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Former CIA/NSA Head: NSA Is "Infinitely" Weaker As a Result of Snowden's Leaks

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the spying-used-to-be-easy dept.

Privacy 572

An anonymous reader writes "The Huffington Post reports, 'Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency, said Sunday that he used to describe leaker Edward Snowden as a "defector," ... "I think there's an English word that describes selling American secrets to another government, and I do think it's treason," Hayden said ... Some members of Congress have also ... accused him of an act of treason. Hayden said his view of Snowden has grown harsher in recent weeks after reports that Snowden is seeking asylum in Germany and Brazil in exchange for assisting their investigations into NSA programs. Hayden said the NSA is "infinitely" weaker as a result of Snowden's leaks. "This is the most serious hemorrhaging of American secrets in the history of American espionage," he said. "What Snowden is revealing ... is the plumbing," he added later. "He's revealing how we acquire this information. It will take years, if not decades, for us to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosures."' — More in the Face the Nation video and transcript, including discussion of the recent legal decisions, and segments with whistleblower Thomas Drake, Snowden legal adviser Jesselyn Radack, and Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman who recently interviewed Snowden."

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572 comments

LIAR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819205)

That's it. That's all to be said. H

Re: LIAR (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819239)

I know. I can't believe Snowden lied about everything :(

Re:LIAR (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819349)

I'm not sure that this isn't true.

The question is whether there's anything wrong with that.

Were the NSA meant to be doing the things that they're doing? To some degree, yes. But I'm also pretty sure they've overstepped what they're allowed to do.

The "treason" comments are pretty far off. Someone who's committing an act of treason is doing it to benefit themselves or another country. Seeing as he had to flee his life in the US and is between countries, risking imprisonment if he ever comes back, aside from the fame he's accrued, I'm not sure how this is to his benefit.

Re:LIAR (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819635)

"an act of treason is doing it to benefit themselves or another country"

Just to point out, if that is the definition, then it probably fits - from TFS:
"after reports that Snowden is seeking asylum in Germany and Brazil in exchange for assisting their investigations into NSA programs"

Note I'm not saying whether Snowden is right or wrong, simply that using your definition would imply the NSA guy is correct with his _statement_.

NSA is infinitely weaker? (5, Informative)

russotto (537200) | about 7 months ago | (#45819225)

GOOD!

Re:NSA is infinitely weaker? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819245)

"It will take years, if not decades, for us to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosures." That's not truly infinite.

Re:NSA is infinitely weaker? (5, Insightful)

Adam Colley (3026155) | about 7 months ago | (#45819305)

Indeed it's not but I'll take weakened for decades.

The GCHQ and the NSA have been running roughshod over the people for years, it's about time they were brought to account by whatever means it takes.

Can't believe there's even a question as to whether he, chelsea manning or ed snowden did the right thing, it's obvious they did. Governments are supposed to work for/with us, not sit there spying on us, it's like living under bloody chinese surveillance, we just didn't know it.

Re:NSA is infinitely weaker? (-1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#45819475)

Before celebrating you might want to let the feedback loop complete for a few cycles. There are plenty more where this lot [bbc.co.uk] came from, and the problem is barely under control as it is. Gambling casinos make an extraordinary amount of money based on a minor advantage in the odds, and the extremists have much better odds now with the Snowden leaks.

Re:NSA is infinitely weaker? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819579)

Oh, DO shut up, you absolutely pathetic little cocksucker. Nobody cares what you have to say. In fact, you're the type of psychopathic person who should just be ignominiously hanged and left to rot for the benefit of civilized society, just like your predecessors Dr Goebbels and Alfred Rosenberg.

Re:NSA is infinitely weaker? (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 7 months ago | (#45819585)

the extremists have much better odds now with the Snowden leaks

And you know this how, by listening to the NSA defend their vested interest? After claiming that this had stopped lots of terrorist attacks, it came out that it had actually stopped none.

While we're at it, ordinary crime kills a lot more people in this country in terrorism. Why don't we repeal the 4th Amendment (which was written by a bunch of know radicals) and allow law enforcement to search any home they have any reason to suspect of harboring crime.

Re:NSA is infinitely weaker? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819597)

So the extremists should open casinos?

Re:NSA is infinitely weaker? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819459)

Technically it is if read it as "a position where nobody knows what we've been doing".

Because if they get back to that position in 20 years, everyone else has gained ground while they were working their way back to that position. Making the agency significantly weaker.

CAPTCHA: sincere

Re:NSA is infinitely weaker? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819299)

I came here to post the same thing.

Re:NSA is infinitely weaker? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819323)

We got weaker. translation: Congress, please give us more money to buy a complete set of new toys to replace the old crap.

Re:NSA is infinitely weaker? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819505)

We got weaker. translation: Congress, please give us more money to buy a complete set of new toys to replace the old crap.

So, you're suggesting to replace all the humans with robot overlords? After all, Snowden proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the problem is more of a human element than any "toy" they play with. So did Kevin Mitnick.

Re:NSA is infinitely weaker? (2, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 7 months ago | (#45819331)

I was thinking the exact same thing; then I realized, its not true, they must have just spelled infinitesimally wrong.

Were that they were infinitely weaker, that would be wonderful.

Re:NSA is infinitely weaker? (1)

retroworks (652802) | about 7 months ago | (#45819339)

Looking where it is, right now, hard to imagine it was "infinitely stronger". But I'd guess that's a good thing, relatively speaking.

Cue the pic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819619)

grumpycat_good.jpg

Boohoo (4, Insightful)

rubypossum (693765) | about 7 months ago | (#45819227)

We were caught abusing the rights of the American people and the people's of many other nations. Now that we've been caught people won't trust us anymore. Fell so sorry for us!

Re:Boohoo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819341)

Well, when your plane explodes because we couldn't connect some abstract pieces of data, I won't feel sorry for you, but everyone else on the plane for sure.

Re:Boohoo (2)

HBI (604924) | about 7 months ago | (#45819561)

Our personal freedoms weren't worth even reducing the entirely insignificant number of airliner explosions in history. WTF, really?

I love the AC cheerleader for statist surveillance. You work for NSA, I take it?

Re:Boohoo (5, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 7 months ago | (#45819371)

I don't believe a word of the NSA traitors (that's what they are - traitors to the Constitution, thus traitors to the Republic).

I think they are as strong as ever and their powers are growing, that's because while before Snowden they just pretended that they were an actual legal institution, now the courts will proclaim them to be legal! The system is corrupt completely and irreversibly, it will have to be replaced to be made workable again.

The problem is not NSA, the problem is the government that no longer follows the rule of law (the Constitution, the process) the government doesn't have a process anymore, it's based on mobocracy keeping it in power, it's based on propaganda, it's based on cult of personalities, it's based on class warfare talk and thus propaganda and it's based on ability to extort money from the RULED. The problem is that the government is absolutely illegitimate, it is now a system or rulers, the mob and the rest of those who are ruled.

Was it worth fighting against a Constitutional monarchy to end up with an authoritarian mobocracy/socialism/fascism/cronyism/Mafia?

tom cruise monday (2)

zlives (2009072) | about 7 months ago | (#45819445)

I am reminded of

"I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said "thank you", and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!"

and so on..
i have a feeling that nothing really will change, they will just be more secretive until we the people decide that
" I feel the need... the need for" freedom

Re: tom cruise monday (2, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 7 months ago | (#45819629)

We were set on this suicidal road to insecurity by a bunch of known radicals and self-admitted traitors 237 years ago. Apparently some people think it's time to rectify that situation.

Re:Boohoo (5, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 7 months ago | (#45819491)

We were caught abusing the rights of the American people and the people's of many other nations.

Obama said recently in an interview that spying in the US was limited by laws in the US. They he added that for the rest of the world, the NSA is not limited by any laws. So I guess that means that the US doesn't care about breaking laws in other countries.

That's a very sour thought, when you chew on the implications of that statement.

infinity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819229)

The only way to lose infinity and still have something left is when you start with infinity. Chances are, if that happens, you still have a lot left.

Re:infinity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819521)

No, you got it backwards. He is SUPPOSEDLY an expert on the subject, and if he is right the NSA has become COMPLETELY worthless for the nation after the leaks, so we MUST defund completely the useless thing that compromises OUR freedom for absolutely NOTHING of value in return and use OUR taxpayer money in more meaningful ways.

Let's take his word for it... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819231)

...and celebrate the long-term crippling of an evil agency.

Let's also lament the fact that Snowden won't be able to return to the country he helped so much.

Re:Let's take his word for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819351)

...and celebrate the long-term crippling of an evil agency.

Let's also lament the fact that Snowden won't be able to return to the country he helped so much.

He hasn't helped one god damned bit (entendre intended) until the US passes laws (or some other measure) that limit the power of the NSA. As of today, the snowden leaks basically mean (see other recent articles) that the NSA and other agencies will redouble their efforts to be even MORE pervasive in spying. So, more money is flying out the door, more liberties are being trampled, and there is no end in sight. If you want to say that he helped the US, we need to have learned from the mistakes that lead up to his leak. Until then, every talking head report about how the NSA (or the US in general) is weaker ("infinitely" may be a tad hyperbolic) is true.

Re:Let's take his word for it... (0)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 7 months ago | (#45819489)

Is the NSA a good agency or a bad agency? Is it a matter of the power being too much, or the power being of a sort that should not be?

This means: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819235)

They must of been infinitely powerful to begin with.

Michael Hayden is a traitor. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819237)

Unfortunately so is most of the government and the courts.

It would be nice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819249)

if people who took oaths to uphold and defend the constitution actually tried reading the document. Article 3, Section 3

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Re:It would be nice (4, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 7 months ago | (#45819503)

If he had been "selling American secrets to another government", as the idiot Hayden said, and if it had been an enemy government, then it would be treason. Of course, that's not what he did at all - he made the information public. But Hayden's "let's mischaracterize it a bit" is a typical propaganda techniques, and will probably help convince people who are ignorant of the facts.

BTW, in this day and age, how is it determined what's an enemy government? In the bad old days of the Cold War, it was clear to everyone that the USSR was an enemy. How about China though? They're not an enemy, and I hope they never become one, but we all know it's a concern. Will we, for example, convict GE execs for giving them jet engine technology if it's ever used to attack our forces?

Re: It would be nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819511)

Deliberately weakening encryption standards "gives aid" to our enemies.

Papers please comrade .... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819253)

Oh the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Pity neither is true any more, and the US has become the worst parody of the Soviets.

This clown needs to get the NSA renamed as the Ministry of Truth.

Re:Papers please comrade .... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 7 months ago | (#45819439)

Wrong ministry. Minitrue was in charge of running (and editing) the media. Newspapers etc. They were not the covert or investigative arm. I think the NSA would be part of MiniLove.

I double checked (its been a decade or two since I read it): "The Ministry of Love serves as Oceania's interior ministry. It enforces loyalty and love of Big Brother through fear, a repressive apparatus, and brainwashing. "

Whereas Minitrue: "The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts and educational books. Its purpose is to rewrite history to change the facts to fit Party doctrine"

Which lines up with what i remember. Might also be under Minipax.

Another English word for Mike (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819257)

I think there's an English word that describes a person who makes statements which are untrue, and I do think it's liar.

Hayden has the definition of treason wrong! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819259)

Treason is working against one's country. So the NSA has been the treasonous one.

So? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819263)

Still waiting for the first shred of proof that the NSA's dragnet methods do any good whatsoever. Until then: nothing of value was lost.

Re:So? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819541)

Why would anyone tell you anything about that? What an idiot.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

bonehead (6382) | about 7 months ago | (#45819555)

It wouldn't even matter if such proof existed. The means do not always justify the ends.

Treason huh? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819265)

That's funny, I consider "treating every citizen of your country as an enemy and a criminal" as treason, Mr. Hayden.

Re:Treason huh? (4, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 7 months ago | (#45819399)

School kids in the US used to be taught that a precise definition of treason was one of most important things that was included in the, now deprecated, US Constitution. It defined treason as: "Allegiance to a foreign country". This was because the British rulers would slap a charge on just about anyone in the colonies they didn't like.

Snowden has always claimed that he was not spying for Russia, nor Brazil, nor Germany, etc. He said he did it for the US.

Re:Treason huh? (1)

msauve (701917) | about 7 months ago | (#45819483)

Funny, but my copy of the Constitution defines treason as

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

Simple allegiance to a foreign country, such as Canada, wouldn't constitute treason. There are, no doubt, people in the US government who think everyone is the enemy, but they haven't bothered to declare war on them to actually make it so.

Re:Treason huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819559)

by the sounds of that phrasing, if you give a Canadian a blanket it would

Actions speak louder than words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819599)

There are, no doubt, people in the US government who think everyone is the enemy, but they haven't bothered to declare war on them to actually make it so.

If their actions are not a declaration of war then what would be?

Re:Treason huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819573)

You believe everything he says?

Re:Treason huh? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 7 months ago | (#45819647)

Bullshit.

If not then please point out the part of the constitution that provides that ridiculous definition.

Re:Treason huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819507)

He means treason against the elitists, not against the Constitution--which they wipe their asses with.

I think there's an English word that describes . (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819267)

... illegal and un-Constitutional activity and I do think it is "criminal" and "un-American" respectively.

Re: I think there's an English word that describes (1)

trongey (21550) | about 7 months ago | (#45819653)

... illegal and un-Constitutional activity and I do think it is "criminal" and "un-American" respectively.

You forgot "treason". That's the other word for acts against the Constitution.
You know, I think I heard that one of these NSA/CIA guys had a suggestion about what should be done with people who commit treason - something about ropes and necks...

my thoughts (4, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 7 months ago | (#45819287)

My thoughts on this are simple. It is in us, the people who live in the USA's best interest that this leak happened. Plain and simple the NSA has been running wild with a total disregard to the constitution. I personally want to see the NSA disbanded as they will never be taken seriously again by america, and they will never be trusted again by the rest of the world.

Now as for doing damage that is in regards to other countries, I think the way snowden went about things was actually the best way he could have given the circumstances. He did not just dump the files, unredacted for the entire world to see and learn from. The articles and information that up until this point been released have been screened pretty well to protect numerous secrets.

From my point of view yes Id love to see all the data, unredacted but I underrstand that would have been a disaster for a number of reasons, one of those reasons being the concern of the people who are anti snowden, they are making the argument as if the entire treasure was dumped. but it wasnt so their argument doesnt hold water. The other reason, and the oneI am more concerned with is that if he dumped it all at once, it would be much easier for our no attention span having population to forget about it and move on to the new shiny of the day, and all of that information would be for nothing.

Re:my thoughts (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 7 months ago | (#45819551)

Basically the problem the US has is that it is difficult to escalate this to beyond a civil matter. He was not in the military, he was not employed by the federal government, he was not a spy for a foreign power. He was a private citizen who decided to become a whistleblower. The US has rules protecting whistleblowers. For instance, if the IRS were doing some of this, and he reported it, most of the conservatives in congress would be buying him hookers and drug and throwing a parade, even if it did mean that the US governments ability to pay bills might be jeopardized.

As far as treason is concerned, in the US that is a very narrow legal term defined by our constitution. That any high level government official would throw it around I think speaks to the lack of competency of that official. Treason is declaring war, giving aid and comfort or aligning with an enemy. Diplomatically, the US has few nation states that it claims as enemies. In fact we have a diplomatic term for them, 'rogue states', so we do not have to use the term enemy. In the current climate treason is a high bar, otherwise we would have some Generals who have been recently executed, for instance those that have somewhat decreased the ability of the navy in some parts of the world by selling secrets to foreign agents.

In the US the governement should not function under an excess of secrecy. People like Snowden are part of that. If he is convicted of anything, the next person who wants to report an abuse of power, for instance the FEMA concentration camps being built to imprison dissidents against the coming UN World Governemnt, will be too afraid to come forward. This is clearly not in the peoples interest.

Re:my thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819565)

And if anything bad happens, Snowden's supporters (you) are going to be the ones everyone blames for letting the bad guys to get around the systems that are in place to try and catch them.

And the way he is doing it just gives Glenwald and Snowden more power and control than anyone else has. It's like a angry ex releasing nude pictures of you to your friends, family, and employers. Then again, most people don't care, it is just the civil libertarians that are pushing this since it doesn't impact their lives nearly as much as other bigger issues.

no shit. (2)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 7 months ago | (#45819289)

i mean really...what else is this guy gonna say?

Re:no shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819451)

"A melodramatic bitch, this Michael Hayden is."

Yoda

Infinintely weaker? (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 7 months ago | (#45819301)

GOOD

Infinitely weaker... (1)

ravenlord_hun (2715033) | about 7 months ago | (#45819303)

...exactly why? They still do dragnet surveillance; their backdoors are still in place; they only lost what they gleaned from Google's internal network.

Re:Infinitely weaker... (4, Insightful)

Kardos (1348077) | about 7 months ago | (#45819529)

Before the leaks, they could say "it stops the turrurists", but after the leaks we know that it's stopped none (Boston is a prime example). Any half serious terrorist knows that the internet is heavily monitored and communicates covertly; now that it's public knowledge, the "but the turrurists will know our abilities" defense no longer carries weight. They can't justify using their overreaching surveillance apparatus against the general population of the world anymore. It's their defense to continue Orwellian surveillance that is infinitely weaker, nothing else has changed.

Yawn (1)

Persistent Threat (3480077) | about 7 months ago | (#45819307)

I wouldn't go as far as saying he has made the United States any weaker. The world is still revolving, and there has been no blowout other than lost trust, and a lot of red-faced vendors (Cisco, RSA, Google, etc). I WILL go as far as stating he has had a negative impact economically on many companies who are now losing business due to the leaks. Governments are well aware that EVERYONE is spying on EVERYONE. No one is innocent in this game of espionage. Snowden has however caused many people to lose their jobs, and this I have seen first-hand.

Re:Yawn (2)

Adam Colley (3026155) | about 7 months ago | (#45819319)

Then they should get a conscience when it comes for who they work for.

Chain of Command (4, Insightful)

ClaraBow (212734) | about 7 months ago | (#45819313)

If Snowden would have voiced his concerns to his immediate supervisors, he would have been silenced immediately.

Re:Chain of Command (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819501)

He did, they're just covering it up now.

Re:Chain of Command (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819515)

Yup, he would have been rendered infinitely weaker...

"Revealing the plumbing" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819317)

You can tell that it is the plumbing because it is mostly full of shit.....

Best Quote (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819321)

"It will take years, if not decades, for us to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosures." - Michael Hayden

One can only hope the later. Sorry, but the most important thing Snowden did was show us that the NSA had betrayed the public it was meant to server. In effect, he served us better than you did. This trust SHOULD take decades to get back.

Cry wolf... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819325)

"This is the most serious haemorrhaging of American secrets in the history of American espionage," he said. "What Snowden is revealing ... is the plumbing,"

Worse than when Soviet intelligence penetrated the Manhattan project at every level that mattered thus enabling Stalin to take a multi year shortcut to building his own bomb? I mean let's not over dramatise this, the ability to steal airplane sales from Airbus and hand them to Boeing, to steal IP from foreign companies and donate them to US competitors, blackmail foreign politicians, etc..., may be important but an A-bomb can vaporise a city along with millions of it's inhabitants.

Infinitely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819327)

It still exists though, so...hyperbole.

you Fail I7! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819335)

Methods, not intel (4, Insightful)

mveloso (325617) | about 7 months ago | (#45819357)

Luckily for the NSA, the guardian hasn't said anything about specific operations or people involved. The releases have been about methods and reach, which aren't the same. The only surprises there are that the NSA was more active than most people thought.

There's nothing in there that's mind-glowingly unbelievable, like the NSA hooked up some kind of transmitter to an eyeball and has been using that realtime video feed to monitor meetings.

Of course, there are a few more million documents, but I'm sure the really juicy ones are being withheld.

NSA abusing power (5, Insightful)

JeffOwl (2858633) | about 7 months ago | (#45819369)

If they had not been abusing their power to conduct illegal surveillance then Snowden may not have resorted to this. Perhaps then their techniques would have remained secret and been available for legitimate purposes. Perhaps they should be looking in the mirror when placing the blame.

Funding grab? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819375)

And I suppose the only thing that could strengthen the NSA is a huge dose of Federal funding along with a few new contracts, right?

The president's budget is coming out in a few weeks. What uncanny timing.

That's the point, sir... (2)

Entropius (188861) | about 7 months ago | (#45819377)

"It will take years, if not decades, for us to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosures."

Yes, and the hope is that the US will have a very public conversation about whether that position is something we want to allow you to return to in the meantime.

Re:That's the point, sir... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819605)

"It will take years, if not decades, for us to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosures."

Yes, and the hope is that the US will have a very public conversation about whether that position is something we want to allow you to return to in the meantime.

Ideally, they would never return to the position they had prior to his disclosures.

His position is that the concept of an open society is a failure. That only by extreme clandestine surveillance can America continue to exist.

If that's what he truly believes, I think Putin will probably be able to find a position for him and he should immediately emigrate to a more "practical" country rather than waste his time among a bunch of doomed ungrateful idealists.

Re:That's the point, sir... (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 7 months ago | (#45819639)

when was the last time we had a 'public conversation' about public policy in the US? was there EVER a time? I honestly ask.

we don't rule by democracy. its plutocracy and other 'cracies' but it most definitely is NOT the will of any large bunch of people.

it would be great if we could have this 'national conversations' about things that pop up from time to time. we have the mans for communications at the largest scale. we can take instant votes and poll for a national pulse on any issue we want.

we don't do that. and I don't hold my breath waiting for it, as much as I'd love to see it.

Treason (1)

buck-yar (164658) | about 7 months ago | (#45819383)

War on Drugs is against the citizens of the USA, and the NSA has been a part of this with the SOD and parallel construction. So one could make the argument that anyone involved with the NSA is guilty of treason.

Wait a sec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819397)

So he is a traitor to the US to ...Germany? Aren't we allies or something or do we have no allies when it comes to data?

Govt positions sound like "Freemen on the Land" (1)

CKW (409971) | about 7 months ago | (#45819405)

> It will take years, if not decades, for us to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosures

ALL THE REST OF US believe that "the position" they "held" is and/or should be flat out ***king illegal. We think the morons passing laws that mangae to circumvent and directly violate key attributes of our democracies - are the traitors. It's getting damn close to the time when a "citizen's rights" shouldn't be bound by borders, and a governments "limitations on powers" shouldn't end at the borders nor be different outside the borders.

"Oh look, I'm outside of X, obviously no laws at all apply to me, fuck you and you and you."

Actually, that sounds exactly like the governmental state equivalent of "Freemen on the Land"!

Treason? Not if illegal behavior is revealed (3, Informative)

cjonslashdot (904508) | about 7 months ago | (#45819407)

"I think there's an English word that describes selling American secrets to another government, and I do think it's treason," Hayden said.

Well, not if the revelations are about illegal - and especially unconstitutional - behavior.

Re:Treason? Not if illegal behavior is revealed (1)

runward (1772390) | about 7 months ago | (#45819621)

Unfortunately, Snowden would likely be prosecuted under the ridiculously over-broad espionage act, which has no exceptions for public interest. Ref: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131223/17054725677/if-snowden-returned-to-us-trial-all-whistleblower-evidence-would-likely-be-inadmissible.shtml [techdirt.com]

Fourth amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819409)

What is more important, the fourth amendment or a program that has had extremely limited success. It will take years, decades for the fourth amendment to be restored.

Huh? (2)

Kimomaru (2579489) | about 7 months ago | (#45819411)

When did Snowden sell secrets? I thought he released them to the public, I never read anywhere that he SOLD them.

What we don't see (4, Insightful)

gregor-e (136142) | about 7 months ago | (#45819423)

What we don't see in the Snowden revelations is any scrap of value derived from the NSA's blatant power-grab. As I understand it, the essence of NSA's defense is "but...TERRORISTS!", yet they have failed to produce any results that come even close to justifying their extraordinary usurpation of power. Even if the NSA could demonstrate real value in the data they've stolen, they would still have to justify their process for taking it from us. Last I knew, the constitution does not state "the ends justify the means".

Return to previous position (2)

scsirob (246572) | about 7 months ago | (#45819435)

I do not know what is more disturbing. The facts revealed by Snowden, or the statement by Hayden that the goal is "to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosures".

Hyperbole (2)

gerardrj (207690) | about 7 months ago | (#45819453)

"Infinitely weaker' would mean powerless.
IF the NSA were powerless then it should be dissolved. Since No-one in the NSA is saying THAT should happen, they must think they still have a lot of power.
I don't doubt the NSA's spying effectiveness has been diminished, but I think the implication they are impotent is a lie.

Yay! Aother Snowden Thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819465)

Now the same post that his fanbois have been posting all month can be posted again. And I can't wait to read tomorrow's Snowden threads so I can see the same whining all over again.

The game is over... hopefully. (1)

jmd (14060) | about 7 months ago | (#45819473)

"He's revealing how we acquire this information. It will take years, if not decades, for us to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosures."'

Let us hope we can never return to that position.

Re:The game is over... hopefully. (-1, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#45819527)

Nothing bad could result from a crippled intelligence system, could it?

Re:The game is over... hopefully. (4, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 7 months ago | (#45819631)

Nothing bad could result from a crippled intelligence system, could it?

Sure. Bad things could happen. Hayden, and others -- including US Presidents and members of Congress -- should have thought of that before putting the system in jeopardy by committing illegal acts that might result in them getting caught when someone finally blew the whistle.

If I robbed a bank, got caught, tried and imprisoned, my family would suffer. But that suffering would be the result of my bad decision, not the legal system that frowns on robbery, the police tracking me down and catching me, and the judge and jury who convict and incarcerate me.

Infinitely weaker and revealed plumbing (1)

guyniraxn (1579409) | about 7 months ago | (#45819479)

So the NSA was completely useless before they were spying on all of us? How did they do their jobs before these unconstitutional programs? What an ass.

Hayden sounds scared (3, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 7 months ago | (#45819493)

Sounds to me like Hayden's just afraid that he'd be subject to arrest and prosecution if he visits wherever Snowden lands. If he'd only done nothing wrong, he'd have had nothing to hide, and nothing to fear punishment for if caught. Perhaps he shoulda thought of that sooner. Sure, someone else would have done the job if he'd quit instead of following orders, but at least he'd be guiltless (or less guilty). There's a certain irony that Hayden could be a criminal in a land where Snowden could be free -- although I doubt either one will happen.

I wish I could believe him... (3, Insightful)

swm (171547) | about 7 months ago | (#45819509)

At this point, I think we'd be better off if the NSA's efficacy were reduced to zero (infinitely weaker: 1/x -> 0). Then we could rebuild it from the ground up with proper political, legal, and operational controls.

In fact, I suspect that the NSA retains most--if not all--of its operational capabilities.

The NSA doesn't face any significant legal restrictions. The law allows them to do most of what they want, and they just do the rest anyway, secure in the knowledge that the courts won't(?) can't(?) shut them down.

The NSA does have a political problem right now. It's not much of a political problem: most of the political establishment wants them to keep doing what they are doing. They wouldn't have any political problem at all if their P.R. weren't so inept. Hayden yammering about "defectors" and "treason" and "infinite weakness" is just more P.R.

Ben said it best... (3, Informative)

thestudio_bob (894258) | about 7 months ago | (#45819537)

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

– Benjamin Franklin, 1759

Building castles in the sand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819539)

If the NSA doesn't want to be damaged when their secrets are revealed, they shouldn't keep secrets. I'm pretty sure they could operate almost as well if they assumed everything they do is public. You can't have more than the illusion of freedom when the gov't is keeping secrets from you.

Statement Indicates Lack of Contrition by All (4, Insightful)

stoicio (710327) | about 7 months ago | (#45819553)

" It will take years, if not decades, for us to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosures."

First, if someone (NSA) breaks the laws of the country and gets caught, wouldn't the expectation be that they stop doing that?
This statement indicates that the NSA doesn't get it. The expectation is that they will continue with the surveillance
state as planned.

Second to that, no one from the government has actually taken this statement to task. This indicates
that it will be business as usual for the NSA and CIA no matter what the laws of the land are.

Finally, the lack of actual caring from all quarters about this would indicate that all the elected representatives
in government are on board, no matter what their bobbing heads say on T.V. . Apparently the law doesn't apply to employees
of the state since no one fom the NSA has been arrested or fired.

Patriot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45819589)

The dude was revealing unconstitutional behavior on part of the US government towards it's own citizens. The "leak" was to the US electorate as a wake up call. The labels hero and patriot might apply, but certainly not traitor.

... return to the position... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 7 months ago | (#45819591)

Hopely never will get back to it. The position before disclosures were happily attacking, installing backdoors, infiltrating into private encrypted channels/vpns and networks, stripping everyone in the world of any hope of privacy (and enjoying it [go.com] ). Getting back means that even with this revelations they will continue to perpetrate those crimes and that the governments of the world didn't learnt anything from this event.

He is a defector (2)

Subm (79417) | about 7 months ago | (#45819609)

> "he used to describe leaker Edward Snowden as a "defector""

He is a defector. Away from the rogue near-nation of the NSA and toward the United States' Constitution.

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