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Comment Notice how the "crypto guys" are the "old guys"??? (Score 1) 279

I wonder if that sentence says more than they intended it to. Could it be that the skills of the NSA people are eroding just like the skills at CIA did? I knew that CIA was in trouble - tradecraft-wise - when a COS let an asset into their HQ and he blew half the station to kingdom come. No one would have done that in the old days. Maybe NSA is having the same problem.

Comment Re:Even CIA officers have families... (Score 1) 117

I apologize if this is a personal question, but, just out of curiosity, why did you friend serve for 26 years if it made his family unhappy?

First of all, it's difficult to look for a job when you're in Djibouti (I don't think he was... but he did serve in some seriously nasty places). It's also not easy to leave if you are, like most CIA staffers, overseas most of the time... you don't have a lot of US contacts (because you don't live in the USA) and you don't have a base of operations. Thirdly, you might not find it surprising to discover that there is not much of a one-to-one mapping of job requirements for a former CIA officer moving into the job market in the USA.

But I think the biggest reason is that, like many people, hope springs eternal and most assignments are just 2 or 3 years long. And while they weren't always "happy" they were not always unhappy; if that makes any sense. Also, the longer you stay with the Agency the easier it is to adapt to a new area and it's a small cadre of staff officers (most of the Afghanistan and Iraq "CIA" people are contractors not staffers); every station you go to you find old friends. And everyone hopes for that dream job in Paris or Rio or Buenos Aires. The Agency knows all this so they dish out a plum assignment now and then so you get to live in a house and not an apartment for a couple of years. And even get rotated back to the USA where the HQ types are all getting promoted to division chief spots.

And the life wears on you, for sure. Kids come home from school and say, "Daddy.... Bobby says you'rr a CIA agent... are you?" And your college pals (and in-laws, often) think you're a flake who can't keep a job. Plus the possible dangers your family face. The Soviet KGB and the CIA maintained a clear "family is off-limits" policy but modern terrorists have no such scruples.

It's not like the movies.

Comment Even CIA officers have families... (Score 5, Informative) 117

A friend of mine who retired from CIA after 26 years once told me that his family was only happy for six of those years... and not six consecutive years. Cut off from family and friends back home and in contact only by letters and the occasional "home leave" of a month or two, he was trying to fit back in to the country he spent his life trying to serve (back in the days when the Agency was less of an operational force and more of an intelligence gathering organization). I can see how Facebook would have made their lives more enjoyable with all the family and friends news (and even minutia). I'm sure it's a security risk par excellance but I can certainly understand why they'd do it. And I can especially understand why a wife, stuck inside an apartment in Djibouti trying to order six months of canned food from Denmark, might.

I don't expect Slashdot readers to grok it, though.

Comment Re:In my opinion, CenturyTel is run by idiots... (Score 1) 396

I didn't read beyond the first page but I can't see that you made any egregious mistakes. You are, in short, correct that the "private" IP addresses are not to be routable. Apparently this is commonplace. I wonder how many VPNs have broken down because of this. Just goes to show you that you should pick a private IP subnet way out of the way of the first 100 or so.

Thanks for your post. :)

Comment In my opinion, CenturyTel is run by idiots... (Score 2) 396

I had a VPN customer on CenturyLink and a previous network engineer had put their home office LAN on (which is pretty common). The outlying offices were on 10.x.x.x subnets. One day, suddenly, no one could reach the home office file server. I discovered that there was a whole collection of computers with addresses on the WAN side of the routers. This, of course, broke the VPN links. He didn't just have them on that subnet but he had addressed one as and up through a numerical sequence. When I finally got through to the chief admin guy (in Portland, OR) and told him he had internal IP addresses on a routable network he responded that the WAN side of our network was his INTERNAL network and he saw nothing wrong with putting a bunch of servers on those IP addresses. Nothing could convince him otherwise, either... because he was studying to take his Cisco Certified Network Administrator test.

We readdressed the home office (that was fun!) and then moved to a better provider; one who at least would listen.

Comment What I don't understand ... (Score 1) 307

Why would Bill Gates invest in Apple if Jobs admitted that Apple wouldn't survive long enough to win a patent lawsuit against MS anyway? Something's fishy. Gates could just wait 'em out and let Apple go away and gobble up the patents. Must be something more to the story.

But I have no trouble believing that MS was infringing... I don't think they (or, probably, anyone else back then) paid much attention to "patents". They were paying more attention to copyright but even then, not very much.


Submission + - Harris Exits Cloud Hosting, Citing Fed Server Hugging (

miller60 writes: Despite the publicity around the U.S. Govenment's "Cloud First" approach to IT, many agencies are reluctant to shift mission critcial assets to third-party facilities. That's the analysis from Harris Corp., which has decided to get out of the cloud hosting business and sell a data center in Virginia, just two years after it spent $200 million to build and equip it. "It’s becoming clear that customers, both government and commercial, currently have a preference for on-premise versus off-premise solutions," said Harris' CEO.
The Military

Submission + - Tethered Flying HoverMast Cam Launches in 10 Seconds (

Zothecula writes: The HoverMast is a hovering surveillance machine that can be deployed from a small vehicle such as an armored SUV. The machine, developed by Sky Sapience and currently at the prototype stage, can be deployed to an altitude of up to 50 meters (164 feet) within 10-15 seconds. Because the machine is tethered, a hard-wired power connection allows the HoverMast to hover as long as there is fuel in the tank in the vehicle to which it's anchored. Cables also provide a data link to send live pictures back to the ground.

Submission + - FBI vows to catch insider traders on Facebook and Skype (

DMandPenfold writes: The FBI has said it is closely watching social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as the Skype chat service, in order to catch insider traders.

As it launched a campaign fronted by actor Michael Douglas â" who famously played ruthless businessman Gordon Gekko in the 'Wall Street' films â" the FBI said it was stepping up Operation Perfect Hedge investigations, which are designed to catch hedge funds and associates involved in illegal trading.

"We will go to whatever lengths we have to, to keep up with changes in technology," said Richard Jacobs, an FBI special agent, yesterday.

The FBI has been closely examining social media and instant messaging sites in order to collect evidence.

This is becoming an increasingly widely used tactic, because the FBI is now known to have used recorded phone calls â" such as in the case against Raj Rajaratnam, who was convicted of insider trading last year. The recording of phone calls could prompt insider traders to use alternative channels of communication, observers have noted.

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