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November 12, 2012

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Now this is really bizarre

A federal agent who launched the investigation that ultimately led to the resignation of Central Intelligence Agency chief David Petraeus was barred from taking part in the case over the summer due to superiors' concerns that he was personally involved in the case, according to officials familiar with the probe.

After being blocked from the case, the agent continued to press the matter, relaying his concerns to a member of Congress, the officials said.

New details about how the Federal Bureau of Investigation handled the case suggest that even as the bureau delved into Mr. Petraeus's personal life, the agency had to address conduct by its own agent—who allegedly sent shirtless photos of himself to a woman involved in the case prior to the investigation.

wtf?

Atrios has the right take: corrupt abuse of the surveillance state took down the CIA chief.

More broadly, we're living in 90% of 1984 and we don't know it.

"But what I am wondering is why, if the F.B.I. had indeed concluded that they had no criminal case, this matter was brought to anyone’s attention at all."

Strangely enough, proof that you violated an oath, (Your marriage oath.) is taken as evidence that you might violate another oath, the one you took when you got your security clearance. Losing your security clearance after adultery is discovered is pretty standard, or so I understand, for this reason.

Ugh, thanks for that, I've gotten out of the habit of looking at Atrios, which is my loss.

Brett, I trust Jane Mayer a bit more than someone who thinks Jindal is a Hispanic surname. Besides, for someone who thinks the Branch Davidians got a raw deal from the federal government, don't you wonder about bringing in the FBI for an email threat? Or is it cool cause you think it hurts Obama?

sexting will be the downfall of the republic. just saying.

Holy cow, now our current top guy in Afghanistan is getting dragged into it.

You know, we don't expect these guys to avoid women, but don't they know they're supposed to deny them their essence?

I trust Jane Mayer a bit more than someone who thinks Jindal is a Hispanic surname.

I've seen much better sources than Brett point out that CIA officers can be fired for having affairs. The issue is not so much oath-breaking per se but that blackmail. Putting yourself into a position where you can be blackmailed demonstrates that you lack the judgement needed to keep your security clearance, and it is difficult to imagine how the director of the CIA could do his job without a clearance. See for example this TPM piece.

Sorry, can't resist.

A guy tries a little self-imposed, sanity inducing hiatus/exile from the world of blogging and the event horizon of gravitational "wtf" pulls him back into the black hole.

lj asked wtf? upthread. Yeah, well, in the coming weeks and months, steel yourselves for the daily wtf in this Petraeus thing.

To wit, via a link from Kevin Drum ... wtf?:

"The FBI probe into the sex scandal that led to the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus has expanded to ensnare Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced early Tuesday.

According to a senior U.S. defense official, the FBI has uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of “potentially inappropriate” emails between Allen and Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old Tampa woman whose close friendship with Petraeus ultimately led to his downfall....The senior defense official said the voluminous collection of emails sent between Allen and Kelley occurred between 2010 and this year, but did not give details. The official also declined to say whether Allen sent or received any of the messages from his military or government email accounts, or if classified material was compromised."

Today will bring more.

Couple of things.

Ugh mentions 1984 and we don't know it.

No, the mind-f*cking thing is Petraeus and now General Allen don't get it.

Let me this straight. These guys, especially Petraeus at CIA, sit in situation rooms wherein "intel" is presented which basically can look up the skirt of Osama bin Laden at close range, let alone decipher billions of email correspondence that can, on a lucky day, pinpoint the location of the bomb in the baby carriage being merely thought about by Mohammad living in his mother's basement in Buffalo, New York and they don't think twice about the fact that in another room at the CIA, or the Pentagon, or the FBI, some lower-level functionaries are monitoring on large screens every picture of the Generals' dicks they themselves have tweeted, twatted, and tewilliquered into cyper-space.

Don't these guys read John le Carre, at the very least, wherein spymasters KNOW that if George Smiley's wife is being f*cked by a confederate in the ranks, then maybe, just maybe we ought to look over here and see if the entire British Empire is being f*cked by the same guy.

Petraeus, yet another hero-worshiped, seemingly bi-partisan General (we think) involved in the biggest death-dealing cockup in military history (Iraq), was sleeping with his biographer.

Why can't he be like the rest of us and be satisfied with sleeping with his AUTObiographer every night and be done with it.

It wouldn't surprise me really if one day we found out the Cuban Missile Crisis was precipitated by John F. Kennedy AND the generals who wanted the President dead sending photos of THEIR dicks to Nikita Khrushchev and then Nikita sending back photos of his dick vacationing in Cuba.

So, the shirtless FBI agent ends up communicating with Eric Cantor?

Eric Cantor? Really? Who, I don't believe is on the Intelligence Committee. He's on a lot of other Committees who meet in David Koch's, Rush Limbaugh's, and Grover Norquist's living rooms, I realize, but next thing you'll be telling me is Michelle Bachmann is on the Intelligence Committee.

I smell a ratf*cker, or at a least a ratf*cker sitting on his ratf*cking for the time being, until time was ripe.

The name Eric Cantor, in this context, reminds me of when we learned about that little piece of tape that was found by the janitor doing his rounds in, what was it called, the Watergate.

That's about the time folks in the vicinity of a TV stopped what they were doing and issued forth with the first of roughly five million WTFs.

Now leave me the f*ck alone. ;)


Rachel had a nice piece on the CIA rules. Affairs are not a firing offense per se. But there is a double disclosure rule: Both the person's superior and spouse have to be informed about it.
"Darling, could you please sign here that I have informed you about me coveting our neighbour's wife?" ;-)

Kind of crazy. But, as I was saying, electronic communications aren't private.

The issue is not so much oath-breaking per se but that blackmail.

That I can see. But the notion that 'breaking a marriage oath' is the root of this is so laughable, I think Brett should apply to the Onion.

electronic communications aren't private.

They're actually pretty private. I tell you what, I'll give you $1000 if you can tell me the last three transactions that were made with my checking account. I just checked electronically, and since you think those communications aren't private, this should be really easy for you.

There was that $1000 check you wrote me the other day as payment for not telling OBWIers about your last three transactions.

On the blackmail front, there are reports (I think in either WaPo and/or NYTimes) that Petraeus wasn't going to resign until he realized the affair was going to become public.

Um.... isn't that exactly the kind of person we worry about in the blackmail context?

sapient: But, as I was saying, electronic communications aren't private..

Explain what you mean by "private."

Um.... isn't that exactly the kind of person we worry about in the blackmail context?

Of course it is. Two additional issues: awful f'ing judgment and bad leadership example. A different level of responsibility attaches the higher up one goes in almost any endeavor, but head of the CIA is probably among the top 5 in which there just isn't any room for this kind of stupidity.

Someone should explain to Cantor that it only counts as "whistleblowing" if you are reporting the breaking of laws, or at least regulations. Since there doesn't seem to have been any laws broken, the guy in the wrong, both legally and morally, is the FBI leaker.

Next question, however:

Why didn't the FBI leaker notify the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee?

Is it because the leaker has reason to refer to that individual as a member of the DEMOCRAT Intelligence Committee, which, if we recall, is the parlance of a ratf*cker.

The issue is not so much oath-breaking per se but that blackmail.

It's both, I think.

There's a security risk that is presented by people who are living a double life, I think. Also, they tend to suck in other people to help them lead the double life.

Just guessing, here. But I think there's a broader area of risk than blackmail. And it's not really so much blackmail that is considered a security risk; it's the possibility of leverage of a kind other than financial. Leverage that can get interested parties information, cooperation, etc in order to keep it secret; keep it safe.

But, as I was saying, electronic communications aren't private.

I have a good guess as to why sapient keeps making this claim, but I can't for the life of me see what his basis in fact is.

the FBI has uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of “potentially inappropriate” emails between Allen and Jill Kelley

That's order-of-magnitude 25 or 30 pages of email a day, each and every day, for two or three years.

WTF?!? Are they, like, writing a novel together?

Somehow I think this story is going to get a lot weirder before it's done.

head of the CIA is probably among the top 5 in which there just isn't any room for this kind of stupidity.

I'm with you.

Illicit love is verbose.

As opposed to the licit kind, which rarely expresses itself.

Jon Stewart was brilliant last night regarding this scandal.

Well, as far as satire can take us in this reality show satire we call life here in these United Stateses of the Americas.

Especially when Stewart shows a clip of Matt Lauer introducing Newt Gingrich as the go-to guy to kind of chew over and illuminate for us, no doubt in stentorian tones without a trace of a smirk, the ins and outs and the ins and outs (did I mention in and out?) of the Petraeus downfall.

Max Boot, who has a fascist name to go with his fascist outlook, is quoted as wondering why a simple extra-marital affair should take down an effective man like Petraeus.

Indeed.

Gee, Max, this question was once a good one, you know, before the last 35 years or so of crap from !!!! Max Boot !!!. Maybe Max can interview Monica Lewinsky to kind of get to the bottom of the conundrum he raises, you know, sort of put das Boot in her mouth and allow her to masticate its truth.

Countme-In linked to the Hastings article above, so I'll link to this other piece (also by way of Sullivan) which makes a similar point--Petraeus was overrated to begin with.

guardian

Here is a Daily Beast article about the emails. Unsurprisingly, the ones that started it don't really suggest the threat that others have suggested.

The messages were instead what the source terms “kind of cat-fight stuff.”

“More like, ‘Who do you think you are? … You parade around the base … You need to take it down a notch,’” according to the source, who was until recently at the highest levels of the intelligence community and prefers not to be identified by name.

I don't really care about Petraeus - I didn't know whether to like him or hate him. Certainly the fact that he had someone close to him who appointed herself a spin doctor isn't encouraging.

Explain what you mean by "private."

I mean correspondence can't be guaranteed to be private. There was a search warrant here, but what did it cover? Was anyone looking for intimate correspondence? No. But they found it, and now people's lives are very adversely affected. No one had a search warrant listing Patraeus as a subject. Too bad for him.

I'm not saying that life should be this way, but it is.


I mean correspondence can't be guaranteed to be private.

Is there anything on earth that can be guaranteed to be private? Anything at all? If not, why do you bother constantly pointing this out?

Because Ugh asked me to explain what I said.

I'll cop to that.

"

The issue is not so much oath-breaking per se but that blackmail.

That I can see. But the notion that 'breaking a marriage oath' is the root of this is so laughable, I think Brett should apply to the Onion."

Yeah, yeah, I know: Ever since the '90's, it's been an article of faith among Democrats that violating your marriage oath has absolutely no implications for how trustworthy you are about anything else.

Whatever, I'm going to bed now. Pneumonia sucks.

Because Ugh asked me to explain what I said.

So, is there anything on earth that is guaranteed to be private?

it's been an article of faith among Democrats that violating your marriage oath has absolutely no implications for how trustworthy you are about anything else.

If a CIA officer divorces their spouse, they violate their marital oath. But they don't lose their clearance nor are they fired.

So, is there anything on earth that is guaranteed to be private?

There's very little on earth that's guaranteed, except death. But electronic communications are particularly prone to interception. As you can see here, for example, there are many people whose correspondence had absolutely no relationship whatsoever to do with the search warrant that was issued, but their correspondence was read. We read about this all the time, and people experience it frequently.

Don't ask me questions, though, Turbulence, if you don't want me to constantly be pointing this out. I'm done with this aspect of the conversation, by the way. It was just an off-hand comment to point out an example of something we discussed on another thread. It was not meant to trigger an inquisition, and I decline to be interrogated.

Turns out Jill Kelley and her surgeon husband ran an iffy women's cancer charity out of the cabana behind their mansion.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/jill-kelley-charity-david-petraeus_n_2124213.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

Most of the money went to parties.

No doubt a start-up medical model for Romney/Ryan's vision of a Medicaid-less and Planned Parenthood-less private medical insurance system via charity wherein female cancer patients bend over their spreading tumors to pull up their bootstraps.

She's also claiming "diplomatic inviolability" on account of her role as a "military hostess".

"Military hostess", eh. Aye aye, Skipper.

I think I met one of them one time on del Pilar Street in Manila many years ago. You could see the lights on Corrigedor twinkling on the horizon in Manila Bay. It was a balmy evening and a 10-knot breeze warned of the incoming typhoon due to hit landfall the next day.

A couple of U.S. Navy ships were silhouetted against the now drab remains of a raging sunset.

A three-foot surf slammed up against the seawall two blocks away.

The "military hostess", outfitted in a tight skirt and pumps and wearing more makeup than Miss Piggy after a month of intense puppet restoration, sidled up to me and, in so many words, offered me her charity for the promise of remunerative drinks in a nearby dive.

Her vaguely baritone voice and something alarmingly big shouldered about her gave me to believe she wasn't all she claimed, or rather was much more than she claimed, so I politely took a rain check, salamat po, keep in touch, and saved my pesos for the more legitimate Sisters of Mercy down the way, figuring the military hostess would find more willing fare among the American sailors Gene Kellying up and down the boulevard, especially those who kicked all the jams out while overseas only to return home and lecture the rest of us about morality and the need for a strong military when they ran later for Republican seats in Congress.

Hardly any of that actually happened (to me, anyway, except for the setup), just like anything that Jill Kelley is going to claim over the coming months actually happened either.

"...but it seems like the bigger story is lying beneath the surface on this."

I'd like to think that the bigger story is Obama cleaning house and tossing out generals that contradicted and/or stonewalled him, especially ones who did it publicly.

That said, Betrayus is a disgrace. Intelligence officers can be - and are - canned for having bad credit, having exramarital affairs and getting involved in other situations that can compromise them. Betrayus demonstrated extremely poor judgement and extremely poor leadership. Additionally, the UCMJ says adultry is a crime. Fraternizing with subordinates is also a crime. Troops under Betrayus' command have been dishonorably discharged for fraternization. Leadership by example my ass. Those ring knockers sure can be self serving hyporcites. I find it incredible that some people here - the usual suspects - don't see anything wrong with Petraeus' actions.

And what's with the thousands of love emails? That just demonstrates lack of social development and accumen in interacting with women; which a personal weakness that can be a potential securty danger.

No wonder grunts at places like Restrepo have to fight the enemy with little more than their dicks in their hands. Flag officers are just too busy with more important things, like behaving like silly school boys with a major crush.

Alas, Petraeus is no better a man than his COIN theory was a way of war fighting. Good ridance.

It does strike me that what with all the affairs, the shirtless FBI agents, etc this situation is a true cluster fuck - literally.

"Is there anything on earth that can be guaranteed to be private? Anything at all? If not, why do you bother constantly pointing this out?"

It's worth pointing out because legions of morons, even west point educated morons who work as directors of spy agencies that track things on the net as a function of their operations seem to forget that emails, face book pages, web surfing activity, etc are all written records that can be easily accessed and copied by a growing number of authorized, semi-authorized, or even unauthorized, individuals or agencies.

Everything on the net and everything you have done on the net exists in a copy of the net. Once you put it out there it never goes away. It is beyond your power to delete it. Homeland Security has access to a constantly appended reconstruction of the net that was originally extablished by the NSA. The servers sit in some massive warehouse in San Fran. All it takes is a warrant.

I feel extremely sorry for Mr. Shirtless Fed. He behaved quite honourably (for a Republican) but he inadvertently ruined a very smart move by the Bureau, which was, surely, that once they had all the info on his disastrous sex life, they owned the boss of the CIA. J. Edgar would have straightened his tutu with pride.

As for Petraeus and the ladyparts, does nobody see that this is a straight case of stupid ruling-class people feeling entitled to whatever they wanted, including vast-bosomed Lebanese club tarts?

I'm having trouble keeping up with all the revelations, but the more I hear, the more I'm reminded of Snooki and the Situation. Who knew George C. Scott was underplaying in Dr. Strangelove?

it's been an article of faith among Democrats that violating your marriage oath has absolutely no implications for how trustworthy you are about anything else.

Are you talking about noted Democrats and married-for-lifers Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump here? Or are you talking about the guy whose marriage was strong enough to survive a bunch of psychotic, panty sniffing Republicans dragging his dirty laundry into public?

I've been married to one woman, my only marriage, for 21 years, Brett. How about you?

He behaved quite honourably (for a Republican)

We don't even know his name. You're saying you know what political party he belongs to?

I haven't seen that. I mean, I have seen this claim being made in a rumor-mill fashion, but I have not yet seen it sourced.

A handy guide to the wtf?s we know with a question or two about the wtfs? all of us wish to know, and will probably be sorry for what we wished:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2012/11/the-generals-and-the-women-a-guide-for-the-perplexed.html

We may be the only country in the world that goes off the fiscal cliff sans trousers and does a whoopy cannonball into the lake of fire below.

That the central command structure of the national security state is engaging in a madcap sexual romp like so many Terry Thomas-es and Milton Berles running up and down hotel hallways in baggy, four-color boxer shorts and disappearing into high-priced suites behind slammed doors (in which are Virna Lisi and/or Gina Lollabrigida playing the roles, respectively, of Dinesh D'Souza's girlfriend and fiancee (the man himself, fully clothed, being repeatedly hit over the head with an over-sized purse by his aggrieved wife and pedantically and pointlessly pointing out that his wife has the two sexpots confused with someone else) while the killer drones go about their business and Bill Bennett misses all of the fun upstairs, having been handcuffed to a one-armed bandit in the lobby ... is ... is, well, I'm too far into this paragraph to remember what.

To riff on Debbie's funny observations, by the end of this tale, we'll be so bored of the enormous small tawdriness of it all that we'll be hoping Slim Pickens goes out the bomb bay doors on the big one so at least we can finally experience a little gravity in our final moments as an Exceptional Culture.

Or at least put a final mushroom cloud end to the effing lectures about the slippery slope of condom use.

link

The link was to Glenn gloating over the surveillance state devouring its own.

"It's worth pointing out because legions of morons, even west point educated morons who work as directors of spy agencies that track things on the net as a function of their operations seem to forget that emails,... "

There's a sapient-specific background to this discussion, actually. Whenever something is linked to the Obama Administration it becomes acceptable or no big deal.

I don't care who you are, this is genius.

Go. Look. See the awesomeness.

"There's a sapient-specific background to this discussion, actually. Whenever something is linked to the Obama Administration it becomes acceptable or no big deal."

A commenter at RedScare said Petraeus' fall obviously happened because his boss is a liberal and a Democrat, not to mention the newly elected President.

Slart wrote: "You're saying you know what political party he belongs to?"

The shirtless G-Man tweeter belongs in a party, but I think it's the one Hugh Hefner holds in the grotto at the Mansion.

I'm thinking though that if the guy self- identifies as a Democrat, it seems counter intuitive to believe the first thing he would think is "Quick, someone call a House Republican!".

Who knows? Maybe the shirt he took off said "Forward" on it.

More likely, I suspect, since I'm given to extremes, is that he perceives himself as somehow along the lines of that ex-CIA pantload in the 1990s who wrote the book accusing Hillary Clinton of using butt plugs as ornaments on the White House Xmas tree.

I am curious to learn the reaction of the shirtless wonders' wife's reaction to all of this and his excuse.

"Honey, look, not only was the furnace turned way up at FBI headquarters, but the pressure of our jobs makes us perspire profusely and so we strip down at the office. You try keeping track of the order of the Central Command's daisy chain habits and see if you don't get overheated."

Donald,

It is pointless to expose the essential point to be divined from the examination of a farce.

Thus endeth today's lesson.

This is turning out to be one of those scandals that is much, much larger on the inside than it is on the outside. It's like Mary Poppins unpacking her bag, only with multiple extra dimensions added.

"I've been married to one woman, my only marriage, for 21 years, Brett. How about you?"

That's no fault divorce for you, Phil. Didn't have any say in the matter, none at all.

Just passed six on my second marriage, though. My tip to all those people out there considering marriage: If you find out before the wedding your betrothed is crazy, no, you're not a cad if you back out. There's no point in boarding the ship after it's already struck the iceberg.

Slart, thanks for that.

That was awesome.

But hurricanes and global warming and the imminent end of life on Earth as we know it aside for a moment, one of the photos was captioned "Paula Broadwell's lost license found in park".

What we may learn soon, I hope, is that the license was found in the pants pocket of Vince Foster's body.

The melon theory will have to be revisited no doubt.

Homeland Security has access to a constantly appended reconstruction of the net that was originally extablished by the NSA. The servers sit in some massive warehouse in San Fran. All it takes is a warrant.
This is interesting. Why give such duty to NSA?

We Finns do it the civilised way. The duty to maintain a complete copy of everything published in the net in Finnish or on Finnish servers does not fall to security agencies. Instead, this is the legal duty of our National Library. They even have the right to require any password-protected site owner to grant them the username and access to all content.

This is interesting. Why give such duty to NSA?

We don't. Blackhawk's idea that the NSA has a complete archive of the internet is a paranoid fantasy.

Oh. I stand corrected. Should have given a bit more thought to the credibility of the source.

However, the point about making constant archival copies of the servers stands valid. The Internet is an important historical artifact, the content of which must be preserved for the historians of future generations. Thus, it is prudent to have a publicly funded organisation indexing and copying the web constantly. In my opinion, using a security organisation for that purpose would be stupid, as the results would remain most likely secret.

As Finland is a small nation, with the Finns being a people concentrated in Finland, our Parliament has given the duty of preserving the Finnish-speaking internet to the National Library. They have the duty to monitor and to archive any site located in Finland and the right to monitor and to archive any foreign site relating to Finland or being in Finnish. All Finnish maintainers of public or private sites have the duty to make their sites accessible to the National Library.

To protect the copyrights, the resulting time-stamped archives are available for reading from the terminals located at the National Library and from certain university libraries. The police can go and view the archives, as well, when they need to.

Ah Turbulence, poor little Turbulence, so trusting in government. Playing ostrich doesn't make the things you don't like go away - "Poof!". You just get sand up your nose, that's all.

I get my infirmation directly from people involved with it, two different people in this case.

Here are a few links, though, since links seem to be important. Of course, before someone is lost in paranoid fantasy you could have taken a look yourself, right?

https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying

another two, albeit only AT&T related:

http/www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2006/04/70619

and

http/www.computerworld.com/s/article/9232233/us_supreme_court_refuses_to_hear_NSA_AT_amp_T_wiretapping_case

http//www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/interviews/klein.html

Blackhawk, can you quote from one of your links the part that proves that Everything on the net and everything you have done on the net exists in a copy of the net. Once you put it out there it never goes away. It is beyond your power to delete it. Homeland Security has access to a constantly appended reconstruction of the net that was originally extablished by the NSA. The servers sit in some massive warehouse in San Fran. All it takes is a warrant.?

Because I know about the NSA spying operation and I've never seen anything that indicates that it does what you allege above.

I'm not sure what constitutes "everything you have done on the net." Is there a log somewhere documenting that I logged on to my yahoo e-mail at 12:32 PM EST on March 3, 1998 and deleted some porn spam? Do they also have recordings of every phone call ever made? 'Cause that would be cool.

The servers sit in some massive warehouse in San Fran.

Major Eaton: We have top men working on it.

Indie: Who?

Major Eaton: Top. Men.

http://www.naturalnews.com/035386_NSA_data_center_spying.html

This link is pretty good, but is wrong in that it alleges the NSA can "soon" do all of those things at the center in Utah that is being built. The truth is they will be able to "better" do it at the new center. They are already doing it.

"Because I know about the NSA spying operation and I've never seen anything that indicates that it does what you allege above."

Now you're just splitting hairs.....define "is"...that sort of thing because you don't want to admit I am right and you are wrong. period.

The relevant point being that any email (or phone conversation for that matter) is subject to surveillance. They're not at all secure. Surely the links I provided speak to that fact; which is where the conversation started. Surely Betrayus is aware of this; as is Mr. Shirtless FBI guy............and yet they put all sorts of idiotic crap out there to be surveilled. F'ing idiots. The king of F'ing idiots that I don't want running anything. Not even an ice cream truck. They can't be trusted around children. Dengenerates.

"I'm not sure what constitutes "everything you have done on the net." Is there a log somewhere documenting that I logged on to my yahoo e-mail at 12:32 PM EST on March 3, 1998 and deleted some porn spam? Do they also have recordings of every phone call ever made? 'Cause that would be cool."

yes.

though I suspect at some point records are purged due to space constraints.

The relevant point being that any email (or phone conversation for that matter) is subject to surveillance. They're not at all secure.

I don't think this is what is in dispute, and it's a far cry from the everything-ever retrieval you described.

"though I suspect at some point records are purged due to space constraints."

THAT I would doubt, noting that my available storage on Gmail, which I'm not even paying for, has been growing despite the fact that I never delete anything. It's my impression that space constraints have been relaxing faster than data has been accumulating.

I just want to say for the (N+1)th time that any bare URLs placed into comments for reference material will not be copied and pasted into my web-browser.

Make it clickable, or it may as well be as dead to me as would be links to anything Andrew Sullivan might have to say.

"......and it's a far cry from the everything-ever retrieval you described."

Well, I stand by my assertion. I was merely noting that it is not necessary for anyone to accept it in its entirety for it to still be relevant to the original discussion.

"THAT I would doubt, noting that my available storage on Gmail...."

You're probably correct, Brett. I was only guessing that there might be some purging. Ideally, from a spy perspective, there would not be and, if space is not an issue, purging, logically, would not occur. I am guessing that the op is moving from San Fran to a new Utah facility because the new facility will have even more storage space so purging will not occur; ever.

Now, now, Slart, some people just don't speak html. I've got a spare copy of "HTML for Dummies" around here someplace, if Blackhawk would like to borrow it.

We already have the Internet Wayback Machine; why do we need the NSA to have one?

This link is pretty good, but is wrong in that it alleges the NSA can "soon" do all of those things at the center in Utah that is being built.

You're far too modest; other great articles on that site include "'Proof of Heaven' documents existence of afterlife, multiverse, intelligent life beyond Earth, multidimensional realities" -- this is just like the New York Times or the journal Science but better. I am totally surprised that the best source justifying your paranoid delusions is an online woo "news" site.

One presumes that if the NSA is running something like that, it's ignoring robot.txt, and probably recording stuff the wayback machine can't, due to a lack of passwords and backdoors.

Like gmail accounts.

Look, collecting metadata on voice calls is several orders of magnitude easier than copying all internet traffic. I'll believe that the NSA is doing the latter when someone can show me the math on exactly how much data would have to be aggregated and stored in real time and how much that would cost.

I just want to say for the (N+1)th time that any bare URLs placed into comments for reference material will not be copied and pasted into my web-browser.

What I do is paste them into the Google search box and then click on the hit, at least when it works. I'm not sure if that solves the problem. I'm not even sure what the problem is, but it just seemed intuitive to me that it was somehow safer to do it that way.

"woo"?

Ah, you're an accolyte of James "the amazing" Randi. Figures. Worse science ever - in fact science isn't even the correct term what that nasty little band engages in. It's an atheist cult. Objectively, much of what the Randites insult is, indeed, scientifically proven (e.g. psi, the existance of human awareness beyond corporeal boundries. BUt now I understand you better. A close minded know-it-all.

"I'll believe that the NSA is doing the latter when someone can show me the math on exactly how much data would have to be aggregated and stored in real time and how much that would cost."

No you won't. You will not accept any evidence contrary to what you currently believe. You'll discredit sources as "woo". Individuals as "woo doctors", nit pick with absurd "alternative" explanations; regardless of how improbable.

Wow. Must...recalibrate.

http://gizmodo.com/5395095/the-nsa-to-store-a-yottabyte-of-your-phone-calls-emails-and-other-big-brothery-stuff

A yottabyte. $2 billion of our tax dallors to build the place.

But don't believe the woo woo I select. Why don't you look it up yourself.

Blackhawk, you linked me to a "news source" that has the following stories in the sidebar:

Colorado Batman shooting shows obvious signs of being staged

Vaccinated children have up to 500% more disease than unvaccinated children

Are humans devolving? Research suggests humans losing intellectual, emotional abilities

What would you do if the Red Dawn movie became reality?

Framework of the cosmic game: How stuff works beyond the realm of materialism

This is some crazy shit. But you're citing crazy shit because you don't know what you're talking about.

That yottabyte number? It is bullshit. The NSA is not planning to store a yottabyte of data in a single data center in Utah. Because that would be insane. The source for that number? A Mitre report arguing that if the DOD wanted to archive data from a vast battlefield sensor network, they might eventually need on the order of a yottabyte to do it. Do you know how you get from the Mitre claim about theoretical data volume growth to 'the NSA is building a yottabyte data center in Utah'? Through gullability, ignorance and mental illness.

A yottabyte of storage would cost on the order of $100 trillion. The idea that the NSA just blew a $100 trillion is just madness; its no different than believing that black UN helicopters are coming to get you or that the government put a radio in your tooth to control your thoughts.

I have no desire to see any bare Andrew Sullivan links.

*golfclap* Turbulence

Slarti: Major Eaton: We have top men working on it.

Indie: Who?

Major Eaton: Top. Men.

You made my day with that quote. :-)

Wow. Must...recalibrate.

Posted by: Slartibartfast | November 14, 2012 at 01:06 PM

Forget it, Jake - it's Chinatown.

...plus a couple of billion dollars a day to keep all of those disks spinning.

Plus backup. Which, you'd want to think hard about backup, if you had a yottabyte of drive capacity.

"....plus a couple of billion dollars a day to keep all of those disks spinning."

Yeah, you guys are right. The NSA wouldn't want to capture all that information. That's not what they do.

And yes, $billions a day to keep all those disks spinning. Of course. Google must be spending a few $hundred million a day then. Google must be a figment of the imagination of a crazed mind too because, well, no one could have all that storage space. It just can't happen. heck, if Turbulence says so, then it just has to be true. I defer to much better informed sources.

BTW. The NSA NEVER collected and stored AT&T (and other carrier) call information. Waaaaaay too much data. More paranoid fantasizing.

Nothing to see here. Move along please.

and you'd want more than just a single backup copy.

you'd need the whole mess running RAID-5 with hourly incremental backups and daily full offsite backups.

we're talking several hellabytes of storage.

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2009/05/14/whos-got-the-most-web-servers/

Another, no doubt, paranoid BS link. It would cost more than the entire world gdp to keep all of these running, right?

just for reference, a yottabyte is a trillion 1TB disks.

Google is rumored to have ~1 million servers. we're still a few orders of magnitude short.

Yeah, you guys are right. The NSA wouldn't want to capture all that information. That's not what they do.

Back in the pre-Iraq-war days, I often made the point: intentions are not the same as capabilities. Just because I want a private jet doesn't mean that I have a private jet or will get one soon.

And yes, $billions a day to keep all those disks spinning. Of course. Google must be spending a few $hundred million a day then.

Google doesn't have anything near a yottabyte of storage. Remember how I said that would cost on the order of a $100 trillion. Do you think Google has $100 trillion?

Look, I work for a company that right now has, let's say, 100K servers. I know something about distributed systems. I know a thing or two about big data. And I know what we're paying to run that sort of network. So let me explain something: when you have huge distributed data systems with vast amounts of data, you don't centralize the data in a giant data center in Utah. Moving data is really expensive. You process data locally, as close to the origin as you can. For mass internet surveillance, that means you store data either near end-users or near servers, but either way, it is a hell of a lot more distributed than a single giant DC in the Utah desert.

Do you know what (one of) Google's main contributions has been? MapReduce, a data processing architecture built on the premise that moving big data is hard so you should keep data local and move computation to where the data is.

BTW. The NSA NEVER collected and stored AT&T (and other carrier) call information. Waaaaaay too much data. More paranoid fantasizing.

You missed the part where I explained that storing voice call metadata is orders of magnitude easier than what you're proposing, right?

More to the point, do you question my price estimate for buying a yottabyte of storage? Do you question my analysis that the yottabyte number has nothing to do with the NSA?

Blackhawk seems to be having trouble with those pesky orders of magnitude.

Breaking news: the population of the US is somewhere between 3 million and 30 billion people.

"its no different than believing that black UN helicopters are coming to get you "

No, it's a lot crazier. There actually WERE black helicopters, after all; The Special Forces used to arrange to do night training in abandoned buildings, people would see, ask about it, and they'd deny everything.

People stopped seeing them because they built some abandoned buildings out in the middle of nowhere to do the training in...

Ok. So you've developed target fixation on the yottabyte thing.

Let's say then that it isn't a yottabyte. Let's say it's somewhat less; some more feasibily managed amount. Let's say the link is wrong about that.

There are still ample reliable sources that say the NSA is capturing all voice and email transmissions as well internet activity. That does seem feasible. Afterall, they're not storing the webpages themselves (in cache or otherwise like google does). They're only storing IP adresses, URLs and email text and maybe some limited graphics. I'm not an expert on massive data storage systems. My little database is only 1.5 terabytes. However, it seems reasonable to me that the NSA could accomplish all of that with storage and processing capacity about = to googles. If so, then there is no doubt they would do it. In fact my (non-internet) sources say they are. You can remain skeptical if for no other reason than passive agressive tendencies, but when there's motive, means and opportunity, conforming past behavior and reports of escalating current behavior, the current escalating behavior is probably true.

BTW......the linked article containing the yottabyte thing itself states, "To be fair, the yottabyte figure is just one estimate generated by a Pentagon think tank. The facility could hold a mere hundreds of petabytes."

A few petabytes would probably do it. In fact on some other thread here within a month or so I quoted a mil source saying that intelligence ops use about a petabyte/year. So a few petabytes makes sense.


Let's say the link is wrong about that.

Do we ever get to deal with the fact that you're trafficing in made-up nonsense? I mean, it took a few minutes of my life to track down the Mitre report and discover exactly where this non-sense came from. If you can keep spewing crap and I have to waste time proving that its BS, the truth is at a disadvantage, no?

There are still ample reliable sources that say the NSA is capturing all voice and email transmissions as well internet activity.

Show me the data indicating the NSA is capturing all internet activity please.

That does seem feasible.

So, the NSA has cracked TLS? Or they've acquired keys used by every server? There's a huge amount of TLS encrypted traffic out there; most email is encrypted.

They're only storing IP adresses, URLs and email text and maybe some limited graphics.

So, if I upload a pro-terrorist video to youtube and chat with terrorist buddies in the comments, your hypothetical NSA system would never record any of that, eh? I'm sorry, but if this is going to work, it is going to have copy lots of data beyond just transactional metadata. Certainly at least one copy of all user-generated data.

Beyond that, how exactly are they getting this data? Are they tapping network links close to end-users? There would be millions of network access points that would have to be bugged; millions of people would have to be in on the conspiracy. Are they tapping data at core routers? That can't work: there's no performance margin there. Are they tapping data server side in data centers? That can't work either: vast numbers of people would know and the costs would be astronomical.

In any event, once you're tapping all of this data and creating a transactional record, how do you get it to the giant data center in Utah? The transactional data is a lot smaller than the actual data (and you still need all the user generated data), but if you're sending it all to one place, that implies that ~20% of the internet is devoted to pumping NSA data into Utah. Don't you think we would have noticed that by now?

This whole discussion has detached from reality because you're not wrestling with the facts that (1) complete internet histories are kind of worthless to the NSA and (2) the NSA's inability to crack encryption means that they'll have data only for the people that pose no threat. Brilliant.

More to the point, do you question my price estimate for buying a yottabyte of storage? Do you question my analysis that the yottabyte number has nothing to do with the NSA?

I don't understand that, actually. Anyone with a pocket calculator, some knowledge of what the yotta- prefix means (as well as the other, smaller multipliers), and Google can go look at how much cheap, disposable storage is. Take the cost per terabyte (it's around $100) and multiply by a trillion.

It really is that simple. And that would be a lower bound, because external HDDs are really not the same as servers with RAID arrays attached to them; there's a bit (possibly a LOT) more infrastructure. But if that lower bound that you compute is an absolutely ridiculous number, you know that the real cost is going to be something even more ridiculous.

But you'd have to have the smarts and inclination to do the above exercise. So. Draw conclusions where you think best.

Ok, now it's throw claims against the wall to see if they stick, leaving it up to others (and only others) to sanity-check them.

*sigh*

This whole discussion has detached from reality...

Must. Recalibrate (heh.good one, that)

Is Blackhawk referring to that gigantic international construction conglomerate known as "By Others"?

because multiplication is fun...

let's assume the NSA is energy conscious and performance is a secondary concern. so they go out and buy five hundred billion energy efficient 2TB WD Caviar Red drives. these little guys aren't super fast, but they run 3.2W each on idle, 3.7W during read/write.

so, just sitting there spinning, these drives would consume 1.85 TW.

the total production of the US electrical grid: 1.1TW

"Do we ever get to deal with the fact that you're trafficing in made-up nonsense? "

Well, even Forbes is then trafficing in the same nonsense.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2012/03/16/nsas-new-data-center-and-ultra-fast-supercomputer-aim-to-crack-worlds-strongest-crypto/

Maybe we should address the possibility that you think you know it all and won't even remotely consider the possibility that you don't.

"If you can keep spewing crap and I have to waste time proving that its BS"

You haven't proven any such thing. You've merely said it's crap and offered nothing solid as to why it's crap.

"o, the NSA has cracked TLS? Or they've acquired keys used by every server? There's a huge amount of TLS encrypted traffic out there; most email is encrypted."

Uh yeah. And guess what? The NSA's specialty is cracking codes. It's what they do. They hire the best and brightest, buy the best tools and get busy.

Heck, if you were actually intersted in anything other than nay saying based on your extremely limitted knoiwledge you could go to the NSA site and have a look at their stated mission and research, activity, etc. Why, it's right there. De-encryption. Hey, maybe someone with your geniuse could even be hired. There is an application page as well.

"So, if I upload a pro-terrorist video to youtube and chat with terrorist buddies in the comments, your hypothetical NSA system would never record any of that, eh? I'm sorry, but if this is going to work, it is going to have copy lots of data beyond just transactional metadata."

F'ing IT geeks. I hate working with them (directing them on projects). Always the tunnel vision, one trick ponies with a no-can-do attitude. Terrorist sites are known. A team works on discovery new ones. URLs have flags. Your activity to that URL causes you to bump up against a flag. Having been flagged you then go off into another queue where your activity is indeed examined in greater detail. It is not necessary to store *all* internet sites. It is only necessary to store those of interest. And the data need not be stored in a single database. This little concept known as relational databases can be utilized. maybe you've heard of it.

"Beyond that, how exactly are they getting this data? Are they tapping network links close to end-users? " They have made deals with all points along the network, like AT&T, google, your internet carrier,etc.

"complete internet histories are kind of worthless to the NSA "

No. Wrong. The histories are critical to cluster analysis and other data mining techniques. A profile must be built and associations must be assessed and re-assessed in order to build stronger more robust models.

"The NSA's inability to crack encryption means that they'll have data only for the people that pose no threat."

Again, cracking encryption is one of their primary functions. They have cracked a lot of it and they are working hard to crack it all. That's why they hire mathematical geniuses.


"Brilliant."

Yes it is, as well as being disturbing.

"More to the point, do you question my price estimate for buying a yottabyte of storage?"

I have no idea. I already said that the article could be wrong. The article said,itself, that it might not be a yoattabyte. Rather a few hundred petbytes - an amount which definitely already exists and is used. So who cares about your yottabyte argument? But you'd have to have the smarts to not become fixated on one aspect of an argument and be able to see the bigger picture. Some people struggle with that ability.

F'ing IT geeks. I guess they're good for something. Someone has to stay up all night staring at a screen and pushing buttons once in a while.

My question...how do they store and access all that data? What does one do to find one needle in a yottabyte haystack? That's like terrorist SETI -- a huge expense not just to listen to, but to record and store a universe of noise in hopes of extracting one Chuck Berry song out of the soup.

This is hillarious! A relational database...that is so awesome!

Yeah, let's just say that I'm vaguely familiar with them, having worked on the implementation of a query processing engine. And having read a few books; I liked Stonebreaker's Readings in DB systems. But I'm super curious: what vendor are you going to find to build an RDBMS for hundreds of petabytes of data? Do tell!

I hate to break this to you, but there's a reason that relational DBs are limited to much smaller datasets than what we're discussing. You might want to look up the CAP theorum or read up on ACID/BASE. Maybe ask yourself why on Earth you'd need global transactions on a hundred-petabyte dataset. I mean, you understand that the big internet companies don't use relational databases for their large datasets, right? Do I have to link to the BigTable paper?

And hey, if you think I'm an IT guy, well...that's just adorable. Yessirree, I hack on query processing JITs on the side when I'm not fixing people's laptops.

Nous, you query for specific information that are known to you; words, phrases...........This is NOT artificial intelligence. The machines don't think for themselves.

More often than open querying for key phrases (or suspected key phrases), you start with a known; a know terrorist, say. You have his IP address. You trace it through his internet activity, his email activity. Then you query your gigantic database to see what other IP addresses/accounts have been to the same sites, been in communication with each other, etc. Using this information you begin cluster analysis. This is done with powerful datamining tools.

Based on the strength of the associations (by strength, I mean statistical power) you alter the query filters to bring either more or less data into your analysis.

At the end of the exercise you hope to have a reasonably tight short list of suspects to investigate through more traditional means.

You also merge and correlate your data mining results with similar data from phone call activity.

The key is encryption. That is one reason all of this falls under the NSa's purview. Encryption is their specialty; has been from the beginning. I would not be surprised if they/their associates had a hand in the development of commercially available encryption tools and have build in back doors that allow them to more easily do what Turbulence thinks they cannot.

If so, then there is no doubt they would do it.

Everybody needs a hobby.

"This is hillarious! A relational database...that is so awesome!"

Yes they are. Of course I already knew that you knew about IT 101. The question was you were asking such silly questions when you know the answers.

"You might want to look up the CAP theorum or read up on ACID/BASE. "

I don't have to. I have people that are paid to that for me. I'm a business guy. I don't do geek. Nor do I feel a need to engage in a dick measuring contest via some goofy tech discussion with a fool that doesn't think the NSA can or does monitor and analyze email and phone traffic (shesh. talk about divorced from reality).

" I mean, you understand that the big internet companies don't use relational databases for their large datasets, right?"

Yes. I know that. I am talking about analytical approaches that are better performed with something more resembling a traditional relational DB.

Oracle with new BFT addressing scheme; here's some spec.s for you. maximum datafile size=power(2,32)*32/1024/1024 G=131072 G. and, maximum database size=131072*65533 G=8589541376 G.

You can tie a few thousand of these togther in a relational system that would do fine with petabytes of data.

And this is an example of the dangers of letting your theory stand too much on a fact.

You can tie a few thousand of these togther in a relational system that would do fine with petabytes of data.

Ha ha ha ha ha. You've totally made my day.


I tell you what, Mr Business master. Call up your Oracle sales rep and ask them to price out licensing costs for an Oracle cluster that has 500 petabytes of data. Then ask them how much the SAN fabric for that cluster will cost. Seriously, go ask them.

Let me give you a hint. I know how Oracle works internally. I talk to Oracle engineers. Oracle doesn't have an RDBMS product that will scale to 500 petabytes. And even if they did, their pricing is such that the US government couldn't afford it. This is just geek knowledge though so you needn't concern yourself with it.

I would not be surprised if they/their associates had a hand in the development of commercially available encryption tools and have build in back doors that allow them to more easily do what Turbulence thinks they cannot.

This is not completely nuts; the A4 cipher protocol used in GSM cell phone systems was deliberately weakened at the suggestion of a US government official I believe. But a few years later the weakness was discovered and A4 isn't used so much. And CryptoAG happened as well. I know people in the hardware industry who have had NSA reps show up at companies and demand that security features be weakened (say, by making a hardware RNG a lot less random). But I also knew people who watched their bosses throw NSA officers out on their asses from those meetings.

There's a ton of people doing cryptanalysis all over the world and they're all talking together. The NSA employs a much smaller group. The best crypto people that I knew at MIT were politically disinclined to work for the US government.

If the NSA has introduced flaws into crypto protocols, I'd think there'd be some evidence by now (just like we discovered the A4 weakness). Moreover, the NSA's goals are in tension: it is responsible for cracking crypto but also ensuring that crypto used by American government agencies and companies is secure.

Finally, it is important to realize that cracking ciphers directly is rarely the most cost effective way of getting what you want. There are lots of little details that many individual implementations get wrong (does your high level crypto library use all zero IVs?), but really attacking them often requires active attacks: you can't just sit there and passively break traffic that you've silently sniffed. You have to generate traffic of your own. And we're really not seeing that.

Overall, this is less insane than most of what you've written, but still probably wrong.

Also, proprietary crypto is complete crap and most people know to stay far away from it. I personally would never trust any crypto product that wasn't open source.

Ok Turbulence, let's just say that I am awed and left soundly defeated by your superior understanding of things cyber.

I'm wrong. Wired is wrong, Forbes is wrong, the New York Times is wrong........The NSA is not monitoring our phone and email traffic, much less our internet activity. It's just a paranoid fantasy - right up there with black helos - and it's technically impossible.

I defer to you and you alone. You are now my IT guru.

What, guru, do you imagine the NSA is doing in Utah? Why are they building that huge structure? What pupose will it serve?

Also, why were they interested in approaching people (i.e. "NSA reps show up at companies and demand that security features be weakened " ) ?

Thanks in advance for bestowing your expertise on one so unworthy such as myself.

Good, now you can back up and explain to us how the UCMJ applies to the civilian head of the CIA.

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Whatnot


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