The NSA was hacking other governments

Russia has recently been the target of attacks during the presidential campaign with the Democrats especially doing some major sabre rattling. On the Republican side, Mike Pence has also been harsh but Donald Trump has not been. One of the major issues in the campaign has been the threat of cyberwarfare and outrage that other countries would dare hack into US systems.

So the recent news report about the arrest of an NSA contractor who worked fro Booz Allen should be embarrassing but will likely be ignored.

Details of the arrest were first reported by the New York Times, which suggested the breach involved the possible theft of highly classified computer codes developed to hack into the networks of foreign governments.

It should not be surprising that the US government has been hacking other governments since it feels that it has the right to spy on pretty much everyone. So the significance of this news is that once again, that the US feels that it can do what it wants to other countries while righteously condemning other countries when they do the same thing to the US.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    LMFTFY: It should not be surprising that the US government has been hacking other governments since it feels that it has the right to spy drop bombs on pretty much everyone.

  2. applehead says

    I feel that’s a thing that will become black-on-white fact ca. 50 years from now after declassification: that any country with the ability to hack other countries, did.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Reginald Selkirk @ # 4 -- Have you ever tried to count how many elections in how many other countries the US has meddled in?

    And why didn’t even the Democrats speak up when Netanyahu attempted to push the 2012 election Republican-ward?

  4. says

    Knowledge is power. Whoever hacked and released that information (no evidence that it was the russians, but even then) empowered the american people. What the U.S. does (and you may dismiss as ‘business as usual’) is the opposite. Hillary Clinton dictating mexican laws, haitian wages, honduran elections and so on is an act of disenfranchisement, taking power away from the people.

    If you intend to paint Putin (or whomever is responsible for the hacks) as the bad guy in this situation, and the Democrats as the good guys, you’re in for an unwinnable battle. Being informed about the political machinations of your leaders is indisputably empowering, and the U.S. has a long history of doing much, much worse.

    It’s interesting how dismissive you are of the NSA’s shadiness. I mean, they’re spying you, fourth amendment be damned. You are not outraged at that, but a glimmer of transparency on one of the people who revoked your privacy rights (Hillary Clinton voted for the Patriot Act) makes you uncomfortable. I really don’t understand your set of values.

    Is this only partisan? If Trump’s disgusting conversation with Billy Bush had been acquired and released by foreign agents (Peña Nieto trying to get in Hillary’s good graces, Netanyahu being concerned with Trump’s alleged isolationism, Putin cause he’s just messing with y’all), would you be concerned? Or would you just shrug and call it “business as usual”?

  5. jrkrideau says

    @ Marcus Ranum

    Is there any truth to the rumour that the Boy Scouts of America will be awarding a “Hacking” badge beginning next year?

  6. lorn says

    Information gathering is what the NSA, and other organizations, do. Good, sound, well contextualized information prevents misunderstandings and missteps. Back in the dark days of the cold war if both sides didn’t have a fair understanding of the other side, information only available from within the other side’s net, we would have been at war many times over.

    As an example we see China sticking with liquid fueled ballistic missiles for a very long time, in part, because they knew US and Soviet satellites would be able to see when they were being prepared for launch. This ostensibly secret information, the fueling status of a large part of the Chinese nuclear arsenal, was kept in the open to reassure the other major powers that the Chinese nuclear threat was mainly defensive in nature. Had there not been satellite imagery and the Chinese simply announced the status of their missiles it wouldn’t have had the same effect.

    In effect it is the hacking and other efforts to dig down to facts that provide the validation of the gathered information. We have higher confidence in stolen information than information freely provided.

    Surveillance of friends and and allies alike keeps everyone on their toes. It is also very much required for nations to understand each other. It is like butt-sniffing for dogs. It isn’t always pretty to look at but it tends to prevent serious misunderstandings.

    The collection of information by the Russians isn’t new. The selective release of information in an apparent attempt to change the outcome of a national election,while also serving to discredit the US political process, and bolster their own reputation for effectiveness are all new. Last time that sort of thing was undertaken in a big way by major powers was prior to WWI. The combination of a lack of good information, particularly about intentions, and ham-handed interference, made the situation unstable and ripe for a world-war.

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