Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

Moderators: Zamfir, Hawknc, Moderators General, Prelates

Ghostbear
Posts: 1764
Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:06 pm UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:02 am UTC

The US military and US intelligence agencies aren't the same entity though. Yeah, the US military could, theoretically, obliterate every citizen of this country with ease. It won't though, because any massacre on that scale would mean that every service member was killing the friends and family of other service members. It'd be held in check by its own members. There's little of that balancing act with the intelligence agencies, and either way, you're talking about a completely separate type of abuse. It's a lot easier to convince people that's OK to spy on others in order to protect us from [this generation's ideological threat]. The risks of having intelligence agencies spying on every citizen are a completely different issue then the risks of the military deciding to kill everyone.

User avatar
jestingrabbit
Factoids are just Datas that haven't grown up yet
Posts: 5967
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 9:50 pm UTC
Location: Sydney

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby jestingrabbit » Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:52 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:The US military has well enough of a position to obliterate anyone and anything on this planet through multiple avenues of attack.


*cough* ten years of a free OBL, not winning in afghanistan *cough*
ameretrifle wrote:Magic space feudalism is therefore a viable idea.

User avatar
Yakk
Poster with most posts but no title.
Posts: 11129
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:27 pm UTC
Location: E pur si muove

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Yakk » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:23 am UTC

They where explicitly not trying to glass Afghanistan. Or where you mistaking 'conquer ' for 'eradicate '?
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5494
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:16 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:The US military and US intelligence agencies aren't the same entity though.


David Petraus now leads the CIA. Leon Panetta now leads the DoD. Military and Intelligence are moving towards a unifying path currently...

Yeah, the US military could, theoretically, obliterate every citizen of this country with ease. It won't though, because any massacre on that scale would mean that every service member was killing the friends and family of other service members. It'd be held in check by its own members. There's little of that balancing act with the intelligence agencies, and either way, you're talking about a completely separate type of abuse. It's a lot easier to convince people that's OK to spy on others in order to protect us from [this generation's ideological threat]. The risks of having intelligence agencies spying on every citizen are a completely different issue then the risks of the military deciding to kill everyone.


A massacre wouldn't be necessary for blackmail. Seal Team 6 could very easily blackmail people they didn't like. Be it threats of violence, invasion, kidnappings, whatever... there are definitely things that the military can do that is much scarier than anything intelligence officials can do. (And remember: Seal Team 6 is under the control of the CIA: an intelligence agency).

I don't doubt that Intelligence Agencies can be more easily abused. But I'm responding to a post that exclaims that the US may become a totalitarian state in the future. As stated before, it is more important to look for signs of the US becoming a military state... as opposed to just weakening it when we are worried about abuse. And I don't doubt that there's evidence of NSA's abuse of power... but its important to remember where we need to fight our policy battles.

jestingrabbit wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:The US military has well enough of a position to obliterate anyone and anything on this planet through multiple avenues of attack.


*cough* ten years of a free OBL, not winning in afghanistan *cough*


Well, sure... if you want the point I'll cede it to you. My point is that the current power level of the military is more than enough that it'd be dangerous if it were abused.
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10332
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby addams » Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:35 pm UTC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Sta ... d_Security

"Whereas the Department of Defense is charged with military actions abroad, the Department of Homeland Security works in the civilian sphere to protect the United States within, at, and outside its borders."

Within, at and outside its borders? Any where with the exception of the Moon?

Have you ever met any of those guys? Shit. How would you know?

Protect? That Ben Franklin quote wanders through my mind.
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

He must have been in a bad mood that day.
More than a little freedom has been willingly given up. Do we feel more secure? I don't.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:24 pm UTC

I don't see why the moon is outside the Department of Homeland Security's jurisdiction. It seems that "within, and outside" constitutes everything at all ever.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

maybeagnostic
Posts: 669
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:34 pm UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby maybeagnostic » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:30 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I don't see why the moon is outside the Department of Homeland Security's jurisdiction. It seems that "within, and outside" constitutes everything at all ever.
Technically it might not include stuff on the border depending on your definitions of within and outside :D
T: ... through an emergency induction port.
S: That's a straw, Tali.
T: Emerrrgency induction port.

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

maybeagnostic wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:I don't see why the moon is outside the Department of Homeland Security's jurisdiction. It seems that "within, and outside" constitutes everything at all ever.
Technically it might not include stuff on the border depending on your definitions of within and outside :D

True, but as the border is finitely thing there's nothing that can fit entirely on the border.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

quantumcat42
Posts: 221
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:06 pm UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby quantumcat42 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:13 pm UTC

Doesn't matter -- the actual quote is "...within, at, and outside...", so they've got their bases covered.

Princess Marzipan
Posts: 7717
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 5:28 am UTC
Location: neither a road, nor an island

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:16 pm UTC

And everyone else's, too.
"It's Saturday night. I've got no date, a two-liter of Shasta, and my all-Rush mixtape. Let's rock!"
"I am just about to be brilliant!"
General_Norris, on feminism, wrote:If you lose your six Pokémon, you lost.

quantumcat42
Posts: 221
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:06 pm UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby quantumcat42 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:18 pm UTC

I'm sending in an anonymous tip about moon-terrorists this afternoon. Who's with me?

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3998
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm UTC
Location: In midair, traversing laterally over a container of sharks. No water, just sharks, with lasers.

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Dauric » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:37 pm UTC

quantumcat42 wrote:I'm sending in an anonymous tip about moon-terrorists this afternoon. Who's with me?

Remember that the Moon terrorists are backed by the Martian government, and that when pressed the leaders of the Moon terrorists will use the Martian Government's secret hideouts in the Asteroid Belt's jurisdiction.

I mean, if you're going to use government paranoia to get them to properly fund space exploration you might as well do it right.
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

User avatar
Panonadin
Posts: 462
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:13 am UTC
Location: Frying Pan
Contact:

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Panonadin » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:53 pm UTC

quantumcat42 wrote:I'm sending in an anonymous tip about moon-terrorists this afternoon. Who's with me?


You used the words anonymous and terrorists in a sentence, you're as good as arrested already!
addams wrote:This forum has some very well educated people typing away in loops with Sourmilk. He is a lucky Sourmilk.

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:41 pm UTC

Whose signature is it that goes something like "FBI JFK assassination moon terrorist 9/11 Osama conspiracy"?
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Dark Avorian
Posts: 546
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 10:48 pm UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Dark Avorian » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:09 pm UTC

SHHHHHH. Don't talk about that. Next thing you know the men in black suits and green ties (trust me, that's important) will be at all our doorsteps.
The 62-foot tall statue of Jesus constructed out of styrofoam, wood and fiberglass resin caught on fire after the right hand of the statue was struck by lightning.


meatyochre wrote:And yea, verily the forums crowd spake: "Teehee!"

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5494
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:26 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I don't see why the moon is outside the Department of Homeland Security's jurisdiction. It seems that "within, and outside" constitutes everything at all ever.


You do know that the NSA is part of the Department of Defense... right?

Agencies of the Department of Homeland Security are Border Patrol, the incompetent TSA, Immigration, Customs, and the Secret Service. They're not really related to the topic at hand.
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:29 am UTC

Tell that to addams. I'm not offering a judgment of their relevance or the appropriateness of their jurisdiction, merely commenting that the moon is technically outside US borders.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Princess Marzipan
Posts: 7717
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 5:28 am UTC
Location: neither a road, nor an island

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Princess Marzipan » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:59 am UTC

It feels weird to say this, but sourmilk's justification of his post is entirely accurate. KnightExemplar should read the post above the one he quoted.
"It's Saturday night. I've got no date, a two-liter of Shasta, and my all-Rush mixtape. Let's rock!"
"I am just about to be brilliant!"
General_Norris, on feminism, wrote:If you lose your six Pokémon, you lost.

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5494
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:08 am UTC

Okay, fair enough. Just had to get that out there.

Carry on.
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

Chen
Posts: 5580
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:53 pm UTC
Location: Montreal

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Chen » Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:16 pm UTC

quantumcat42 wrote:I'm sending in an anonymous tip about moon-terrorists this afternoon. Who's with me?


How bout moon Nazi's?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Sky

User avatar
LaserGuy
Posts: 4585
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:57 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:I don't see why the moon is outside the Department of Homeland Security's jurisdiction. It seems that "within, and outside" constitutes everything at all ever.


You do know that the NSA is part of the Department of Defense... right?

Agencies of the Department of Homeland Security are Border Patrol, the incompetent TSA, Immigration, Customs, and the Secret Service. They're not really related to the topic at hand.


The Department of Homeland Security has its own surveillance and intelligence gathering apparatus. I doubt there is much surveillance technology that is available to Defense that isn't available to Homeland Security. They're probably both subcontracting it to the same companies.

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5494
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:54 am UTC

I do believe there is a $2 Billion supercomputer base under construction in Utah that the NSA has that the DHS doesn't have. At least, if the original article is to be believed...
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10332
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby addams » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:51 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:I do believe there is a $2 Billion supercomputer base under construction in Utah that the NSA has that the DHS doesn't have. At least, if the original article is to be believed...


Nah. That super computer is 'old news'. That thing was made obsolete a long time ago. I do remember it. Old, old news.

It is such a tangled web they weave that no one knows who has what. Information is still a 'need to know' kind of thing. Who 'needs to know' has changed.

https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/cia-visio ... index.html

* Service. We put Country first and Agency before self. Quiet patriotism is our hallmark. We are dedicated to the mission, and we pride ourselves on our extraordinary responsiveness to the needs of our customers.

That still amazes me. Such a small change. From the 'needs of our nation and her people' to 'our customers'. I find it chilling, at best. It is a money thing. Who can afford the services of the government? Who can afford to hire the services of the largest set of organizations on the planet? The Customer.

I am so disappointed in the people. What did I expect? Honor and personal integrity? Those things are not stressed at all, these days. Small changes in mission statement made huge changes in how and why missions are undertaken and how tasks are implemented.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA

The point that was made about all the branches using the same subcontracting companies was a good point.
Spoiler:
According to investigative journalist Tim Shorrock:

...what we have today with the intelligence business is something far more systemic: senior officials leaving their national security and counterterrorism jobs for positions where they are basically doing the same jobs they once held at the CIA, the NSA and other agencies — but for double or triple the salary, and for profit. It's a privatization of the highest order, in which our collective memory and experience in intelligence — our crown jewels of spying, so to speak — are owned by corporate America. Yet, there is essentially no government oversight of this private sector at the heart of our intelligence empire. And the lines between public and private have become so blurred as to be nonexistent.[70][71]
Influencing public opinion
See also: CIA influence on public opinion

The Office of Public Affairs advises the Director of the CIA on all media, public policy, and employee communications issues relating to this person's role. This office, among other functions, works with the entertainment industry.[44]


The amount of information is staggering. Most of it is meaningless and personal. The huge structure and idle manpower can and are used to settle petty grievances. One man explained to me in no uncertain terms, "No one is untouchable."

It is like a bad movie. Some kind of 1984 remake. It ends with a reality show on a big screen TV. One of the men watching some stupid shit on the TV says, "Yeah. I want to do that." Then the movie is over.
This movie is not ending. We can not get up and walk out of this movie. This sucks for a great many people. I am one of them.

The internet is very fun. It allows me to complain here in the backwaters of a huge river of information. I can not make any substanitve changes. I can complain. Whaa!
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

Princess Marzipan
Posts: 7717
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 5:28 am UTC
Location: neither a road, nor an island

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Princess Marzipan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:34 am UTC

addams wrote:https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/cia-vision-mission-values/index.html

* Service. We put Country first and Agency before self. Quiet patriotism is our hallmark. We are dedicated to the mission, and we pride ourselves on our extraordinary responsiveness to the needs of our customers.
Wow. That's, um, really fucked up. THAT IS REALLY FUCKED UP.
"It's Saturday night. I've got no date, a two-liter of Shasta, and my all-Rush mixtape. Let's rock!"
"I am just about to be brilliant!"
General_Norris, on feminism, wrote:If you lose your six Pokémon, you lost.

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5494
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:28 pm UTC

Hmm, I hit Google up and found this.

http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/npr/libr ... tel02.html

The Intelligence Community (IC) is often perceived as not satisfying the needs of its customers (civilian and military policy, strategic, and tactical decisionmakers) with useful, timely, and unique intelligence. There are numerous reasons for this: inadequate or nonexistent intelligence access; redundant reporting vehicles; lack of understanding of customers' needs; and lack of understanding of IC capabilities.

While the IC's customer base continues to broaden, the IC has not determined how best to serve some of the new, non-traditional customers. It also has not marketed its product to potential new customers who are players in post-Cold War national security issues. During the Cold War period, the customer base was dominated by the principal players in the national security community, such as the Department of Defense and military services, the Department of State, and the National Security Council, who were engaged in the machinations of the Cold War. Recently, however, new customers, such as industry, law enforcement agencies, and other non-traditional customers such as the Departments of Labor and Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have become increasingly important.

The Congress and the American public, two other stakeholders in the IC product, continue to question whether the IC is worth the money it receives. While the relationship with the intelligence oversight committees is much better than with the Congress at large, some members still see the IC as a Cold War anachronism and a potentially lucrative source of savings. Congress often views the intelligence agencies as 10 to 13 separate voices and not as a Community. The IC does not effectively counter this impression. In the same vein, the majority of Americans are not aware of the unique peacetime role the IC has in protecting them from political, military, economic, and even environmental harm. Public misperceptions of intelligence activities influence the IC's relationships with its customers.

The current process of determining intelligence customers' needs, translating these into collection requirements, and producing intelligence is a jumble of loosely connected processes. These processes are disjointed within the IC and are confusing to the customer. In addition, the Community is not fully able to anticipate shifts in needs and to quickly respond in those inevitable instances when a need has not been foreseen. Finally, there is no systematic way by which the Intelligence Community can measure its performance in meeting these needs or systematically follow up on lessons learned.


So the list of "customers" are the various branches of the Military, US Congress, and the American People. Each "customer" has different needs and desires, and thus the flow of information to the various "customers" must be considered. I'm sure the CIA has the ability to count the number of times Kim Jong il Un scratches his butt, but this information would not be useful to any "customer".

My best bet to the "Industry Customers" are when the intelligence community helps out the industry. Ex: I know the NSA helped figure out the Nasdaq hack last year, as well as helped trace the Google Hack to China, which would be an example of an industry customer. But the primary "customers" are the various military branches, the President, the Department of State (aka: our diplomats), etc. etc. They all need different information. Which pieces of information go to which customer?

I think in that page, the CIA is saying "We're not only good at getting unique information... we're also good at figuring out if you need the information in the first place". At the end of the day, if some general in the military decides to use the NSA instead of the CIA for example... the CIA doesn't get as much funding next year. So there's a level of competition between the agencies for missions.

Another page on "Customers": http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/dcid8-1.html

Basically: I think the word "customer" means something else in "Government Jargon".
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

Princess Marzipan
Posts: 7717
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 5:28 am UTC
Location: neither a road, nor an island

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Princess Marzipan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:39 pm UTC

Framing their duties and actions in terms of markets, customers, and products is just plain fucked up. They're not a "community" and they don't have a "product" - they are there to (nominally) serve the country, not to make profit. I am disgusted.
"It's Saturday night. I've got no date, a two-liter of Shasta, and my all-Rush mixtape. Let's rock!"
"I am just about to be brilliant!"
General_Norris, on feminism, wrote:If you lose your six Pokémon, you lost.

KnightExemplar
Posts: 5494
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:58 pm UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:42 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:Framing their duties and actions in terms of markets, customers, and products is just plain fucked up. They're not a "community" and they don't have a "product" - they are there to (nominally) serve the country, not to make profit. I am disgusted.


Ah... that kind of fucked up.

Yes, I thought everyone knew this already though... then again... I think I first learned of this sort of thing when watching "The Green Zone" a few years ago. Agencies don't always work together, and not necessarily always in the best interests of the country. In some cases, they are greedy for their own jobs.

But that is how bureaucrats work in this country. Its true across the entire spectrum of government. That is why Libertarians / Republicans constantly want to shrink government btw.
First Strike +1/+1 and Indestructible.

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3998
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm UTC
Location: In midair, traversing laterally over a container of sharks. No water, just sharks, with lasers.

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Dauric » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:06 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Princess Marzipan wrote:Framing their duties and actions in terms of markets, customers, and products is just plain fucked up. They're not a "community" and they don't have a "product" - they are there to (nominally) serve the country, not to make profit. I am disgusted.


Ah... that kind of fucked up.

Yes, I thought everyone knew this already though... then again... I think I first learned of this sort of thing when watching "The Green Zone" a few years ago. Agencies don't always work together, and not necessarily always in the best interests of the country. In some cases, they are greedy for their own jobs.

But that is how bureaucrats work in this country. Its true across the entire spectrum of government. That is why Libertarians / Republicans constantly want to shrink government btw.


It's how "Bureaucrats Work" period, regardless of nation. It's an artifact of the zero-sum game in bureaucratic budgets, which the "Starve the Beast" fallacy only exacerbates by making the budget even smaller, raising the stakes in the bureaucratic turf wars. The idea that each agency is trying to serve customers in some sort of twisted capitalist ideal just compounds the problem by making everything about competition, growing one's services, providing 'added value', etc. etc. etc. when they should be doing the job of their department instead of trying to 'diversify' and 'edge out competition'.

Of course it's in vogue these days (at least for Republicans) to elect businessmen to restructure bureaucracies....
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10332
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby addams » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:57 pm UTC

1. Republicans say that smaller government is their goal. These large increases happen under Republican guidance. They know what they are doing. It is human to lie to get what humans want.

2. Language is important. The word customer has an effect on every person and the way their jobs are done.

3. This change is, fairly, new. I first ran into problems with it in 2005. Then again in 2007.
I can not track the exact date of the change. It happened during the chanting of privatize, privatize that was heard throughout the land after the 2000 election. The 2004 election may have been the when the mission statements were altered.

We have a GIANT dangerous mess. The level of ruthlessness has steadily increased. Again, language is important. What we say guides what we do.

It is human. That is part of why we are asked to memorize and repeat oaths and vows. Then in advanced classes we dissect the oaths and vows. Language is important.

Privatization and a lack of accountability are huge problems. There is a loop. The money disappears like magic in that loop.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

User avatar
Yakk
Poster with most posts but no title.
Posts: 11129
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:27 pm UTC
Location: E pur si muove

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Yakk » Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:35 pm UTC

"If you elect me, I'll show you how government doesn't work!"
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

Last edited by JHVH on Fri Oct 23, 4004 BCE 6:17 pm, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Vaniver » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:15 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:Framing their duties and actions in terms of markets, customers, and products is just plain fucked up. They're not a "community" and they don't have a "product" - they are there to (nominally) serve the country, not to make profit. I am disgusted.
Um... businesses have better customer service records than government agencies. Markets, customers, and products are a useful way to frame things. They're not necessarily profit-oriented because they call information consumers "customers"- I mean, social workers call the people they see "clients." Does that mean they're out to make a profit?
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7604
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Zamfir » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:55 pm UTC

But it's the CIA. It doesn't have customers. It has bosses. Those "customers" are organizations that its bosses told it to send info to. "Customer" carries the weird implciation that the CIA could decide to not give that info, if the price isn't right. Or that they could share the info with others, if those are willing to pay a good price. It implies a level of independence that surely no one wants them to achieve.

Princess Marzipan
Posts: 7717
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 5:28 am UTC
Location: neither a road, nor an island

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Princess Marzipan » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:58 pm UTC

The CIA has a Kids section on its website. A section for Parents and Teachers, too.

The fuck? Why are my taxes paying for bullshit like that?
"It's Saturday night. I've got no date, a two-liter of Shasta, and my all-Rush mixtape. Let's rock!"
"I am just about to be brilliant!"
General_Norris, on feminism, wrote:If you lose your six Pokémon, you lost.

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:04 pm UTC

I think it might be a part of this whole "the government is a business" mentality among conservatives. I never really got that mentality. The government isn't here to make a profit, it's here to help its people. Often that will involve making a profit, but that's a means to an end.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7604
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Zamfir » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:18 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:The CIA has a Kids section on its website. A section for Parents and Teachers, too.

The fuck? Why are my taxes paying for bullshit like that?

They aren't. It was a paid-for advertorial for Spy Kids, there's still pictures of Antonio Banderas on it.

EDIT or perhaps it's like the Stasi. One section to report kids, one to report parents and teachers. Look for other sections called 'neighbours', 'foreigners', etc.

User avatar
Dauric
Posts: 3998
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:58 pm UTC
Location: In midair, traversing laterally over a container of sharks. No water, just sharks, with lasers.

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Dauric » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:06 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Princess Marzipan wrote:The CIA has a Kids section on its website. A section for Parents and Teachers, too.

The fuck? Why are my taxes paying for bullshit like that?

They aren't. It was a paid-for advertorial for Spy Kids, there's still pictures of Antonio Banderas on it.

EDIT or perhaps it's like the Stasi. One section to report kids, one to report parents and teachers. Look for other sections called 'neighbours', 'foreigners', etc.


No, there's a genuine "Kids Page" on the CIA website. It's even broken out by grade level, Parents and Teachers, and even a Games section. No Antonio Banderas.
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

User avatar
Vaniver
Posts: 9422
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:12 am UTC

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby Vaniver » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:39 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:"Customer" carries the weird implciation that the CIA could decide to not give that info, if the price isn't right. Or that they could share the info with others, if those are willing to pay a good price. It implies a level of independence that surely no one wants them to achieve.
I don't think that weird implication is reasonable.

First, it shouldn't be weird that they call information consumers customers. I mean, the IRS calls their tax forms (and other things) products. That seems useful at bringing product development modes of thought to the IRS without implying that, say, paying taxes is optional (because buying products is optional).

Second, the CIA shouldn't collect information that isn't cost-effective, i.e., the price isn't right. If the CIA is spending taxpayer dollars counting the number of pigeons in Moscow, then that ought to stop. If the major consumers of the CIA World Factbook (which, weirdly, hasn't been updated in about a decade) are schoolchildren, then tailoring it to fit their needs is not a bad idea, and is a natural thing to do if you think in terms of customer satisfaction.
I mostly post over at LessWrong now.

Avatar from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, owned by Hasbro.

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:42 pm UTC

Nobody's denying that there aren't similarities, but the differences are very important, primarily that the CIA has an obligation to support its 'customers' regardless of the amount of their 'payment.'
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

PossibleSloth
Posts: 88
Joined: Mon May 11, 2009 6:51 am UTC
Location: Boston (or thereabouts)

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby PossibleSloth » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:12 pm UTC

The reason for the "customers" and "services" language has more to do with management terminology than a "CIA as a for-profit organization" attitude. The CIA/NSA/FBI/DHS are massive agencies which require people who know how to manage huge organizations, and these people usually come from business schools or the private sector. They're trying to apply management styles from private industry to the intelligence sector by considering their "product" to be useful intelligence and "customers" to be the organizations or agencies that need that intelligence. The people who write CIA mission statements are probably MBAs who are used to things being couched in these terms. It doesn't mean they're only going to prevent a terrorist attack "if the price is right".

User avatar
sourmìlk
If I can't complain, can I at least express my fear?
Posts: 6393
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:53 pm UTC
Location: permanently in the wrong
Contact:

Re: Fascinating, if chilling, look at NSA activity

Postby sourmìlk » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:13 pm UTC

Well obviously we realize that, but we don't like them implying that it's not the case.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.


Return to “News & Articles”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests