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If You’re Obliged To Say You Aren’t…

You are.

NSA Denies Prior Knowledge Of Meltdown, Spectre Exploits; Claims It Would ‘Never’ Harm Companies By Withholding Vulns.

Except, of course, when it it is damn useful for spying on ex-girlfriends or political opponents, or no one has noticed, or it really is too useful to let people shut down a resource like this that will guarantee a high paying job in the private sector, etc ad nauseam.

We use to respect the Fourth Amendment in NSA.


1 Badtux { 01.10.18 at 12:09 pm }

Actually, they got notified by Google in May of last year just like everybody else. The days when the NSA discovered stuff like this are gone. All the smart minds head over to Google Labs to do this kind of security research now, Google pays better and has less bureaucratic BS to deal with.

2 Bryan { 01.10.18 at 10:27 pm }

Back when I was allowed in the building everyone associated with the National Security Agency was either military or civil service, including the janitors and cafeteria workers. There were no ‘contractors involved at all. As I remember it, you couldn’t get the necessary clearance if you didn’t work for the government. With outsourcing and privatization you lose control of your system, and there is no reason to show the level of care – the civilians are getting fired for things that resulted in prison for the military and civil service. With no pension benefits and no job security beyond 5 years, why would a contractor bust their butt?

3 Badtux { 01.11.18 at 2:11 am }

When Raygun busted the civil service pension plan and moved all new Federal workers to Social Security, he may have “saved” Social Security, but he broke Civil Service. Before, you flew straight because if you didn’t you lost your pension. Now… not so much, between the contractors and the political cronies who’ve infiltrated the management.

4 Bryan { 01.11.18 at 10:02 am }

It wasn’t just the pension, the laws treat government employees differently than other when it comes to non-disclosure and classified documents. In general military and government employees face criminal penalties while non-government employees face civil courts or vague “espionage” charges which actually require some proof of foreign involvement. Snowden isn’t a slam-dunk case.

In general you are right about the damage done by restructuring government pensions.

5 Kryten42 { 01.11.18 at 10:23 am }

Yep! Same here (about the NDA’s)! Also, Military (or any NDA issued for matters of National Security) here can be any length of time up to 99 years. Commercial NDA are generally much more time limited, somewhere between 5-10 years, except for *special circumstances* as determined by a Court ruling. And yes, Mil or NatSec NDA’s are “Talk and never see the light of day again!” type.

The recruiter’s never mention such things when they are conning one into signing up!

6 Badtux { 01.11.18 at 11:47 am }

Civilian NDA’s are a civil offense and all that courts can do is order you to stop talking and/or assess financial penalties, they can’t send you to jail for breaking one. Furthermore at least here in California civilian NDA’s aren’t enforceable insofar as they make you unemployable because California courts have embodied a right to seek employment as a part of the California Constitution, and anything which interferes with that right is null and void once your employment is done. Meaning that if, say, your specialty is image processing with automated AI detection of ground vehicles and aircraft, a civil court here in California can’t stop you from telling potential employers that you spent 5 years doing this for a contractor for the National Reconnaissance Office or even general details of the techniques you used (though not actual source code or documentation, of course!).

Military and civil service, on the other hand, as you point out has significant penalties it can impose because your employment is by the State and thus your offense is against the State (i.e., a criminal offense), not a civil tort.

That said, even the civil service employees today are looking for a revolving door that lands them a high-paying private sector job even if that involves sneaking secrets to a potential employer, they’re not looking at staying on the straight and narrow in order to keep their pensions, because they no longer have pensions.

7 Bryan { 01.11.18 at 11:49 am }

Oh, you mean the little note that comes with your discharge papers telling you how many years it will be until you can go to even Canada or Mexico because of your specialty. That bit isn’t written down in anything I ever saw. This for a job that requires you to spend the majority of your career overseas. Those little surprises they forget to mention.

8 Bryan { 01.11.18 at 1:47 pm }

Yeah, Badtux, there were TEN YEARS and/or TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS stickers or Dymo labels on half the stuff I dealt with. When you checked into NSA HQ the professional paranoids made it quite plain that they thought you were a potential traitor and they wanted to throw you in prison.

Now even the background checks are preformed by contractors. There is no accountability any more.