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Obama Nominates Vice Admiral Michael Rogers New NSA Chief 138

Posted by samzenpus
from the big-boss-man dept.
wiredmikey writes "President Barack Obama has nominated a US Navy officer, Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, to take over as head of the embattled National Security Agency, the Pentagon said Thursday. Rogers, 53, would take the helm at a fraught moment for the spy agency, which is under unprecedented pressure after leaks from ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of its electronic spying. If confirmed by lawmakers, Rogers would also take over as head of the military's cyber warfare command. Rogers, who trained as an intelligence cryptologist, would succeed General Keith Alexander, who has served in the top job since 2005. He currently heads the US Fleet Cyber Command, overseeing the navy's cyber warfare specialists, and over a 30-year career has worked in cryptology and eavesdropping, or 'signals intelligence.' His confirmation hearings in the Senate are likely to be dominated by the ongoing debate about the NSA's espionage, and whether its sifting through Internet traffic and phone records violates privacy rights and democratic values."
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Obama Nominates Vice Admiral Michael Rogers New NSA Chief

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  • rebranded? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Infestedkudzu (2557914) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @08:14PM (#46115849)
    Is this what companies do when their product turns out to have lead paint in it or something.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      FTFY: after leaks from ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of its constitution violations and illegal spying on Americans and allies. Confirmed lawbreakers ...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by khallow (566160)
      The brand, "Committee for State Security" is currently available.
      • Re:rebranded? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @09:17PM (#46116227) Homepage Journal

        NSA Reputation Is Dirt

        Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2014 18:30:39 -0500

        From: William Allen Simpson
        <william.allen.simpson[at]gmail.com>

        To: Jerry Leichter <leichter[at]lrw.com>, John Kelsey
        <crypto.jmk[at]gmail.com>

        Subject: Re: [Cryptography] RSA is dead.

        I'm surprised at the sudden interest in my month old December 23 post.

        On 1/20/14 2:39 PM, Jerry Leichter wrote:

        On Jan 20, 2014, at 12:49 PM, John Kelsey <crypto.jmk[at]gmail.com>
        wrote:

        Perhaps this is the result of living in a government bubble for awhile, but
        I certainly saw and heard a lot of the bigger community who thought NSA's
        involvement in domestic crypto standards and companies was intended to improve
        security. That's why NSA people were and are openly members of a bunch of
        standards committees, why people invited NSA guys to give talks and take
        part in competitions, why people were using stuff like SE Linux. People have
        been using DSA, the NIST curves, SHA1, and SHA2 for many years, believing
        them secure--because the assumption was that NSA wasn't putting backdoored
        stuff out there.

        Absolutely. And it's not just a matter of living inside the government bubble.

        NSA has had a surprisingly good reputation pretty much until Snodownia. Before
        their involvement with DES, no one really knew anything about them - but
        every interaction I've ever heard of with NSA people left the impression
        that they were extremely bright and extremely competent. (A friend who, many
        years ago interviewed with both CIA and NSA, thought the interviewers for
        the former were a bunch of bumbling idiots, while he was very impressed with
        the latter. He never took a govern

        • by dbIII (701233)

          *treason* for posting the PPP CHAP internet-draft circa 1991

          You don't even get that for selling US made weapons to Hezbolla less than a year after they've killed more than 100 US Marines, so it's definitely a bit much for posting a draft standard.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          properly formatted direct link to the message [metzdowd.com]

          /AC (in this thread)

        • ...Have we forgotten that the NSA mole in the IETF, Steve Kent ...
          Have we forgotten that Steve Kent had the NSA (via the FBI) investigate me for *treason* for posting the PPP CHAP internet-draft circa 1991?

          Of course there must be some proof of these allegations? It seems pretty unlikely that a charge of treason would come about based on what is described.

          On the other hand this is posted on the internet, so it must be true.

      • The brand, "Committee for State Security" is currently available.

        Actually KGB is still in active use by one of the original KGB organizations [wikipedia.org] in Belarus. The founder of the Soviet Union's original secret police, the dreaded Cheka [wikipedia.org], was Felix "Iron Felix" Dzerzhinsky [wikipedia.org] who was born in Belarus. From what I hear they keep the "old traditions" going there.

      • Don't you mean "Committee for State Freedom and the Protection of Personal Rights and Liberty"

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The 12 zillionth story on NSA and Snowden and you couldn't find a bitcoin connection to go with it? Sloppy submission here.
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @08:15PM (#46115867) Homepage Journal

    "Yes"

    "Can you spy a lot?"

    "Yes"

    "You're hired."

    new hiring practice at the NSA

    • That's the old hiring practice. The new practice adds the additional question "Are you willing to spy a lot on the American people?"

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        That's the old hiring practice. The new practice adds the additional question "Are you willing to spy a lot on the American people?"

        Can you spy on the American People and play dumb, convincingly before Congress? (They authorized all this but now clamber over each other claiming shock and dismay while attempting to reach for the highest indignation.)

        • Re:Can you spy? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by s.petry (762400) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @09:07PM (#46116179)

          That's the old hiring practice. The new practice adds the additional question "Are you willing to spy a lot on the American people?"

          Can you spy on the American People and play dumb, convincingly before Congress? (They authorized all this but now clamber over each other claiming shock and dismay while attempting to reach for the highest indignation.)

          No they didn't. Americans never voted on this crap. Hell, Congress had no time to read the Patriot act until after the vote either. After the fact we all heard about how the terrorist would kill all of our children if we repealed this law instead of having any rational debate.

          Now you could claim that American's have been complacent and let things happen, that much I would agree with. This would also explain some of their shock and dismay as they see what the complacency has turned into.

          Even that is questionable. One of Obama's Hope and Change speeches claimed that the Patriot act had to go, and that Government needed to be more transparent.

          • There has been plenty of time since the Patriot Act was passed to read and revisit it. Other than relatively minor tuning it is still on the books. Although it is possible that candidate Obama was misleading the country on his intent, it could be that his views evolved with new information [faqs.org].

          • Hell, Congress had no time to read the Patriot act until after the vote either.

            This act wasn't etched in stone by God on a mountaintop; someone wrote it. While the bumblefuck congresscritters that voted on it without reading are accomplices, the real traitors are the authors that should be tried and convicted by the very judicial system they betrayed.

    • Well, duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arielCo (995647) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @10:02PM (#46116487)

      The NSA's job is to spy, so it makes sense to hire SIGINT people. The recent problem is who they've been spying on.

  • by DTentilhao (3484023) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @08:34PM (#46115971)
    "Developing countries have reacted angrily to revelations that the United States spied on other governments at the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009."

    "Documents leaked by Edward Snowden show how the US National Security Agency (NSA) monitored communication between key countries before and during the conference to give their negotiators advance information about other positions at the high-profile meeting where world leaders including Barack Obama, Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel failed to agree to a strong deal on climate change." link [theguardian.com]
    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Good. That's the sort of thing the NSA should be doing. Providing a dossier on the expected positions of other countries in a major summit.

      • by Xest (935314)

        Even more so when you consider that:

        1) This was the summit where Russia conveniently made a fuss about the hacked CRU e-mails that were taken only a few weeks before the summit

        2) Climate change has a genuine impact on national security interests, as it can change the quality of habitability of areas leading to destabilisation

        Really, when Russia tried to pull the rug out from under the summit because it's entire survival post-USSR collapse has been built off burning fossil fuels by being the likely culprit b

  • by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @08:36PM (#46115987)
    This suddenly makes me rather sad that the filibuster rules were changed for appointment confirmations. The Republicans had been using the filibuster against appointments far too frequently (traditionally one only goes after appointments if there is a serious problem), but this is precisely the kind of appointment where it might be useful. Even if I think most of them are cynical opportunists, I should very much like the opposition use this chance to put more pressure on the security state.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      This suddenly makes me rather sad that the filibuster rules were changed for appointment confirmations. The Republicans had been abusing the filibuster against appointments far too frequently (traditionally one only goes after appointments if there is a serious problem), but this is precisely the kind of appointment where it might be useful. Even if I think most of them are cynical opportunists, I should very much like the opposition use this chance to put more pressure on the security state.

      Yep, they thought they'd score some biggie whopper points with crying wolf and this is what we get for it.

    • by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday January 30, 2014 @09:17PM (#46116229) Journal

      The opposition had been using the filibuster against appointments far too frequently

      Fixed it for you. Hint: Democrats did the same thing.

      Worry not, they'll reap what they've sowed sooner or later, when the GOP controls the Senate and White House. Politics is cyclical.

      • Quite correct, and your moderation of "troll" is false.

        • Yeah, I don't understand the mods sometimes. In point of fact, Democrats did not filibuster so often in the past but, then, neither did Republicans under former Democractic presidents. And, yes, Democrats will come to regret the rules change but politics is a short term game (too short, indeed, for consideration of the common good). Even so, I agree with GP's sentiments. Even if I didn't, they aren't unreasonable. The mod was unfair and should be corrected.
      • by TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) on Friday January 31, 2014 @08:54AM (#46118803)

        That's a nice false equivalence you've got there. Too bad you miss the point. Almost half [politifact.com] of all of the nominee filibusters in the entire history of this country have been by this Republican party during this president's time in office.

        The Democrats have never even done close to the same thing.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This suddenly makes me rather sad that the filibuster rules were changed for appointment confirmations. The Republicans had been using the filibuster against appointments far too frequently (traditionally one only goes after appointments if there is a serious problem), but this is precisely the kind of appointment where it might be useful. Even if I think most of them are cynical opportunists, I should very much like the opposition use this chance to put more pressure on the security state.

      You do know that it possible for congress to block this appointment without a filibuster? All it would take is a few Democrats to vote with the Republicans.

      • Yes, I do know that. But I'm not asking that the appointment be blocked. Not only do I think that in most cases a president should have a staff of his choosing (again, excepting serious circumstances), but in this case I don't expect that anyone better or worse would be nominated in his place. Indeed, I know little about the nominee himself. What I want is for the opposition to complain loudly in front of the whole Senate, putting themselves on the record doing so. Then I should like the Democrats to save f

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Personally I think it's a very stupid abuse of Democracy. On project Gutenberg there's an interesting article by Mark Twain about a filibuster in the decaying Austrian Empire - looking at it from the outside may show you how stupid it is.
  • ...to the problem that is the NSA is the entire dismantling of the NSA as an agency. This indicates that won't happen. I'm, of course, not surprised.
    • by Zynder (2773551) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @09:02PM (#46116155)
      Dude, if they haven't dismantled the TSA, which visibly annoys people day in and day out, by now what even gave you a glimmer of hope it would happen this time? There have been so many opportunities to break up the TSA, repeal the Patriot Act, and all of the other nonsense that's been going but it seems the only person who gave a shit all of these years was Ron Paul. You see how well that went over. The only way you'll see the NSA or TSA dismantled will be when it becomes profitable for those who pay Congress' bills.
    • by symbolic (11752)

      What exactly would stop Congress from doing this (other than a lazy electorate that doesn't care enough to make it an issue)?

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      ...to the problem that is the NSA is the entire dismantling of the NSA as an agency.

      (a fool's hope) Failing that, sinking it to deep sea would do. Maybe that's why an admiral was appointed?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    He knows how to mine data effectively and have people thank him for the privilege of being spied on.
  • Is it just me... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cuncator (906265) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @09:00PM (#46116139)

    ... or is anyone else disturbed by the number of military personnel being appointed to civilian posts in the US government recently?

    At what point do we just give up and announce that we're ruled by a junta already?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Washington was a Major General.

      Learn you some history.

      • by cuncator (906265)

        And Washington was elected, not appointed. The President is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces so not strictly a civilian post.

        Your move, AC.

        • by dbIII (701233)
          That's just a meaningless extra title that should have been retired with George Washington. Of course the ruler of a nation also rules the military. In wartime Presidents have left it to a member of the armed forces to actually run the war. Lincoln didn't command troops - he got other people to do that for him.
          Thus - "not a civilian post" is either silly or sinister depending on motivation.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by sourcerror (1718066)

            Abraham Lincoln was deeply involved in overall strategy and in day-to-day operations during the American Civil War, 1861–1865; historians have given Lincoln high praise for his strategic sense and his ability to select and encourage commanders such as Ulysses S. Grant.[39] ... Harry S. Truman believed in a high amount of civilian leadership of the military, making many tactical and policy decisions based on the recommendations of his advisors— including the decision to use nuclear weapons on Japan, to commit American forces in the Korean War, and to terminate Douglas MacArthur from his command.[42]

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

            • by dbIII (701233)

              Harry S. Truman believed in a high amount of civilian leadership of the military

              Which has led to a great deal of criticism of Truman from the otherwise disinterested (ie. people who don't care what political party he was in). I think it's on topic and not a Godwin to bring up Hitler's obsession with various targets instead of the military suggestion of containing them and going around. It's just as well for us today that Hitler believed in a high amount of civilian leadership of the military and was so ba

    • See, ignorance is half our problem. This has long been a practice of the US government, and people these days...it's like they're Rip van Winkle and have no idea what the political situation has been like.

      Moreover there is substantial support for what you might call the "USA = worse than Nazi Germany" attitude. It's not true but a certain subset really enjoys saying it and never grows tired of repeating it.

    • ... or is anyone else disturbed by the number of military personnel being appointed to civilian posts in the US government recently?

      Perhaps you missed all the mergers and acquistions going on with the TLA's, CyberCommand, etc., but bear in mind that Alexander controls[->ed?] actual military assets and (IIRC) two batallions.

      You can't call the NSA a civilian agency any longer.

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        It always was very very milatery (an in a by the book mandatory hairlength inspections sort of way) when compared to say GCHQ - which has a much more civil service style
      • It never was a civilian agency! It has, since day one, been a military op!

    • by kheldan (1460303)
      I look at it this way: It could be very, very good, or very, very bad for the U.S. that this man is ex military brass. To elaborate, he's either going to be above-average when it comes to being honorable, law-abiding, and respectful of citizens' rights, incapable of having his core values compromised, or he's going to be an overgrown Boy Scout who thinks that blindly carrying out the orders and directives of his superiors is the highest calling he can aspire to. Only time will tell which this man turns out
    • by Anonymous Coward

      In the history of the NSA (and its predecessor, the Armed Forces Security Agency), there has never been a Director who wasn't a military officer.

    • The NSA subordinate to the DoD... as such it is a military operation. I'll remind you that it is headquartered on a military base, namely Ft. Mead.
      That being said. It is not unusual for a military operation (SIGINT) to be managed by a military officer.

  • Serious question, not a semantic game: What is the difference between a cryptologist (as Rogers is described) and a cryptographer?

    A quick search didn't turn up any answers that inspired confidence, I figured there must be people here who can answer...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Cryptologist tends to break codes, cryptographer makes them. Cryptologic Linguist, intercepts enemy signals, and breaks the codes.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Some people work to create codes, some work to break codes over their life. Thats the traditional war time race as presented in books and movies.
      A cryptologist fully understands the tasks but brings many other skills.
      How to interact with other working groups (in the US in the distant past Army, Navy efforts, private sector, education, other nations staff), other friendly nations and the political/funding/tech dynamics at any point in time.
      In the way distant past in the US (1930's) you would face quest
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Serious question, not a semantic game: What is the difference between a cryptologist (as Rogers is described) and a cryptographer?

      A cryptolologist speaks cryptically (from the greak "logos" - speech). A talent very much in need to (un)explain to other people (and potentially the congress) what NSA is doing.

      A cryptographer writes or draws cryptical things (graphein - to write/draw). Given that even /.-ers don't have time to RTFA (even if they actually have time to otherwise waste engaging in comments... take this as an example)... ummm... not a very useful skill for the head of an govt agency.

      (ducks)

  • Clapper (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    When is Clapper getting charged with lying to Congress? He even admitted to it.

  • Just start loading large numbers of people...oh excuse me, "undesirables" into box cars and kill them and be done with it.

    This can't lead to anything else.

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