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The NSA Has an Advice Columnist

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the dan-savage-was-busy dept.

Government 77

First time accepted submitter DTentilhao writes "On Friday, Glenn Greenwald's new website The Intercept published a number of internal NSA documents that didn't necessarily reveal any great state secrets, but instead cast some light on the NSA's office culture. Those documents, leaked by former security contractor Edward Snowden, were actually from an advice column series, written by a 20-year veteran of NSA management under the pen name 'Zelda.'" Here's the Intercept report.

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Dear Zelda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440015)

I have a friend called Slashdot that keeps reposting new stories. Please help.

Yours

A concerned spy

Re:Dear Zelda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440065)

Dear Concerned Spy,
There is no time like the present to dig deeper for conspiracies.
Look further than the one bad actor who has been sold down the river as a patsy, and consider the motivations of the people who own the 'reporter' and the 'news outlets', which are working the hardest to keep the story alive
Never forget political motivation because it is second only to greed in motivating these sorts of actions (altruism, imho, places a distant third)
No spy was ever fired for being paranoid
Zelda

Dear Zelda: what about my second job? (2)

davecb (6526) | about 5 months ago | (#46441107)

I have heard that sysadmins here regularly take salable material home, but when I asked my boss, he said I was being silly. Can I really have a side business selling secrets so long as it's to Americans? Or do I have to leave all that money on the table...

in related news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440019)

glen greenwald milks his shot at fame for all that its worth

Re:in related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440039)

glen greenwald milks his shot at fame for all that its worth

Why shouldn't he? Why do you hate capitalism?

Re:in related news (0, Troll)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | about 5 months ago | (#46440119)

m'kay
so... selling US government secrets to the remnants of the old Soviet Union is now called 'free market capitalism'
Not to mention the celebrity stop-over in China on the way
And before you go and claim that greenwald was just reporting on a story, consider how much effort he put in to make the whole thing happen
There is a pretty strong reason that greenwald has no intention of setting foot back in America, and it is not (as he claims) the defense of marriage act since the relevant statutes were knocked down by the SCOTUS

Re:in related news (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 5 months ago | (#46440201)

selling US government secrets to the remnants of the old Soviet Union is now called 'free market capitalism'

Yes. Yes, it is.

What, you were expecting something more idealistic? Sorry, sucker, welcome to the real world.

Re:in related news (0)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 months ago | (#46440503)

Participation in fraud and selling stolen goods is hardly capitalism.

well, to the idiots who don't know any better, maybe it is but in reality it is no different then me selling your car out from under you. I know, I know, information wants to be free, but giving something away for free isn't capitalism either.

Maybe you should look into the theory of capitalism a bit and this time read past the title and forward of the books.

Re:in related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440681)

What fraud? What stolen goods? Do you mean "copied goods"?

Re:in related news (0)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 months ago | (#46440767)

I mean the goods that were illegally taken and possessed and illegally disseminated. You know exactly what I'm talking about which is why you are posting AC instead of having such idiocy assicited in any way that could follow you.

Re:in related news (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 5 months ago | (#46442439)

Participation in fraud and selling stolen goods is hardly capitalism. ... Maybe you should look into the theory of capitalism a bit and this time read past the title and forward of the books.

Maybe you should look at how things work in the real world instead of believing what a bunch of philosophers tell you they think ought to happen. Hint: Karl Marx and Ayn Rand both developed economic theories that were entirely logical and self-consistent.

Re:in related news (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 months ago | (#46493465)

If I call myself a christian but do not go to church, violate every single commandment and do not acknowledge Jesus was ever alive, am I really a christian?

Was Hilter's socialist Germany really representative of socialism or communism? Was Stalin's socialism actually socialism.

I think we are adults here and being so, we can actually be realistic in our interpretations of real world events. Fraud and stolen goods are actually against the law are they not? So you do not really think people violating the law is actually part of capitalism do you? Or do you think it is more like people trying to exploit capitalism or the people involved in it?

Re:in related news (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#46440173)

Because it sucks.

(Actually, the answer to both questions)

Re:in related news (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 5 months ago | (#46462233)

glen greenwald milks his shot at fame for all that its worth

Livin' the American Dream!

There will be a film about this modern American hero (despite the fact that he's not American, and is gay. I think.), if there isn't one already.

Zelda? (1)

o_ferguson (836655) | about 5 months ago | (#46440027)

NERD!

From the Ask Zelda column: (4, Funny)

SailorSpork (1080153) | about 5 months ago | (#46440069)

You and your co-workers could ask [the supervisor] for a team meeting and lay out the issue as you see it: “We feel like you don’t trust us and we aren’t comfortable making small talk anymore for fear of having our desks moved if we’re seen as being too chummy.” (Leave out the part about the snitches.) Tell him how this is hampering collaboration and affecting the work, ask him if he has a problem with the team’s behavior, and see what he says. Encourage him to come directly to the employee in question if he has a concern (rather than ask a third party to gather intel for him).



Trust is hard to rebuild once it has been broken. Your work center may take time to heal after this deplorable practice has been discontinued, but give it time and hopefully the open cooperation you once enjoyed will return.

Ironic, Big Brother.

Re:From the Ask Zelda column: (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 5 months ago | (#46440171)

Ironic, Big Brother.

True, but finally these people are just doing a job .. They don't decide on the evil NSA policies . They just do their thing .. and it's really irritating to have such an environment to work in . Irrespective of whom you work for , The NSA , the Corleone family or Micro$fot

Re:From the Ask Zelda column: (4, Informative)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 5 months ago | (#46440353)

"just doing a job" is no excuse.

Re:From the Ask Zelda column: (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 5 months ago | (#46440431)

"just doing a job" is no excuse.

No excuse for what ? . Thanks to snowden , we now know that its just like any other workplace . Insecure bosses .. usual employee woes . and an aunt zelda too ! . Nothing really James Bondish as portrayed in hollywood flicks.

Re:From the Ask Zelda column: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46441827)

I choose to believe that Archer is an accurate depiction of the intelligence world.

Nazis (5, Insightful)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 5 months ago | (#46440705)

"just doing a job" is no excuse.

This. A huge number of corporations and firms, generally because it happens do be profitable rather than out of malice, do *really* bad things. It's not like the guy whose job it is to deny insurance claims or the insurance "adjuster" is somehow insulated from moral culpability because it's his job to basically commit fraud. Excuse me, minimize claims.

"Just following orders" is a highly relevant phrase here. If freedom from government surveillance is a basic right, then people who are "just following orders" to abridge that right are culpable for having done so, even though they were following orders.

Re:Nazis (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 5 months ago | (#46441557)

And the crew of the "enola gay" are war heroes.

Re:Nazis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46441723)

It's kind of a tough question--the morality of Hiroshima. It's not quite like other clearly immoral acts in the context of war, such as

1) Japanese comfort women
2) War on Terror torture
3) Holocaust

All of these things were pre-meditated and ongoing, intensely personal as far as the victim and their assailant was concerned, not directly related to the war effort, and objectively unnecessary. Except for maybe the first, Hiroshima doesn't fit the mold.

Of course, there's only ambiguity if we accept the notion of justified wars (and by the end of WWII, America was clearly on the offensive). If we don't, then it was clearly wrong.

Re:Nazis (2)

HiThere (15173) | about 5 months ago | (#46442379)

The concept of "justified war" has too major problems:
1) If you accept it, how do you avoid the slippery slope? I can't think of a government in history that has avoided it.
2) If you don't accept it, how do you defend yourself from an aggressor?

Perhaps the actual problem is the way idea space is being partitioned, but I don't see how it could be partitioned to solve the problem. I tend to suspect that the actual problem relates to centralized authority, but a decentralized authority tends to have a slow reaction time when decisions need to be made.

So far the only plausible solution I've seen involves centralized decision residing in an AI, but first a reliable AI needs to be created.

Re:Nazis (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 5 months ago | (#46453807)

The concept of "justified war" has too major problems:
1) If you accept it, how do you avoid the slippery slope? I can't think of a government in history that has avoided it.
2) If you don't accept it, how do you defend yourself from an aggressor?

The answer to #1 is #2--war is justified when used to defend yourself from an aggressor. The world agreed on this in the Charter of the United Nations, which is why every tinpot dictator now claims his wars are in "self-defense." That claim is what makes wars legal.

That being said, people disagree on what constitutes self-defense, and they lie about it, so you still have a problem.

Re:Nazis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46443201)

Well, duh. They were on the winning side. The winner is always right.

Re:From the Ask Zelda column: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440753)

That depends. Someone like an Adolf Eichmann, who knew exactly what was happening in a Concentration Camp, and even worked to make it more efficient, has no excuse. There are certainly people at NSA who would be in that level of "know". General Alexander would certainly be in that tier.

The question is what individual NSA workers know about what they are doing in general. Some certainly know the full extent of what they are doing and believe in it. Others are working on bits and pieces of intelligence. Intel is generally very compartmentalized, which is why Snowden having as much access as he did is extremely unusual, and pretty much because someone has to have the root password and that happened to be his job.

If you work in intelligence, you're already aware that you're probably breaking somebody's laws. The crucial difference is that it should be the laws of a target country, not your own.

Frequently, you may be an analyst handed a set of data from a codenamed program and never know how it came to be. You might guess from context that this came from a US source, but otherwise you might have no clue. And you're not supposed to know. If it is from tapping a submarine cable off the coast of Russia, you're probably not going to want that to get out. Unfortunately, it could also have come from trolling Google's network.

Re:From the Ask Zelda column: (4, Insightful)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 5 months ago | (#46440781)

The question is what individual NSA workers know about what they are doing in general.

At this point, how could they not? Even if they didn't know before, they definitely do now; there's no avoiding it.

Re:From the Ask Zelda column: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46442975)

How could they possibly know which version of events to believe? I sure don't.

Re:From the Ask Zelda column: (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 5 months ago | (#46443459)

How could they possibly know? Are you serious? After all these leaks showing that the NSA is violating basically everyone's privacy and the fourth amendment, and the NSA even admitting that they're collecting tons of metadata, you ask how they could know which version of events to believe?

The recursive spies (5, Interesting)

pesho (843750) | about 5 months ago | (#46440107)

From he TFA:

Here’s the scenario: when the boss sees co-workers having a quiet conversation, he wants to know what is being said (it’s mostly work related). He has his designated “snitches” and expects them to keep him apprised of all the office gossip – even calling them at home and expecting a run-down! This puts the “designees” in a really awkward position; plus, we’re all afraid any offhand comment or anything said in confidence might be either repeated or misrepresented. Needless to say, this creates a certain amount of tension between team members who normally would get along well, and adds stress in an already stressful atmosphere. There is also an unspoken belief that he will move people to different desks to break up what he perceives as people becoming too “chummy.” (It’s been done under the guise of “creating teams.”)

We used to be able to joke around a little or talk about our favorite “Idol” contestant to break the tension, but now we’re getting more and more skittish about even the most mundane general conversations (“Did you have a good weekend?”). This was once a very open, cooperative group who worked well together. Now we’re more suspicious of each other and teamwork is becoming harder. Do you think this was the goal? Silenced in SID

Holy s**!. They have an old school spying operation within their new fangled hi-tech enterprise. This is how every single commie regime including the one in my old country used to operate. Everyone around you could be a snitch and something as innocent as an anecdote told to a friend could get you in trouble. You have to love the irony!

Re:The recursive spies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440225)

Apparently, the employees' concerns were ignored since the actions of the supervisor are now in-line with the Obama administration's national "Insider Threat Policy". [whitehouse.gov]

Re:The recursive spies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440519)

Holy s**!. They have an old school spying operation within their new fangled hi-tech enterprise. This is how every single commie regime including the one in my old country used to operate. Everyone around you could be a snitch and something as innocent as an anecdote told to a friend could get you in trouble. You have to love the irony!

--- Quote tags aren't working in beta?? ---

Irony? Why would you even pretend to be surprised given what they do? A reasonable person would EXPECT a level of suspicion in an organization like this.

What separates "all your information is for sale" freedom from "lock you away for your opinions" oppression is the "could get you in trouble" part.

Information brokering is older than dirt, and get used to it because THAT part is present everywhere from the most oppressive governments to the most free. It's a little nuts that on Slashdot, on the Internet... I have to gently remind everyone, "information wants to be free". The collective NIMBYism regarding that makes me laugh.

Heh, y'all want copies of music free because that "doesn't cost anything", but good gravy, don't let the insurance companies know you smoke, double DRM that and glue the neighbor's nose shut!

Re:The recursive spies (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#46440603)

_Every_ office has management snitches. Some are open, their job is, in part, keeping management informed. Some are less openly snitches. Usually they are trying to advance their own position.

The trick is to identify all the snitches early, then feed them disinformation at just the right time. Usually that means you had to feed them a little good information first, just to identify the data paths and get them to have confidence in you as a source. This means others could see you in their snitch identification tests. Be careful what information you use in your tests. Don't throw anybody under a bus.

Re:The recursive spies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46441017)

_Every_ office

False. Mine doesn't. Furthermore, the practice would be illegal in my country and the responsible manager would be looking at a mandatory 3-year PRISON sentence for this type of thing.

Re:The recursive spies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46442709)

Wow, prison sentences for gossip and rumors? What country are you in?

Re:The recursive spies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46443153)

_Every_ office has management snitches. Some are open, their job is, in part, keeping management informed. Some are less openly snitches. Usually they are trying to advance their own position.

My, what a sad world you live in! I could never be certain, but I am pretty sure my office doesn't have any snitches. And the only time I have talked to management about my co-workers, it was to tell them when I thought someone was doing exemplary work for the organization. You can call it reverse-snitching, if you like. Snitches just make for a poisonous work atmosphere. Remember, you don't have to tear others down to get ahead.

Re:The recursive spies (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#46445937)

Snitching is a grey area. Suppose someone came to work extra, extra drunk and started to drive a company vehicle? Now suppose someone tells a coworker (s)he's on a third round of interviews to escape.

Those are end points of the 'snitching' spectrum. You should do something about the drunk, not necessarily snitch. Many people don't get the difference and just think management is entitled to know both things.

I bet you're the snitch. Also note the middle mangers are snitches by definition.

Re:The recursive spies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46450873)

Suppose someone came to work extra, extra drunk and started to drive a company vehicle?

Yeah, that's bad. They should only come in normally drunk before driving the company vehicle. Maybe extra drunk if it's a specially occasion, but extra, extra drunk is inexcusable and should be reported.

Re:The recursive spies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440881)

And old school advice about it. "Tell the supervisor you think they're being an office micromanager and spy, so they can start the paper trail to of 'offenses' with which to fire you and avoid lawsuit for discrimination or ever providing a pension. And don't let the door hit your ass on the way out."

This is sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440127)

What scandalous news! The American people will never stand for it!
Finally, after the previous reveals of illegal spying and lying to the public weren't enough, THIS is what will finally bring those evil bastards to justice.

Awaken, O America! The NSA has an advice column!

And that's my problem with Snowden... (0)

TrekkieGod (627867) | about 5 months ago | (#46440133)

Is there any reason this should have been leaked? Yeah, we can poke fun at the irony of NSA co-workers concerned about their office gossip being spied upon and how they consider that an intrusion of their privacy. Does it constitute information a whistleblower should disseminate? The point isn't that this is damaging to national security, it's an advice column, but it was happening inside their intranet and not cleared for public scrutiny.

My problem with Snowden isn't that he leaked info about NSA unconstitutional activities. If you see your employers doing something blatenly illegal, it's your duty to do something about. My problem is that his leaks are completely indiscrimate. He didn't just deliver the documents that contained information on what he considered were illegal activities by the NSA. He took everything he could get his hands on and turned it in to journalists. I don't know how he could possibly justify that.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#46440185)

They're paid for by your taxes. I'd say you have a right to see whether they're doing their job or whether your money is being squandered on frivolous crap like an "advice column".

But if you don't care, hey, it ain't my money!

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (4, Insightful)

TrekkieGod (627867) | about 5 months ago | (#46440275)

They're paid for by your taxes. I'd say you have a right to see whether they're doing their job or whether your money is being squandered on frivolous crap like an "advice column".

Managing employees is hard. If you just crack the whip and make them do nothing but focus non-stop on the task at hand, they're going to be much less productive and waste much more of your money than if you actually invest a bit of money on keeping morale high and put out the small fires in human interaction that happens when not everyone in your team is socially compatible.

The NSA would be no different in this than a private company. You take a tremendously successful company like Google, and they're spending money on play rooms and free food for their employees. If that makes them more productive by causing some of them to not have a problem staying in the office longer to work on a problem and others to get a burst of creativity that you only get when you quit thinking about the problem for a bit and free your mind, then that investment is worth every penny. If that advice column is helping your team deal with problems they encounter in an effective way and thus making them able to work together more effectively, it's far from "frivolous crap."

If, on the other hand, it was a leak about the NSA giving every project manager a free Ferrari, you'd have a point.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 5 months ago | (#46440285)

I feel I have every right to know what my lovely little government thugs are doing.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (3, Insightful)

TrekkieGod (627867) | about 5 months ago | (#46440319)

I feel I have every right to know what my lovely little government thugs are doing.

Is your point of view that there should be no such thing as classified information, and that every single thing the government does and knows should be public domain and easily accessible to everyone?

If so I disagree with you, but find your position internally consistent and wouldn't argue with it. It's just a matter of opinion, and I don't share yours as I find that secrets are sometimes necessary and unavoidable. If, however, you see the benefit in the government keeping some secrets, then you must expect people who are in position to have access to these secrets to exercise a high level of caution and discreteness when they find it necessary to overrule the system in place that decides what is classified and what is public. When necessary to stop illegal behavior, you disclose what it is absolutely necessary and not a single thing more.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#46440731)

It should be classified information that the NSA employs a "Dear Selma" column? Yeah, knowing that now will certainly give the terrorists an edge...

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440891)

I feel I have every right to know what my lovely little government thugs are doing.

Is your point of view that there should be no such thing as classified information, and that every single thing the government does and knows should be public domain and easily accessible to everyone?

They had our trust. The moment they classified data that shouldn't be classified they lost it.
If NSA wants to continue their operation then yes, they shouldn't be allowed to classify any kind of information.
Once NSA is dismantled and the people responsible put in jail I could be fine with another organization having similar responsibilities as long as no-one from NSA works there.

Re: And that's my problem with Snowden... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440425)

Have you ever seen some of the wall walkers that work at the NSA? I mean really, these people couldn't intimidate a slug, calling them thugs is insulting to street corner criminals everywhere.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 5 months ago | (#46440509)

I feel I have every right to know what my lovely little government thugs are doing.

Does everyone else also have that right? How about someone who is engaged in a securities scam or human trafficking? Should they be informed about the under cover officer who is working to see them put away for stealing people's money or prostituting teenage girls? How would you like that information delivered to you and to those criminals? Do you prefer an RSS feed, or perhaps a PDF emailed weekly?

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 5 months ago | (#46440595)

Does everyone else also have that right?

If it's available to someone like me, don't you think it would also be available to the general public? What a pointless question.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 5 months ago | (#46442263)

If it's available to someone like me, don't you think it would also be available to the general public? What a pointless question.

You can't really be that dim, which means you're just being disingenuous in the extreme.

But I'll play along.

So in exchange for total transparency, you're willing to let gangs, child traffickers, massive scam operations, and much worse simply carry on? People we now lock up for really evil crap, based on the hard work of undercover cops ... you're cool with them doing business as usual, unmolested by law enforcement because you'd like the child-pimping slime to get updates from the Bureau Of Openness on all government activity?

And don't play stupid. Address the issue.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 5 months ago | (#46443449)

And don't play stupid. Address the issue.

Play stupid? I thought I answered the question adequately. If all this information is public, how the hell wouldn't they find out? Looks like cops will have to find another way of enforcing the law, which may be less effective, but that would be for the best.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 5 months ago | (#46444875)

Play stupid? I thought I answered the question adequately. If all this information is public, how the hell wouldn't they find out? Looks like cops will have to find another way of enforcing the law, which may be less effective, but that would be for the best.

Ah, you really are that dim. Is that physically painful?

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 5 months ago | (#46445305)

I did answer your question. That you can't figure out that I answered it suggests that you're the one who's dim.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 5 months ago | (#46452097)

No, you deliberately answered the wrong aspect of the question in order to avoid addressing the fact that you can't run a society that is plagued by a small but toxic fringe of awful people and groups without telling them everything you're doing to stop them, minute by minute. You know this, but you're pretending you're too dumb to grasp it. Why, I can't imagine. You're a transparency puritan troll, I guess.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 5 months ago | (#46453325)

No, you deliberately answered the wrong aspect of the question in order to avoid addressing the fact that you can't run a society that is plagued by a small but toxic fringe of awful people and groups without telling them everything you're doing to stop them

Nonsense. Society is incredibly resilient. If it can survive garbage like the TSA, the NSA spying, DUI checkpoints, free speech zones, unfettered border searches, stop-and-frisk, Jim Crow laws, the internment of Japanese citizens, rampant sexism, slavery, and all the other freedom-violating nonsense the government has done or is doing, it can survive a few criminals running around. Don't be dramatic.

Also, my answer to your questions were obvious if you just put 2 and 2 together. It's fun watching you struggle to do that, though.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#46440727)

Fine. But at the very least I think the public has a right to KNOW it. It's your money at work there, and if you pay for it I think you should at least be interested in its spending.

Whether or not that expense is justified is not something I should decide, I agree. It's something the taxpayers of the United States should decide.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46441953)

Managing employees is hard. If you just crack the whip and make them do nothing but focus non-stop on the task at hand, they're going to be much less productive and waste much more of your money than if you actually invest a bit of money on keeping morale high and put out the small fires in human interaction that happens when not everyone in your team is socially compatible.

Morale is what makes the biggest difference when a bullet is coming your way. If you ensure high morale in your subordinates, they'll take the bullet for you, while subordinates with low morale will often be the ones firing it.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440447)

Rights come with responsibility. Here it means that you have a responsibility to deal maturely with data and contextualise it.

If you have had to manage complex projects involving people - who have skills, needs, and personalities - you'd understand that there is a wide spectrum of ways you could organise, depending on what you are doing, the complexity, the need to retain people, and of course, the fact that I am not a robot at work, and I don't expect people who are in the public sector need to treated like robots to make me feel better.

One person's frivolous crap is another's "office social" and another's "the yearly ballgame we sponsor for the local school".

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46442473)

The thing is, keeping things secret is tantamount in us doing a good job, so we can't actually tell you what it is can we? You just have to trust us and go back to your daily life. There's no cause for concern if you haven't done anything wrong.

Yours Patriotically,
NSA Anonymous Coward

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#46444481)

If I told some bull like that to my boss, I'd be fired. And rightfully so.

Why should someone being paid by your money get away with it?

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (2)

PPH (736903) | about 5 months ago | (#46440205)

Is there any reason this should have been leaked?

Yes. It gives people some interesting insight into the culture of such an organization. The general public gets an idea of how insulated from mainstream society and ethics these employees have to be kept in order to remain functional in their jobs.

The alternative would be hoping that your employees obfuscate details of their job functions when writing to Dear Abbey. "How do I tell the guy in the next cubicle not to laugh out loud every time he reads Angela Merkel's e-mails?" Beyond that, handling basic ethical and moral issues need to be handled differently. How would you explain to a parent and NSA employee that their teenage kid needs some personal space and trust as they grow up when you are logging all of their text messages, e-mail and phone conversations?

Re: And that's my problem with Snowden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440315)

Trusting your teen is easy when you have visibility into what they are doing. It is as though you have been transported to the 1800's, your family works on a farm, and the nearest neighbor is a 45 minute walk away. When your teen is out too late or you get an odd feeling, you just turn on the GPS chip implanted in their neck and engage the retractable leash in their ass. Problem solved within minutes!

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 5 months ago | (#46440365)

The thing is we do need to see it. Otherwise well if you are not doing anything wrong you have nothing to fear crowd wins. It's import people see not even the NSA likes the way the NSA behaviors.

This sorta of thing helps people recognize being spied on always sucks! Maybe it's dumb crap like some exec assigns you a shitty parking space because they read you IM log about how Obama sucks with they guy in the cube next to you or whatever, but nobody should like being spied upon.

The level of data mining going on now is getting to the point where visiting the wrong websites might soon mark you for IRS audits and similar and that isn't good for democracy.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

bigfoottoo (2947459) | about 5 months ago | (#46440857)

I have pondered long and hard about how to characterize you NSA-Types. And, then it came to me in a flash: You guys are the weasels in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". That's it! From now on, when one of you starts spouting off I will instantly form an image of those slimy bastards! Thanks for your inspirational posting, TrekkieGod!

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 5 months ago | (#46443395)

Well.... you remember that old commercial where the father finds the kids drugs and asks him where he learned about all this stuff. What does the kid say? Come on...you remember it....

"I learned it from watching you".

Gee, just how does he justify slurping up all their records indiscriminately....maybe...he learned that somewhere.

Re:And that's my problem with Snowden... (1)

pentadecagon (1926186) | about 5 months ago | (#46443629)

Is there any reason this should have stayed private? This is certainly interesting information, and nobody gets hurt by having this publicly. In fact it is very interesting information, because it reveals the sort of mindset within that agency: People do to others what they don't accept being done to themselves. This is sick.

Solution To End "Ukrainian Crises" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440341)

Just got the solution so I had to find a place to post and where NSA can get it and pass it along to POTUS.

To solve the "Ukrainian Crises" we meaning USA give the Marine Base and GITMO Facility back to Cuba in exchange for the Russia/Crimea to give Crimea and Facilities to Ukraine.

There it is. Jolly Good Swap I'd say.

Ha ha

fuck beta for all time forever (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46440389)

fuck beta for all time forever fuck beta for all time forever fuck beta for all time forever

Dear NSA_Abby, (1)

mrflash818 (226638) | about 5 months ago | (#46440589)

"You keep stalking me and all my fellow citizens, everywhere and all the time.

You have been caught trying to sabotage secure relationships.

Why can't you accept boundaries? Why can't you focus your efforts solely on targeted efforts?"

-- Signed, Publius ; )

Small Government (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 5 months ago | (#46442249)

Let's begin making government smaller by getting rid of the NSA. Imagine the savings to the tax payer!

Dearest Zelda, (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 5 months ago | (#46442281)

My Dearest Princess Zelda,

Have we not found the missing Link in Snowden?

P.S. It's dangerous to go alone.
Take this.

- Dangerous Kitten

The real Zelda, (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 5 months ago | (#46444051)

Not only played instruments, waved a sword at baddies and turned into a wolf. He could use paragraphs.
Like this one here.

"Spy no need learn English yes?"
"Spy only need Twitter, must 150 letters yes?"

Good to know, I'am being spied on by someone who is just a glorified, selfish, Twitter fuck.

Re:The real Zelda, (1)

GuB-42 (2483988) | about 5 months ago | (#46444923)

I suppose you are talking about Link... I'm just trying to imagine something written by Link.

"Yaaaaa! Hay! Ugh! Heyaaaahh!"
"Ha! Ha! Hayaaaa!"
"Whaaaaaa!"

Dear Alice (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 5 months ago | (#46444179)

Dear Alice,

Eve keeps listening in on my conversations. What can I do to make her stop?

Thanks,

Bob

Nope. Nope. Nope. (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about 5 months ago | (#46448367)

I came here to read this article and engage in the discussion. I am leaving because of Beta. I will not use Slashdot with Beta. Fuck it. It's horrible.

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