What the NSA - and the Nation Really Needs..

What can I say about the Washington Post - Chutzpah - yeah that's the word.

So soon after the announcement that they are the target of an investigation into the leaking of classified material, they continue with "dissecting" the inner operations of the NSA and again alerting the enemy to it's "shortcomings". Although I cannot disagree with their specifics they report - i.e.; yeah, the agency could use a lot of updating, yet on the other hand, technology is rapidly changing and yes we are fighting a NEW kind of enemy. The fact is that what they do they do well and so far it has worked greatly - EXCEPT when when our IC efforts have been thwarted by the MSM.

Let me be clear, as an American and lover of our freedoms I really do applaud freedom of the press and an open Government,. But damn it folks this is a war and letting the enemy in on our plans and where were are weak, can't do anything but embolden those we seek to distroy. It just serves no functional purpose whatsoever, and it needs to stop. Hopefully it will after a few "big mouth journalists" are sent up the river it will.

"As the controversy over the legality and propriety of domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency rages on, one question has not been adequately addressed: Is the NSA's approach really the best way of tracking terrorists? While there's no question that the NSA's covert move into domestic surveillance raises serious legal and ethical issues, the equally important and less examined question is whether -- more than four years after 9/11 -- the agency's methods are suited to tracking the jihadists.

The difference between Bletchley Park and Crypto City has as much to do with the very different nature of their tasks as with the way they are viewed. By today's standards, the mission at Bletchley Park was well-defined. The targets of the surveillance were clear: the German high command and intelligence service. The signals collectors had a good fix on what communications to monitor. The greatest challenge lay in breaking the extremely complex Enigma code.

By contrast, the NSA conducts broad-based surveillance indiscriminately over communications lines that few bad guys even use any longer. "Big Noddy," as those in the know call the NSA's vast "Ear in the Sky," has capabilities that dwarf the Bletchley Park World War II enterprise, but it isn't picking up much because the smartest terrorist groups have long since stopped talking about their plans over cell phones or land lines -- or to the extent they do, it's probably to plant disinformation. Today the challenge isn't decoding an intercepted message from a known enemy; instead it's figuring out what is and isn't a message and who the enemy is."

Actually, there is a question. If the NSA is so busted why is what they do apparently working so well? Not to be crude, but seen any burning buildings lately? You reporters and your "Chicken Little Journalism" are getting lame and annoying - I mean really annoying.

"Moreover, communications between terrorist groups today, says one intelligence official, is either "air-gapped" -- in which a document or computer disk is hand-delivered by messenger (as was seen in the letters allegedly exchanged between al Qaeda chieftain Ayman Zawahiri and Iraqi insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi) -- or it occurs through Web sites. Some intelligence experts who are critical of NSA's efforts, like John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., a sometime Pentagon consultant, say the real problem is that the agency is still pursuing a Cold War-era strategy.

What the NSA really needs to do, say Arquilla and others, is to build a new Bletchley Park. Just as Bletchley attracted Alan Turing, inventor of the modern computer, the NSA needs to summon the Turings of our day -- mainly computer hackers -- to snare al Qaeda and other terrorists at the only place they still communicate electronically, on Web sites. An added benefit, Arquilla adds, is that "if we went the route of a much greater emphasis of intelligence collection on the Web and Net, we would learn a lot more and intrude less on civil liberties."

Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corp., notes that most of the major breakthroughs against al Qaeda-linked plots in recent years have shown that the terrorists, wary of phone monitoring, are communicating through couriers on the ground and coordinating plots on the Web. When Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, a protege of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was arrested in July 2004, his laptop contained plans for simultaneous attacks on London and New York that were to have been transmitted electronically. Today, adds Hoffman, the most sophisticated terrorists have learned to evade the NSA altogether. "They keep their messages in a draft file on a Web site, then give someone the password and user name to get in. The NSA can't track that, because it's stationary."

It's interesting that they would mention Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan as it was the NY Times that outed him, "The undercover operative's value as a critical intelligence asset went up in smoke on Monday when the New York Times named the previously unidentified Khan, calling him "a kind of clearinghouse of Qaida communications" and "a vital source of information" on terrorist operations."

Khan was helping us to locate and track other terrorists, but of course the NY Times is the "Paper of Record", so they print the story, we lose our asset, which caused world wide havoc on IC operations.


Perhaps the biggest problem the NSA has isn't it's legal techniques but blabber mouth leakers leaking to bigger blabber mouth reporters. Perhaps now that the investigation into the leaking is moving forward, we can begin to put these critical and damaging leaks to an end, along with the leakers themselves.

Yeah, perhaps that's just what we need.

UPDATE: Along with the WAPO, Michelle Malkin notes that NY Times "spy expert" and author James Risen has moved the release of his book "State of War" to January 3rd. Great! Just in time for a hot subpoena for Mr. Risen.

Quite frankly, it appears that Mr. Risen is basically saying, "Catch me if you can", while sticking his finger in the eye of the DOJ. Not smart at this point.

Sir, you're planning a battle, you're going to lose. Word is that the President of the United States wants "heads" on this matter, and and not the ones on the side of a coin. I would suggest Mr. Risen you not be so bold.