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United States Government Politics

5 Years on, US Government Still Counting Snowden Leak Costs (apnews.com) 172

National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the lid off U.S. government surveillance methods five years ago, but intelligence chiefs complain that revelations from the trove of classified documents he disclosed are still trickling out. From a report: That includes recent reporting on a mass surveillance program run by close U.S. ally Japan and on how the NSA targeted bitcoin users to gather intelligence to combat narcotics and money laundering. The Intercept, an investigative publication with access to Snowden documents, published stories on both subjects. The top U.S. counterintelligence official said journalists have released only about 1 percent taken by the 34-year-old American, now living in exile in Russia, "so we don't see this issue ending anytime soon." "This past year, we had more international, Snowden-related documents and breaches than ever," Bill Evanina, who directs the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said at a recent conference. "Since 2013, when Snowden left, there have been thousands of articles around the world with really sensitive stuff that's been leaked."

5 Years on, US Government Still Counting Snowden Leak Costs

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TimMD909 ( 260285 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @03:54PM (#56727038) Homepage
    I'm happy to hear they're still facing consequences, even if those consequences aren't nearly severe enough to make me content.
  • And 200+ years on (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @03:57PM (#56727054)
    in the history of the United States and Cop Math [jayleiderman.com] is still a thing.
  • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @03:57PM (#56727058)

    The government isn't really doing anything to prevent a Snowden 2.0 either. They're still after prosecuting him, which means the next Snowden will also flee overseas and leak to the media. There isn't really a "legal" way for someone like Snowden to report government abuses; the only alternative is through the media.

    I've not seen the government make any steps to prevent the next Snowden from following the same steps Snowden made.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The US gov and mil hired random contractors to watch over each other as the do sensitive tasks.
      Every contractor has a larger file on them covering their education, friends, computer use, politics, movements, new friends, spending.
      The systems to detect personality problems that make a contractor talk to the media are in place.
      Contractors are collected on at work, in other nations while they work for the USA and at back in the USA at home.
      The spending on the buddy system, more contractors and experts will
      • The US gov and mil hired random contractors to watch over each other as the do sensitive tasks. Every contractor has a larger file on them covering their education, friends, computer use, politics, movements, new friends, spending. The systems to detect personality problems that make a contractor talk to the media are in place. Contractors are collected on at work, in other nations while they work for the USA and at back in the USA at home. The spending on the buddy system, more contractors and experts will discover any personality with the change in personality that results in the need to talk to the media. A lot of work was done to find the how, why and when of media contact. Anyone in the media is also watched for new contacts within the US gov, mil.

        So the cost of doing anything just doubled, one worker to work and a second worker to snoop on the actual worker. That does indeed sound like government. Specifically the paranoid type that fell in the late 80's.

        • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
          The idea is that the contractors have new ideas about detecting media contacting traits.
          Lots of new contacts for psychiatrists and psychologists.
          The tracking of spending habits, holidays, web use, reading material.
          Any attempt to complain internally. Any use of the internal legal system to report problems and irregularities.
          The study of anyone with a clearance 4 hops from a person with a clearance who feels the need to report a problem.
          The main thrust is spending habits, hobbies, changes to online
    • by Anonymous Coward

      > I've not seen the government make any steps to prevent the next Snowden from following the same steps Snowden made.

      My understanding is that Administrators' access has been dramatically cut, and checking out an administrative credential now requires two separate people to accomplish the task.

      If that's right, and I don't work PubSec so I can't say for sure, then you have to find two Snowdens that happen to work together, trust each other enough to work together on the data exfil, and are willing to give

  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @03:57PM (#56727062)
    On my tiny violin.
  • by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @04:05PM (#56727134)

    Wouldn't it be cheaper to, you know, not rely on extraordinary rendition, illegal spying, extra-constitutional structurally biased special courts, intra-agency webs of secrecy, and all that?

    This seems more than a bit like "If it weren't for those darn meddling kids, everything would have been fine, JUST FINE," then complaining how expensive that now-ruined mask on the floor was.

    Ryan Fenton

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Right. It's not even clear who their audience is here. The people in power will spend whatever it costs to cement and maintain their power. The people in power also stay there by transferring money from the middle class to their special interests, for instance the intelligence contractors, so if more money is being spent in intelligence, it's not clear who loses besides the people who are being spied on themselves.

      It's telling that they're especially interested in Bitcoin because its only the value of th

    • They should make information about government breaking federal or state laws non-classifiable.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "everything would have been fine"

      The problem for the US gov is the hiring practices.
      Too many random people entering the US gov/mil have to be considered not for their loyalty and skill.

      The US gov could just hire on merit. Have top experts fill every sensitive gov job.
      The political leaders over decades have filled the US mil with random contractors and workers.
      Created mil/gov jobs in random states to win votes.
      Jobs that have to be filled from a random pool of local workers.

      The UK went for the
      • When hiring people you need to know what kind of trustworthyness you are seeking. People who can be trusted not to sell data to the Russians are a different group than people who can be trusted to not call the cops over your illegal activities.
        • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
          The US had a good system for that in the 1950-1980's
          The FBI would interview and walk the life story of anyone wanting a clearance.
          Their faith, politics, citizenship, any crimes, reading material, hobbies, unusual lifestyles, spending habits, debts, education, ability to learn, politics while getting an education, mil service.
          That would need interviews. A look at and talk with friends, teachers, educators, mil, coworkers. Did that person exist in the part of the USA they said they did.
          That later st
  • by Anonymous Coward

    the world is not your enemy, you paranoid PoS country. I hope we see more leaks so the world wakes up to all the wrong horrible things America is doing, and it becomes more and more clear how paranoid they are and how they view the world as an enemy.

    • by hondo77 ( 324058 )

      ...and it becomes more and more clear how paranoid they are and how they view the world as an enemy.

      You can't tell that by Donny starting a trade war with our allies?

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Too much overtime and contractors with trendy jobs to stop now.
      Listening in is addictive to the political leaders and the NSA budgets that grow.
  • 5 years has passed - would be nice if 100% of the data was released to us so the IT security professionals among us can actually do our jobs.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      would be nice if 100% of the data was released

      A good part of that might expose the identity of agents in the field. And will never be released. Per Snowden's request to the media outlets to screen such data out.

      Dick Cheney probably exposed more undercover field agents when he outed Valerie Plame. And foreign intelligence just worked backwards finding links between her, her cover employer and other possible spies. Why isn't Cheney hiding in Russia?

      • Why isn't Cheney hiding in Russia?

        I know you're trying to be funny, but unlike Snowden, Cheney is considered a war criminal [wikipedia.org] there. Actually, technically he is here too... at least according to the law. It's somewhat profound to realize but, Snowden may actually be safer in more places around the world than Cheney.

    • Too late to release the rest, none of the major news outlets care about Snowden anymore, I haven't heard of a Snowden leak in 2 or 3 years now.
  • It cost the guilty nothing either. How many were fired after they were exposed? I haven't heard of a single person going to jail over any of it. It just cost them their reputation. Which is and will always be nothing. It only exposed what we already suspected. Our government will go to any lengths to keep their crimes secret.

    • Something like 80% of 2016 voters were motivated by government corruption ... so it probably had some affect on the DNC, although Hillary Clinton's culpability in this was probably limited compared to other players.
  • by AnthonywC ( 4415891 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @04:23PM (#56727228)
    Uncovering the truth and doing "The Right Thing".
  • by sloth jr ( 88200 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @04:26PM (#56727238)
    With all the revelations, the main takeaway I got is the NSA is pissed that they got caught acting poorly. Given their lack of apology, it's clear the NSA isn't at all motivated to, you know - change, and stuff. All the NSA seems to want to do is deliver maximum stitches to maximum snitches.

    I sleep better.
  • Greatest Cost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cybersquid ( 24605 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @04:34PM (#56727296) Homepage
    The greatest cost is the continuing loss of faith & trust in our government.

    The fact that the U.S. government continue to persecute this whistle-blower is much more damning than the things he revealed.

    IMO Snowden should be pardoned & given a medal.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The greatest cost is the continuing loss of faith & trust in our government.

      That's a load of crap! And the vote count confirms it. 95% of congress is still reelected every cycle, and over 98% of you people still vote for republican/democrat. Until that changes, you can choke on your post! In the meantime, take a good look at who you made president!

      • Actually, I am choking on the situation. Not happy at all.
        As for you: I don't think you need to choke on anything. You might want to calm down a bit, but no choking is necessary at this juncture.
        Also: your assumption is false; I am part of the majority of people who voted against Mr. Trump.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The fact that the U.S. government continue to persecute this whistle-blower is much more damning than the things he revealed.

      IMO Snowden should be pardoned & given a medal.

      While I agree that Snowden is the only hero in the situation, given the behavior we've seen so far, if you were in his place, if the US government suddenly pulled an about-face and publicly claimed to issue a pardon, inviting him to return home, would you trust them not to pounce the instant you set foot on US soil?

    • My dad told me one thing many years ago, the government is not your friend.

    • Respect is EARNED, not given.

      Considering that the NSA has done very little to re-earn that trust and respect, and has instead doubled down on the blanket spying, improper handling of classified data, and in general has been in denial about how it is improper of them, even if the congress has made it legal, to conduct such actions against the US's native population.

      So, take a moment to reflect. What possible reason does the US public have to respect this agency, when this agency openly mocks the public's de

  • Look, I still don't think Snowden helping Russia is a good thing, especially the many attempts in the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK to interfere (which are still ongoing, regardless of my personal viewpoint that Scotland deserves to be it's own nation, as it has always been, and the Soviet-backed Brexit was atrocious).

    But, the agencies (five of which you know about, others which you don't) that are actively spying on US citizens both at home and abroad, did in fact go too far.

    That said, using clouds or

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Look, I still don't think Snowden helping Russia is a good thing

      The only evidence that he's helped russia is by capitalizing on his position as a public source of embarrassment to the US to garner asylum in russia. A choice he was forced into by the US cancelling his passport while he was en-route through a russian airport.

      Contrast that to somebody like Assange who has not only knowingly served as a cut-out for russian disinfo operations, but also participated in them himself, particularly his public embrace of seth rich conspiracy lies to simultaneously puff himself u

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Monday June 04, 2018 @05:23PM (#56727528) Journal

    Instead, he's landed a cushy job at CNN.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      I suspect there's some sticky politics and/or national secrets connected to this story, and that's why more representatives didn't push for prosecution. It's as if those in the know in both parties don't want to open Pandora's box to the public. It's why pundits are loud but representatives relatively quiet.

    • While selling books with the word 'truth' printed on the cover. And people find him credible, because he tells them exactly what he thinks they want to hear. It just works.
  • A Cautionary Tale:

    "Think for just one moment and I'm sure that you will see,
    the moral of this story - that what shall be must be.
    He who gives his soul to Hell, must dare to pay the price,
    he versed in divinity must live a noble life -
    OR ELSE HE IS DAMNED!"

    The wages of government stupidity is maybe another century of these releases. Governments can't keep secrets, so they're ethical to within practical limits, or else they are damned.

  • The problem with trickling out the documents over such a long period of time is that people ultimately get bored or complacent with it all and pay little attention to it. It's human nature.

    Think of the nightly news.
    It's full of non-stop murder and mayhem every single day and most of us don't even blink an eye at it anymore.

    The Catch-22 part of the problem is this:

    If you released it all en masse, many will raise hell for a few weeks then promptly forget about it as soon as the next tragedy or engineered dis

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The E911 Document was also proving a weak reed. It had originally been valued at $79,449.

    Computer-knowledgeable people found this value -- for a twelve-page bureaucratic document -frankly incredible. In his "Crime and Puzzlement" manifesto for EFF, Barlow commented: "We will probably never know how this figure was reached or by whom, though I like to imagine an appraisal team consisting of Franz Kafka, Joseph Heller, and Thomas Pynchon."

    Zenner gave the witness a copy of "BellSouth E911 Service Interfaces,"

    • The documentation of the COSMOS wiring database was the bigger issue in that case, IIRC. Same basic deal, though, got it through dumpster diving, could have been bought officially for a few bucks. That database lets you do the really fun stuff like assign lines to accounts. OTOH using it is pretty much its own punishment (e.g. working out the 3 letter wire-center code from the exchange key = 1st 3 of 7 digit phone #) and in later years the official documentation was basically nonexistent (oral tradition an

  • lotta america haters here. smells like potatos and vodka.

The one day you'd sell your soul for something, souls are a glut.

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