Normalised deviance and the NSA

27/02/2014 — Leave a comment

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So if you’ve been following the Snowden leaks, you’ll understand how egregious that agencies poking and prying has become. To the point that we should probably abandon any pretense that much of the NSA’s program serves any rational purpose.

This seems to be a case of normalised deviance on a massive industrial scale. Apparently conducting black ops, with no consideration of such time honoured military principles as economy of force, all behind a veil of secrecy and legal obsfucation makes you vulnerable to that sort of collective craziness, what a surprise.

The situation is bad enough in fact, that you’d wonder if the NSA’s five eyes partners aren’t also starting to be concerned as to whether the NSA has been looking over their shoulders, and what to do about it.

Every unnecessary expenditure of time, every unnecessary detour, is a waste of power, and therefore contrary to the principles of strategy
Carl Von Clausewitz

Certainly bad enough that you might also reasonably be starting to wonder whether other nations, with slightly less cozy US relationships, are considering the threshold at which mass surveillance becomes so intrusive that it steps outside the realms of intelligence and becomes an act of military aggression, and as Clausewitz would have pointed out a rather stupid and misplaced one at that.

I’m kind of hoping that this sort of question is what’s keeping Director Keith Alexander up at night, and while he’s sitting at the kitchen table at one o’clock in the morning drinking a glass of milk, I hope he’s maybe also reading Blowback and thinking about, well, exactly that.

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