Why believe anything the government says about the NSA?

At this point, why would you believe anything the State, or anyone fronting for it, tells you about NSA domestic spying? Even the gullible have to be non-virgins by now. Let’s take a look.

Here’s security expert Bruce Schneier on just this subject. He starts (my emphasis, including a few bullets and some reparagraphing throughout):

Restoring Trust in Government and the Internet

In July 2012, responding to allegations that the video-chat service Skype — owned by Microsoft — was changing its protocols to make it possible for the government to eavesdrop on users, Corporate Vice President Mark Gillett took to the company’s blog to deny it. Turns out that wasn’t quite true.

Or at least he — or the company’s lawyers — carefully crafted a statement that could be defended as true while completely deceiving the reader. You see, Skype wasn’t changing its protocols to make it possible for the government to eavesdrop on users, because the government was already able to eavesdrop on users.

And this is just the start of this great piece. Two things to note:

Is Skype (aka Microsoft) an arm of the State? Skype (Microsoft) is lying to protect their joint operation with the Pentagon, their joint involvement in spying on you. You tell me if lying by Skype equals lying by the State. I say Yes.

Skype is lying in the skeeziest possible way — because the thing they’re lying about doing had already been done; it was done and over, five years ago. The lie not only conceals what you wanted to know; it’s based on something worse.

 About Skype, from Schneier’s link above:

Last month, the Post reported that the NSA has a “User’s Guide for PRISM Skype Collection” that outlines how it can eavesdrop on Skype “when one end of the call is a conventional telephone and for any combination of ‘audio, video, chat, and file transfers’ when Skype users connect by computer alone.”

About two weeks later, the New York Times reported that, five years ago [i.e., in 2008], before Microsoft acquired Skype, Skype initiated an internal program called “Project Chess” to explore how it could make Skype calls readily available to the government.

Be sure to click through to the timeline in the post. I was especially interested in this sentence:

June 2011: Microsoft [Skype’s new owner] obtains a patent for “legal intercept” technology designed to be used with services like Skype to “silently copy” communications.

Forced participant or eager partner? And what does Skype (Microsoft) get back from its partner the State? Obviously something it can monetize.

More carefully crafted deceptions from the State & its partners

Ready for more tricky words from the State and their partners? Schneier again, on Clapper lying to Congress, plus oh-so-clever phrasing by those happy hipsters, your leftie friends Google and Apple:

▪ At a Senate hearing in March, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper assured the committee that his agency didn’t collect data on hundreds of millions of Americans. He was lying, too. He later defended his lie by inventing a new definition of the word “collect,” an excuse that didn’t even pass the laugh test.

▪ Google and Facebook insist that the NSA has no “direct access” to their servers. Of course not; the smart way for the NSA to get all the data is through sniffers.

▪ Apple says it’s never heard of PRISM. Of course not; that’s the internal name of the NSA database.

There are many more instances of super-parsed phrasing in this fine piece; I’ll leave you to read them at the source.

Schneier’s bottom line — They’re all lying until proven otherwise

Here’s what Schneier concludes from all this. Do read this quote through; the end is as strong as the beginning:

As Edward Snowden’s documents reveal more about the NSA’s activities, it’s becoming clear that we can’t trust anything anyone official says about these programs. …

Both government agencies and corporations have cloaked themselves in so much secrecy that it’s impossible to verify anything they say; revelation after revelation demonstrates that they’ve been lying to us regularly and tell the truth only when there’s no alternative.

[And] There’s much more to come. Right now, the press has published only a tiny percentage of the documents Snowden took with him. And Snowden’s files are only a tiny percentage of the number of secrets our government is keeping, awaiting the next whistle-blower.

We’re not looking at the tip of the iceberg. We’re looking at the tip of the tip — the tip of the tip of an iceberg so big — and apparently so old — that the mind will boggle and seize up when it surfaces.

It’s all coming out

Let’s put that another way. The crime against the Constitution is so great and so longstanding, and the number of perps and betrayers so long and so wide, that they have no choice but to lie. How can they cop to a betrayal so large and sweeping in scope that what we know now is just the start?

Will lying save their day? You tell me. It’s a digital world. You can guard a thing; you can’t guard an electronic pathway. If they can’t keep the Super Bowl off the Internet (there are many workarounds for the Homeland Security site take-down I talked about here), they’ll never keep all of what’s in this punch bowl from floating to the top.

It’s going to surface, folks — all of it. So strap yourself in. As I say, the day it all comes out, the national mind will boggle and seize up. That day won’t be fun.

Obama: “We don’t have a domestic spying program”

I thought I’d leave you with a word from the Liar-in-Chief, Mr. Legacy. Raw Story:

Obama-on-Jay-LenoAsked [on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show] whether the controversial surveillance programs helped lead to the intelligence that sparked the warnings, Obama said the programs were critical to counterterrorism work. But he said more needed to be done to assure Americans they were not being spied on themselves.

“We don’t have a domestic spying program,” he said. “What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat.”

See how easy? Just say No, we’re not spying on you.

And bonus points if you noticed that in the first paragraph, Obama’s answer didn’t address Leno’s question. See how easy?

Last thought — What level of unconstitutionality was a bridge too far for those lovable loyal Bushies, Ashcroft and Comey, that even they couldn’t say yes to it? If all of what we know, and all of what we’re about to know, is legal — “fine and dandy” in DoJ parlance — then what in god’s frying earth was totally not fine and dandy for eager torturer James Comey? What did he turn down, if what we’re left with totally works for him?

My guess — we’ll find that out too, and in your lifetime.


As I say, strap in.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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