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Around and around on the carousel

[ by Charles Cameron — carnival atmosphere, ballerina / acrobat girlfriend, NSA ]

I have enough prurient interest to have checked out the GF’s blog. OTOH, I don’t want to go whole NSFW on you with the unfortunate young lady’s pole dancing videos — you can find them easily enough, and besides, this image has a hint of pole acrobatics.

I also think it says quite a bit about Edward Snowden‘s life and style in Hawaii, indeed about the whole sorry NSA business. Take it as my comment on the state of the world:


Her final, sad tweet:

If you check it out on Google, you’ll find (from the Columbia Journalism Review of all places) that it isn’t even original

18 Responses to “Around and around on the carousel”

  1. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    The ouroboros-ish comment has been made that, with all its Internet spying on the U.S. public, the NSA never detected a Snowden(tm) in their midst.


    The obvious explanation would be that Snowden and his GF were nothing particularly out of the ordinary…    

  2. Charles Cameron Says:

    Or their metadata wasn’t…

  3. joey Says:


    Confused of Tumbridge Wells

  4. Charles Cameron Says:

    Hello, dear Confused:
    I mean, “wasn’t particularly out of the ordinary”…
    Nice place you got there. 

  5. zen Says:

    She looks like a harmless, carefree party girl. Snowden has probably trainwrecked her life for the forseeable future and exposed her a great deal of potential harm, expense and legal troubles. If the DOJ wants to play rough to get at Snowden, they will and he knew it.

  6. joey Says:

    Zen whats your opinion of the actions Snowden took?

  7. Charles Cameron Says:

    I’m with you on Snowden having “probably trainwrecked her life”, Zen: and that’s a sad part of this story on a human scale that I can at least digest.  The “what’s NSA up to?”, “hero or traitor?”, and other parts of the story get so detailed and have so many conflicting elements that my mind goes into shock.
    More in my upcoming post, What could have stopped Snowden? 

  8. Lexington Green Says:

    She’s cute.  I’d have stayed home with the GF and let someone else save the world, probably.  (But that is the voice of the old and tired guy speaking.)  

  9. Charles Cameron Says:

    I have that voice too, Lex.

  10. zen Says:

    Hey Joey,
    My preliminary thoughts are:
    1) We need to move away from the simplistic Snowden vs. NSA narrative, Snowden could be a bad guy exposing the NSA as a partial cover for wrongdoing – like spying for China. Even if that is the case, and there is no hard evidence yet just “quack like a duck” moves, that doesn’t mean what the NSA is doing is not cause for grave concern.
    2) I have read a lot in the past few days, media, online, backchannel including pieces by very smart folks who are very well informed about pieces of the NSA and/or IC and cyber who bring conflicting opinions on this issue. as a result, I would guess:
    a) We do not understand the real scope and magnitude of the USG surveillance from NSA plus IMINT and private sector partners 

    b) Looked at as disparate pieces of surveillance and procedures, you can make a legitimate argument that the NSA (if for no other reason than CYA and PR) have set up internal steps for *use* of the data that will look like a reasonable effort to comply with the law set by Congress, presidential findings, FISA court restrictions to a Federal Judge or SCOTUS justice. Now I think they have stretched each letter of these things to the breaking point of interpretation (until rebuked by a FISA court judge or the national security office of DOJ) but I do not think a senior NSA bureaucrat, esp. one subject to the UCMJ boldly bulldozed over red lines. Most ppl in the NSA are quite bright and are sincerely motivated by patriotism but you only need one person for an epic fail. Note this is about *use* of data, not the *collection* of data. I think it is held together by the legal theory equivalent of chewing gum and duct tape
    c) The above is effectively meaningless anyway if the data all passes through private hands of contracting shops that employ Snowdens or malcontents just looking for info to enrich or amuse themselves on the night shift
    d) As a totality of all programs, the systemic collection and aggregation of this data of this nature and magnitude about the american people and archiving forever by the government is almost certainly 100% unconstitutional, at least in peacetime. At least I see no way to make it so if you tried to pass a law from scratch creating the very surveillance practices and technologies that came in to use ad hoc – it would be immediately slapped down. The Constitution can bend for an emergency but if the emergency becomes the rule it has been broken (i.e the Civil War era suspension of habeas corpus did not become permanent)
    e) Setting aside the question of is all this legal/constitutional, we come to “is this wise?” in terms of policy. The answer is that such a data collection machine in government-big data corporation hands is itself inherently dangerous and contrary to the long term existence of the United States as democratic republic. We have a tendency to say “can we build this” instead of “should we?” or “what are the 2nd and 3rd order effects?”)and now technology has outstripped our legal safeguards and far outstripped human nature which has not changed much since Thucydides. This trove of information is pure power and it will inevitably be abused ( I suspect it has been more than once) and the inclusion of private contractors is done in part to make the abuse possible and difficult to trace when the request from a VIP to ruin someone or pry into their lives is too risky for a corrupt “Lois Lerner” SES figure to attempt.
    f) Obviously, we need our IC agencies, including the NSA. but largely they cannot provide us with perfect security and the attempt to do so involves serious risks and bad trade off costs when their focus shifts away from dangerous foreigners to monitoring the American people. 

  11. Charles Cameron Says:

    I’m glad that one of my more frivolous posts has somehow brought us this far — always a pleasure to witness the conversations here, Mark, even when they’re decidedly above my pay-grade.

  12. joey Says:

    Thank you Zen for your well thought out and comprehensive reply! 

    Some brief thoughts,  anyone with access to such records would be able to vet, and possible destroy someone running for public office

    What a perfect tool for disciplining or silencing an opponent.   As in “Don’t ask that question in a senate hearing tomorrow or else those emails will be released” 

    All this power in the hands of ?.  

    Those black boxes in Google should be destroyed in the crack of doom,  that’s if there is a hobbit with moral fiber hanging around Washington. 



  13. Lexington Green Says:

    “This trove of information is pure power and it will inevitably be abused”


    So? And?

    Eliminate it: écrasez l’infâme!
    While we still can.

  14. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Lex, the data will always continue to exist.  The data is what occurs, hard-coded in reality.  What you are really asking is that so many eyes be put out, stabbed right through the skull the way that Arya threatened the Dog in GoT.  You are asking for blindness, but blindness doesn’t erase reality; anyone with eyes will continue to look about.


    Ok, that’s pretty metaphorical, but I’ve addressed that issue here

  15. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Crap, I posted the wrong bloody thing.  Here it is.  Maybe that last one can be deleted.
    Lol it looks like Brin was on the same track: 

    We shouldn’t fight over whether the watchdog is allowed to see. When were the elites ever blinded? Our freedom depends upon putting choke chains on the watchdog.

    @ http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/14/brin-snowden-privacy/ found via David Brin’s tweet stream posted 2hrs ago….

  16. zen Says:

    Charles, there is no discussion above your pay grade
    Lex – even if we somehow destroyed it we can’t keep another Google-sized entity (wealth, IT sophistication) from replicating it or parts thereof.
    However those entities do not also have all the other levers at the disposal of the State – notably police powers among others.
    Part of the solution is rooted in IT (better “defense” in the age-old contest with “offense”) mostly it is rooted in rule-sets that will facilitate or deter and punish digital malfeasanse. Right now big government and big data corporations are getting laws and regs written to facilitate wrecking peoples lives with immunity from accountability

  17. Madhu Says:

    Delete, always delete. Poor thing. 
    (Until the book deal. Or is that too mean-spirited even for me?)
    Someday, paper with invisible ink and learning to blink out Morse code with your eyelids will be all the rage with the youngsters….
    There are a lot of false stories circulating about just what the National Security Agency is and is not seeking from the American public. I’m here to set the record straight. I can assure you, in no uncertain terms, that the NSA is not asking for samples of your fecal matter.
    We will not be sending NSA agents door-to-door asking you to defecate in a cup. This applies whether or not the NSA agent has obtained a signed order from a doctor stating that the collection of your particular fecal matter is in the interest of national security. These orders are actually pretty easy to obtain, just FYI, but regardless, this is not something the NSA will be doing. 
    McSweeney’s: The NSA Is Not Asking For Samples Of Your Feces by Pete Reynolds 

  18. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    “So for those of you who, in the wake of recent news stories, have been mailing your fecal samples to the NSA, I want to assure you that this is not necessary. If we need your shit, the NSA has no problem inserting itself directly up your ass.”


    They should have been mailing to the Dept. of Health and Human Services instead, as a preemptive maneuver vs. the imminence of death panels.  Silly Americans. 

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