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NSA Ill-Suited For Domestic Cybersecurity Role 72

Hugh Pickens writes "Former CIA counterterrorism analyst Stephen Lee has an interesting article in the Examiner asserting that the National Security Agency is 'a secretive, hidebound culture incapable of keeping up with innovation,' with a history of disregard for privacy and civil liberties. Lee says that for most of its sixty-year history, the NSA has been geared to cracking telecom and crypto gear produced by Soviet and Chinese design bureaus, but at the end of the cold war became 'stymied by new-generation Western-engineered telephone networks and mobile technologies that were then spreading like wildfire in the developing world and former Soviet satellite countries.' When the NSA finally recognized that it needed to get better at innovation, it launched several mega-projects, tagged like 'Trailblazer' and 'Groundbreaker,' that have been spectacular failures, costing US taxpayers billions. More recently, the NY Times reported that the NSA has been breaking rules set by the Obama administration to peer even more aggressively into American citizens' phone traffic and email inboxes. Whistleblower reports portray NSA domestic eavesdropping programs as unprofessional and poorly supervised, with intercept technicians ridiculing and mishandling recordings of citizens' private 'pillow talk' conversations. Lee concludes that 'if the Federal government must play a role, then Congress and President Obama should turn to another agency without a record of creating mistrust — perhaps even a new entity. Meanwhile, NSA should focus on listening in on America's enemies, instead of being an enemy of Americans and their enterprises.'"

SCCS, the source motel! Programs check in and never check out! -- Ken Thompson