorists being able to infiltrate 10 known locations? And suppose that they were only able to knock out 5. Think the most populous country in the world couldn't bounce back from five nukes? Hey, what about an alliance? Something like Germany, Italy, and Japan. Now we're down to three nukes each, and if they can kill 5 of them, we're down to less than 2 each. By your idea, modern Hitler wins big.

10 baskets (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19630235)

Yeah what about an alliance? Of the five Nuke armed countries, I think the UK and France would likely side with us, but the arguement is moot. If we launched 5 nukes and they launched 5 nukes, no one would "bounce back". That's why it's call "mutually assured distruction". Germany,Italy and Japan don't have any nukes. Except of course the ones we put there on our military bases. As for saboteurs or terrorists infiltrating a known location: they would not disable them, they would detonate them. Suddenly having fewer vulnerable points becomes a good thing. And if we can't keep 10 nukes in our own country secure, we probably shouldn't have any. Armed incompetence is fatal.

Re:No shit.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19630259)

Funny, the only Hitler-esque leader in a country that can deliver these days is Bush. China and Russia have the potential, but that's about it.

Re:No shit.... (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629381)

No, the cause of global terrorism (as we call it) is way more complex than the US Gub fucking with its citizens. We've been sticking our dick into the mideast for a century now - you suppose that might cause some problems? The people that live there can't mount an offensive, so they do what they can, which is blow up shopping malls and airplanes. It's really hard to blame them for attacking us once you get the historical context (although we still have to defend ourselves and, perhaps, GTFO of their business).

It is NSA organization policy to lie. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629503)

MOD PARENT UP!!

"Yeah we need a serious change, like admitting that all this cloak and dagger, sorry that is classified, need to know, bullshit is the cause of most of the terrorist problems we have today. Drop the secrecy, and disassemble these above-the-law organizations. Dealing with policy in the open is the only way to keep it honest. When the government is dishonest with the nation about policy you do not have democracy, you have 'democracy theater' "

Few people have as good an understanding of U.S. government corruption as you. The violence of the U.S. government is dictated by people like Bush [futurepower.org] using the government to make money [krysstal.com] . That can only happen if there is secrecy.

NOTHING the NSA says can be trusted. It is NSA organization policy to lie to get what they want.

Also, no one should think they know the names of all the secret, but taxpayer-funded, organizations. "NSA" is just a public relations term, to try to get you to think you know what is happening.

If you are a U.S. citizen, you are paying to be mistreated.

Tag plz (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628807)

can we get a 'haha' tag added?

Huge penis failure (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19628839)

In your pants! [goatse.cz]

They spent it already? (4, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628811)

Ah well, better get the printing presses running again.

 

Re:They spent it already? (4, Insightful)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628951)

It sounds like the problem is a misallocation of funding, not underfunding.

If you can power X equipment, then why bother to purchase X+Y equipment before you purchase more power capacity first?

Having more equipment than you can power is a symptom of spending too much on equipment and not enough on power capacity. It says nothing about whether your total budget is too low or too high.

Wait, I forgot, we're talking about a government agency. They just assume that any money they mismanage can just be used as justification for an additional funding demand the following year.

Must be nice to be able to get more money because you totally screwed up spending the last round of funding. Too bad it's us giving them the money.

Re:They spent it already? (2, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629467)

Their planning begins years ahead of time, often working on systems three generations beyond the ones that they're currently installing. Problems with designs can push power usage for a given system much higher than planned, and it can take time to get the power systems in place. NSA is a naturally paranoid agency; they take all of their information sources and know that someone else is looking at exactly those to analyze them, so they don't want anyone to know exactly how much power they're using because that may provide a clue as to the computing capacity that they have. A sudden increase in power draw from local utilities may be seen and passed on to potential enemies, as might the construction of a new, on-site plant, whose capacity may be figured out by an experienced engineer.

While the NSA certainly has undertaken problematic programs here and there, they still do a lot of SIGINT against other nations, keeping tabs on what's happening. Russia, China, North Korea, Sudan, Iran, Venezuela, and even Israel, as well as groups like Hezbollah, are certainly constant targets of intercepts because of past or current untrustworthiness. Knowing what's happening around the world is still their primary goal, and where the majority of their efforts are located.

Doesn't matter. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629587)

Their planning begins years ahead of time, often working on systems three generations beyond the ones that they're currently installing. Problems with designs can push power usage for a given system much higher than planned, and it can take time to get the power systems in place.

That doesn't matter. They're supposed to have some VERY smart people on staff there. For some reason they cannot plan for possible errors?

NSA is a naturally paranoid agency; they take all of their information sources and know that someone else is looking at exactly those to analyze them, so they don't want anyone to know exactly how much power they're using because that may provide a clue as to the computing capacity that they have.

A better approach would be to use TOO MUCH power so that the "enemy" thinks that you're doing more work than you are.

I have to fight to get the power requirements and AC over engineered where I work. And that's at a company that has to show a profit.

Why have they failed to do so?

Re:Doesn't matter. (4, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629757)

They're supposed to have some VERY smart people on staff there.

Except they're working for Google now. It's a big problem that a lot of IT outfits are running into. ;)

Re:They spent it already? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629799)

Maybe they could make up for it by cutting their illegal domestic spying activities somewhat.

A better solution (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629099)

Just outsource it to Google!

Re:They spent it already? (0)

zonker (1158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19630243)

You know I'd probably care more about them being underfunded if I actually believed they were using their computer farms for finding terrorists rather than spying on American citizens.

Toilet seats (5, Funny)

gravos (912628) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628813)

I think they may have bought one too many $40,000 toilet seats. But this is a serious issue: These brownouts are affecting their ability to spy on us! Something must be done immediately or innocent men may go free.

Re:Toilet seats (3, Interesting)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628867)

Regarding NSA and "underfunding" - a really crucial point us conspiracy nuts (i.e., informed and educated Americans who've taken - and passed - probability math) like to bring up:

Immediately after the 9/11/01 attacks, the then-NSA directer, General Hayden (now CIA director), went before the US Congress requesting emergency funds. What were the top two expenditures of said funds? (This is public domain information and easily verifiable.)

(1) More security guards, and

(2) Hiring more polygraph examiners (that's lie detector experts, folks).

Does that really sound like they were involved in some sort of "war on terror" or that political house-cleaning was the order of the day.....

Re:Toilet seats (4, Informative)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629489)

Polygraph Examiners spend the great majority of their time giving polygraphs to people applying for security clearances. Since 9/11 the backlog on security clearances has skyrocketed as people got paranoid and started slapping "SECRET" and "TOP SECRET" labels on previously unclass projects. Also, many contractors saw the writing on the wall and pushed harder for all of their employees to get cleared so they wouldn't be out of the loop on new project opportunities.

The security guards should have been obvious since all federal buildings stepped up their security after 9/11. There were tons of entrances that suddenly got a real live guard 24/7 where they used to have just a apeaker you would buzz in with after hours. There were also lots of parking lot entrances that got new guard shacks. The "cleaning house" theory doesn't seem the most likely explanation to me.

Re:Toilet seats (5, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628935)

I think they may have bought one too many $40,000 toilet seats.

Regarding government overspending:

1. If it was a zero G toilet seen and the production run was for a handful of space shuttles and a space station then $40,000 is probably a pretty good price. I suspect this is the source of the $40,000 urban legend.

2. For "commodity" items you can not compare necessarily a military part with a commercial part even when they come off of the same production line, ie. we are not comparing a mil spec part, a radiation hardened CPU for example. Military parts often go through additional testing and this can greatly increase the costs due to a loss of economies of scale. In the field, when a military part is pulled from the box there is an expectation that it will work. In the consumer world it is often cheaper for a manufacture to replace defective parts than to test them. Expecting the customer to return to the store for an exchange is considered acceptable. Alternatively the acceptance standards may be higher. For example no dead pixels being allowed on a flat panel. This requires additional costs with respecting to screening a large batch and cherry picking individual items.

3. I guess there is also the ever popular urban myth that they pad the price of some items in the public budget to hide spending on secret projects. ;-)

Re:Toilet seats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629461)

3. I guess there is also the ever popular urban myth that they pad the price of some items in the public budget to hide spending on secret projects. ;-)
That's actually not a myth as such. All of the money spent in a fiscal year has to be accounted for in the public budget somehow, otherwise the descrepancy between money actually spent and money publicly accounted for kinda gives away your secret budget.

Re:Toilet seats (5, Informative)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629613)

First, the sum trumpeted by Sen. Grassley in 1983 for the "toilet seat" was $640, not $40,000. Second, it was not a seat but a shroud for the toilet assembly, made corrosion-resistant because it was designed for Navy airplanes that are used near salt water -- in other words, it was a complete airplane bathroom enclosure. Not a bad price.

Oh, and the actual seat was included.

rj

Re:Toilet seats (5, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629953)

First, the sum trumpeted by Sen. Grassley in 1983 for the "toilet seat" was $640, not $40,000.
And of course, $640 ought to be enough for any toilet seat!

Re:Toilet seats + overhead (1)

circusboy (580130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19630095)

usually in a government contract there is the cost price of an individual object in a project, and the cost of the fully completed project with overhead. government rules require a certain amount of itemization, and there are 2 ways to spread the overhead costs around. proportionally; so that each piece of the final product gets a percentage of the overhead cost, and flat rate; where a single percentage is applied to overhead costs, and spread equally across all pieces. the latter process is usually cheaper, but results in line items that at first glance look completely absurd.

(overhead generally means things like labor and assembly costs. so for a bomber, there are only so many separable components, like toilet seats, and a phenomenal amount of overhead. $40k overhead for a fuselage, not a big deal... $40k for a toilet seat and 'wtf?')

I'm glad (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19628845)

Nowhere do I like the idea of ineffective government more than when it comes to the NSA.

Almost forgot to add (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19628887)

...with the exception of the DEA.

Re:I'm glad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629891)

Heh, so you like the idea that the Columbian drug organizations or mafia (is there any left?) has the upper hand listening your snitch calls and poisoning your children? What about the case of not being able to communicate effectively at the field or detect the intention of a missile lauch before execution? The last one could actually prevent another war. The NSA surely exists long after the current administration. Then again, I consider maximum effectivity as a moral obligation of any organization (not that of an individual).

if only.. (1)

jimbug (1119529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628871)

If only they used energy efficient lightbulbs from walmart...

Re:if only.. (1)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629199)

They're just tapping the wrong wires. They should be tapping their surveillance target's power lines, too. Save them the problem of coming up with the extra power, and keeps the budget low, too.

NSA still using 12AX7 valves? (2, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629219)

Thermionic valves used for digital processing are run at low power. It makes them last longer and they don't need a winde analogue power range with digital data. That is essential otherwise the big digital thermionic valve computers would never have worked.

Maybe the NSA should try upgrading to transistorized computers now. A BC107 uses much less power than a 12AX7...

Priorities (1, Insightful)

ktappe (747125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628875)

But don't forget, the current administration really does want to stop terrorism. Yes indeedy. They make sure that all agencies, such as the NSA, that represent our front line on terrorism information gathering, are fully funded and have plenty of Arabic translators [iht.com] . Not.

I wonder (5, Interesting)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628879)

I wonder how much of these problems are really due to lack of funding and how much are just tactics to yank an even bigger chunk of money from the guys in Washington. After all, the problems that they describe should only exist if the person in charge purposedly screwed up the budget.

politics and budgets (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628987)

I wonder how much of these problems are really due to lack of funding and how much are just tactics to yank an even bigger chunk of money from the guys in Washington.

Yep. This is a problem that Congress could never verify, and it's a great way for the NSA to get a cool billion dollars when (at the moment) the NSA is extremely unpopular in front of a Democrat-kind-of-controlled Congress.

I also *really* fail to see how a project like this could cost a billion dollars. Copper may be very expensive, and they may have to get electricians with clearances, but...yeesh, a billion dollars? Gimme a break.

Re:I wonder (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629211)

I wonder how much of these problems are really due to lack of funding and how much are just tactics to yank an even bigger chunk of money from the guys in Washington.
The problem isn't so much a current lack of funding as it was a lack of planning.

If you RTFA, you'd know that these energy infrastructure problems are due to a complete lack of planning by the various Directors of the NSA over the last 9 years.

Now of course, they're going to need a lot more money to resolve the situation than if they had planned for it 10 years ago.

Re:I wonder (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629685)

"Body of Secrets", by James Bamford, is a great book about the NSA.

http://www.randomhouse.com/features/bamford/home.h tml [randomhouse.com]

Well worth reading by anyone interested in knowing about the origins, goals, methods and funding of the NSA.

Re:I wonder (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629725)

After all, the problems that they describe should only exist if the person in charge purposedly screwed up the budget.
Or if they were guilty of poor planning. It's not as if the Federal bureaucracy has a stellar record in these things.

All I can say is this.. (2, Interesting)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628881)

Good.

I hope they have more of these problems. They've proven themselves to be a complete waste of money, remember that whole terrorist thing on September 11th? $50 billion/year wasted on these bloated government agencies, abolish them now. And despite having all the resources in the world at their disposal they still managed to screw up the intelligence on Iraq. I am not impressed.

I'm sure the CIA/NSA/DIA/DOA/etc all have very clever tic-tac-toe competitions against supercomputers and think up very some very ingenious brain busting puzzles that make people go, "ooooooh!" But they can and should do that on their own time.

Re:All I can say is this.. (1)

g0dsp33d (849253) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628947)

While I don't necessarily think they have the greatest track record, I must point out that they had more responsibilities than just 3 buildings and a few planes on one day. Also because of their secretive nature, it makes it somewhat harder to determine when they successfully stopped attacks. There is certainly room for improvement, but they still serve a purpose.

Re:All I can say is this.. (4, Funny)

rm999 (775449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629297)

The opposing argument is that September 11th happened because agencies like the NSA were underfunded at the time.

September 11th happened because US is in bed with (-1, Flamebait)

melted (227442) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629559)

September 11th happened because US is in bed with Israel. And also because of over-funding of CIA. Who do you think created all those villains that now cost hundreds of billions of dollars to find and/or remove from power?

Oh yeah, I forgot to say. (3, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628891)

This is why "the singularity" ain't going to happen.

 

Re:Oh yeah, I forgot to say. (1)

Chris Daniel (807289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629831)

I suggest you do some reading on this "singularity" -- it doesn't depend on government efficiency, or even one country for that matter. It's inevitable, sir; no superpower is going to evit it with a few wasted billions.

Re:Oh yeah, I forgot to say. (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19630257)

I did and you're wrong. It depends on electricity, and on air conditioning, the ability to move heat. On power stations and natural resources.

In the real world, nothing increases exponentially forever. While there are potentially huge gains to be made from computing in the future, it isn't going to continue exponentially indefinitely. It will hit a limit and slow down, then eventually level off in a plateau.

No singularity. It isn't going to happen.

 

Way to edit, guys! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19628895)

"Has got worse" plus ending with a sentence fragment (An internal survey that showed NSA employees have problems trusting each other.). Excellent job, boys, excellent job.

Re:Way to edit, guys! (5, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628923)

Did anyone else notice that the summary consists of several only slightly-related facts about the NSA, and only the first one really matches the headline?

Re:Way to edit, guys! (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629057)

Pretty much. I suppose the last few sentences are more supportive and illustrative in how NSA mismanages their funds, which ties back into the brownouts and the NSA telling Washington Electric that "the check is in the mail".

By the way, Wonko, are you Willy Wonka's half brother?

Re:Way to edit, guys! (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629105)

By the way, Wonko, are you Willy Wonka's half brother?
Assuming that's a serious question, Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] has a pretty good explaination,

project Turbulence (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628897)

New equipment for data processing, as well as some purchased for one of the agency's signature initiatives, the mammoth modernization effort dubbed Turbulence , are among those that have been held up, the senior official said. The lengths of the delays are classified.
They may have a lot of power problems but at least they have good sense naming their projects.

Re:project Turbulence (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19628913)

By outward appearance it was a normal-looking truck. Inside, things were much different. Each side of the inner walls had a "stall" with various forms of restraint available. An open aisle that ran the length of the 18-wheeler divided each side. As the truck pulled up to the school, a group of armed men from a smaller van jumped out and took control. The one in command hand-picked a number of boys and girls ranging in age from 9 to 14. These children were led to the back of the trailer where they were forced to enter one by one. Once in, the processing began. 10 stalls were available on both sides. On the left went the boys. On the right, the girls. Each child was asked their age, which was then marked on a chart. They were forced to strip naked and were then made to enter a stall. Each stall had adjustable steel rods sticking out about a foot from the wall. Each rod had a cuff which was locked into place around the child's throat, upper arms, wrists, upper chest, knees and ankles. Once attached, they could barely move except for a bit around the pelvic region. Gags were next. The boys received ball-gags, as big as they could possibly stand, strapped viciously tight in their mouths. The girls were gagged with monstrous penis-shaped prods that went deep into their young throats. Not used to it, a lot of retching, hacking, and choking went on but that was all but ignored by the captors. The Boys: In order to get them used to rectal penetration, the boys were fitted with lubricated ass prods designed to rape them. The prods were eclectically powered and not only vibrated, but slid in and out in a constant motion. However, they were set up to never completely leave the hole, so even on the out stroke, at least a few inches remained inside. As one can imagine this created quite a commotion amongst the boys, none of whom had ever been raped. Bound as they were however, the boys were helpless to stop the slick prods from entering their virgin ass-holes. The prods had another effect as well. The constant pressure gave them all stiff penises. The captors made sure these did not go to waste. Rubber suction cups, sized to snuggly fit each boy's penis, were strapped on. These cups not only vibrated and suckled, inside of each was a second, smaller, lubricated "ring" that moved rhythmically up and down the length of the shaft, stopping occasionally at the head to frig that particularly sensitive area. Needless to say, the youngsters came within minutes. Sensors inside the cups could tell when a boy was cuming. The ass plug would swell and jab as deeply as possible to stimulate the prostrate. In addition, the cup immediately tightened it's grip and the inner ring sped up considerably, concentrating on the penis head. There are few areas more sensitive than the head of a male penis during orgasm, and this action provoked a very intense cum. It was amusing to watch the boy's reactions and to hear them grunt and moan as their little penises were milked. For many of them, it was the first time they'd cummed. While awake anyway. Having just experienced the most intense pleasure they had ever felt, most of the boys were wondering if this captivity thing was such a bad deal after all. That quickly changed as they noticed the invading plugs stayed firmly in place, and that they had only a minute's rest before the whole milking process started again. With each successive cum, their penises got more and more sensitive and what had started out as pleasure soon gave way to intense discomfort. Before long, the boys were bucking their hips trying desperately to expel the invading plod and to get the milking devices off their sore little cocks. None succeeded. The Girls: All the gags had small holes that could be fitted with hoses. For the boys this got them a nutritious mixture of water and other fluids in order to keep them hydrated and healthy. For the girls, it was different. Oh, they received water as well, but the captors did not let all that cum the boys were producing go to waste. It was also fed the girls as rich source of protein and to get them used to the taste. The girls were not allowed to go barefooted like the boys. They were placed in 4-inch stiletto heels so as to get used to wearing them. Later on, their new owners would most certainly make them wear 5-inch or higher heels all the time. They were fitted with the same powered ass-plugs. Naturally, larger, longer, vaginal plugs were used as well. They also placed vibrating butterfly clips on the girl's little clits and nipples. It took a bit longer, but eventually all the females were writhing about and moaning as waves of orgasmic pleasure surged thru them. As a change of pace, later on the clips would be removed and suction cups placed on them instead. These cups had something akin to a human tongue inside that constantly lapped and suckled on their little nipples and clitties. One of the captors, a very attractive female, went to each child and gently stroked their faces and kissed them on the forehead as a way of soothing them. In reality, she had no feelings for them at all, she was simply getting close enough to gauge their progress and potential. They were merely property. Property to be sold for a huge profit. She knew their fate. Most of the males would be sold to old men who lusted after young boys. They would be kept chained and gagged most of the time except when forced to give head. Anal rape would be a daily thing. Once they reached a certain age, they would lose their youthful charm and simply be... eliminated. One, perhaps two, of them would be sold to women who would force them to lick their cunts all the time. They would be made to wear cuckhold devices and never be allowed to cum. Some would be castrated. With rare exceptions, the girls all went to men. They would be forced to wear provocative outfits, or nothing at all. Made to wear the highest of heels. They would be kept brutally gagged almost all the time. If not gagged with something, the girls would usually have a cock in their mouths. Cum would be their meal on most days. They would be given little extra to eat in order to keep them thin. Some would be forced to undergo surgery. Bigger lips. Bigger breasts. Sometimes, huge breasts. Nothing quite like a 10-year-old with pouty lips and double-D cups. Most wouldn't make it to adulthood. Those that did generally got resold to the truly demented who then tortured them. The captors looked around at their writhing, moaning, children and began thinking about next week's job...

A new kind of DoS attack (5, Funny)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628899)

Okay, everyone around the NSA, turn on all your lights, computers, TVs, air conditioners, and appliances. Operation Dark Storm is a go.

Re:A new kind of DoS attack (1)

StarfishOne (756076) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629125)

I'd prefer operation 'Dinner Out' then ;)

(for those who miss the clue: see a movie called 'Spy Game')

How to meet the budget/electicity supply (4, Insightful)

J.R. Random (801334) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628907)

Actually obey the Constitution. If the NSA wasn't doing illegal warrantless searches of every American using the telephone or internet it would need about half as many computers and half as much money.

Re:How to meet the budget/electicity supply (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628943)

You know, you really do have a good point there.

Re:How to meet the budget/electicity supply (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629853)

Now there's an idea.

Every government agency that is caught violating the rights of citizens should have the people in charge jailed without the option for presidential pardon and the agency's funding should be cut.

I like it.

Current budget $198/year per American (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629989)

The current budget is enough to spend $198/year on surveillance of every man, woman, and child in America. When you think about it, that kind of money makes no sense at all unless we are all considered potential terrorists, with a dossier compiled and permanently archived on each of us.

Is there any other use for that besides allowing anyone to be labeled un-American anytime those running the government ask for it?

Re:How to meet the budget/electicity supply (1)

beyondkaoru (1008447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19630019)

true.

i'd also like to see the mathier side of the nsa open up. they probably have a lot of really advanced crypto (considering rijndael is only approved for i think secret level, i think). from DES, there's the hint that they already knew about differential cryptanalysis way before the academic community did. they recruit a lot of smart folks, so there could be a lot of interesting research going on.

and yeah, i wish they didn't waste so much time spying on the easy-to-spy-on stuff, like telephone conversations. how boring.

Doesn't sound like underfunding... (5, Interesting)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628925)

This doesn't sound like underfunding at all. It sounds like highly misappropriated funds going to prioritized sub-groups with an inherent motivation to see the other subgroups suffering and failing for the sake of their own relative gain. This is completely in keeping with the current administration's modus operandi of finding subgroups in organizations (lobbyists, regulators, etc.), that will play ball, and finding a way to eliminate or functionally undercut everyone else, then blame those who were undercut for the resulting general failure.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Doesn't sound like underfunding... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629147)

This doesn't sound like underfunding at all. It sounds like highly misappropriated funds going to prioritized sub-groups with an inherent motivation to see the other subgroups suffering and failing for the sake of their own relative gain.
Uhh... WTF?
Did you RTFA?

The NSA has known for at least a decade that they were going to have power problems in the future and the various Directors never bothered to set aside money in order to do something about it.

In other words, this is a failure of leadership spanning ~10 years.
FTFA:

However, lawmakers also reprimanded the NSA, intelligence officials said, for using money for spy operations to pay for electrical expenses without congressional approval.
So again, I have to ask: WTF?
Please support your post with some facts.

Re:Doesn't sound like underfunding... (4, Informative)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629291)

When an organization doesn't have enough money to do something, that is known as underfunding. When an organization _does_ have the money, but spends it inappropriately so they can't deal with the issues they are responsible for (including their own internal upkeep), then that is known as misappropriation.

The NSA had the money they needed to deal with their infrastructure problems, but did not. Wasn't this the kind of cooperation and organizational problems the whole "post 9-11" reorganization efforts were intended to fix? I will not argue that it is a failure of previous administrations that this did not get fixed earlier - just that these exact kinds of deep organizational failures coming to a dramatic conclusion are exactly in keeping with this administration's practices so far.

For a small sample of supporting evidence for my arguments, assertions and conclusions, see:

The Republican War on Science (Book) [waronscience.com]
Most of the recent works by John W. Dean (Several books) [amazon.com]
One of many powerfully incisive books by George Lackoff [amazon.com]
Countless other books, including these [amazon.com] ...and most political news appearing outside FOX news for the past 4 years.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Doesn't sound like underfunding... (2, Interesting)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629441)

This may be "a failure of leadership spanning ~10 years" because the problems were predicted nine years ago, but they didn't fly out of hand until after 2001; probably after Cheney ordered the NSA to start brute forcing its way through more keyspace than the rainfall in the Tennessee Valley can handle.

Starve the Beast (1)

vprasad (533778) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628955)

What's that bit from Grover Norquist... "Starve the Beast"? So... they underfund agencies and/or staff them with incompetents so the agency can be dismantled and replaced with free-market private sector whores. Freepers must be creaming themselves.

Scary! (4, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19628959)

And the number one way you know you're being watched is...

When the NSA can't even find enough electricity to power their surveillance and data processing equipment.

Scary stuff.

-matthew

Ha! Really. (1)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629771)

There domestic spy program is so large now they cant even power it.

Re:Scary! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19630097)

They need more electricity to compute a cracking of highly top-secret message equivalent to 97,543,423,123 years-GHz. It's highly top-secret message became from White House's George Bush room.


They had miscalculated the many billions of oil that they need to crack this only message.

Maybe move fort meade to green zone (1)

cpuffer_hammer (31542) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629001)

It seems it would fit in, nobody would know it was there. Both the money and the power consumption would be hidden.
And it could count toward the US build up without putting any extra service personal at risk.

Sent to you from the UK, so the bright boys and girls at Fort Meade can take it as a suggestion.

It Doesnt Matter - they're moving anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629069)

They have a lot of construction going on out in Denver.

Go Google NSA Colorado and Buckley AFB. And look at Buckley AFB on Google Earth.

Those big antennas under the domes are pretty interesting, hmm?

NSA (and GCHQ) are shame to mathematics (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629109)

As a graduate mathematician, I feel ashamed to see so many of my fellow students either going off to the City or to GCHQ (the UK's NSA); while it's true that the cryptanalysis work done by the latter is one of the few non-academic jobs requiring considerable "pure" mathematical skill, that's really not what the huge amount of money spent on infrastructure is for.

Because the War on Terror/Evil Of The Day really isn't about challenging mathematical genius terrorists to ever more complicated ciphers - yes, GCHQ created RSA a few years before R, S and A, but occasionally beating open academia and having a lot more horsepower isn't ever going to put you beyond the mathematical principles you're faced with (*). Massive horsepower is for statistical analysis of insanely large quantities of data. This might occasionally find you something saucy, but it's mostly going to allow you to profile, and profiling reduces risk - past trends are a useful indicator of future performance, whether you're analysing a financial market or the behaviour of groups of humans.

None of this will help if some random guy decides, tomorrow, to commit some nefarious deed involving an IED - something I'd say 90% of graduate scientists either have the knowledge to do, or could read up on overnight. Which goes to show that the reason everyone's not blowing everyone else up is not because there are any technological measures in place to stop them, but because by and large, for whatever reason, people don't want to.

(Oh, and the NSA/GCHQ do have some obvious legitimate uses - such as decrypting messages between known ne'er-do-wells. If that's all they did, I might even like them.)

Oh, and before people forget, the problem of whether the NSA is allowed to spy on Americans is easily solved in principle by GCHQ and NSA doing the dirty work for their friends across the pond; in practice, an extra-judicial agency couldn't care less anyway: he who is not accused (for there is no-one allowed to witness the crime), is not judged.

(*) This is why I love my discipline. Men can only discover mathematics, never beat it!

Re:NSA (and GCHQ) are shame to mathematics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629457)

the reason everyone's not blowing everyone else up is not because there are any technological measures in place to stop them, but because by and large, for whatever reason, people don't want to.

A point rarely dwelt upon by the power hungry fear-mongers pushing for a totalitarian surveillance society (the German government for example).


Re:NSA (and GCHQ) are shame to mathematics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629561)

Few academic jobs require pure math these days. Stats, computation, and application comprise most of the job postings. Ballooning NIH funding versus dwindling NSF money is partly responsible, so thank Congress.

Bake Sales! (4, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629127)

To paraphrase an old favorite,wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where daycares and hospitals had all the money they needed and the NSA had to hold a bake sale to buy servers?

Obvious solution here (2, Funny)

cheros (223479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629169)

Install a generator that can use contractors as fuel. Solves two problems at once :-)

It has as beneficial side effect that it also reduces the amount of people leaning on healthcare, so everyone wins.

The only challenge I can see is that you have to take into account the amount of alcohol these people consume. Any oven should be able to use the spontanous combustions that may occur. Maybe turning them into biofuel may be better.

Sorry, heavy lunch :-)

So What You Are *Really* Saying Is..... (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629787)

"Take them out back, line 'em up against the wall, and shoot them. Then throw them and their fat-laden contracts into a giant boiler as fuel, and use the steam to turn turbine generators.", right?

(raises fist clutching an 1886 Winchester)

I'll be happy to donate my time and ammo to the cause, free of charge to the taxpayer.

Let's see how the math works out:

Either we can spend &.30 per bullet to put into bloated, shady, criminal contractors, or we can let the contractors spend $2500 for a hammer.

DISCLAIMER: If you are one of those wacko idiot nutjobs who actually thinks I'm serious, you should spend the bullet on yourself instead.

Rolling brownouts? Uh, no. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19629321)

There is no such thing as an intentional rolling brownout.

A brownout is usually caused by a short or a transformer melting down which results in an under-voltage leading to a blackout. A brownout is when you still have electricity but it's not at the required voltage or power level.

I think they mean rolling blackouts.

It is an axiom... (3, Informative)

vorlich (972710) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629599)

that the purpose of a bureaucracy is to provide employment for the bureaucrats.
Arthur C. Clarke has suggested that the greatest threat to civilisation is bureacracy.
The 19th century French writer Balzac once said that 'bureaucracy is a giant machine operated by pygmies'.
Sadly bureaucracy is often reminiscent of Homer's Duff Beer - the answer to and the cause of all our problems.
I guess I didn't have to think too much for this post, just pasted in a lot of fondly remembered homily!
Outstanding!
Hmm, forget to mention girls or drugs - they are always popular. Did manage to get beer in though.
Fourth wall? What fourth wall? People read this? No, honestly...

Duh! (2, Insightful)

thewiz (24994) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629627)

An internal survey that showed NSA employees have problems trusting each other.

They're spies! They're trained not to trust anyone!

Captain Obvious strikes again!

Brownouts almost as bad as typos (1)

thejakeyboy (1119587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629653)

Does anybody actually edit these posts? Today's Time-Waster: Find four grammatical and punctuation mistakes in the above article. (Am I the only one bothered by this?!?)

Efficiency drive... (1)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629715)

A recent public powerpoint presentation

See, there's your problem, right there. Get rid of all the management types, and you not only have more money to buy stuff, but also don't have them consuming gigawatts pratting about with PowerPoint!

Bull (0, Offtopic)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629755)

I'm calling BS on that one. If the government needs money it just prints it (actually they get a loan from the FED), there is no national tresuary or anything like that.

"Oh look at us we are SOOO broke protecting freedom that we need 800 million dollars so we can have power."{

Sorry guys.. you have far more of my money that I would ever willfully give you. Deal with it.

I stopped reading after... (0, Troll)

QCompson (675963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19629829)

... underfunded NSA. What a joke. The true budget for the NSA is classified, correct? Forgive me if I have no sympathy for an agency shrouded in secrecy in a supposed "transparent" democracy.
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