NSA former employee offers inside view of his job as cyber spy

NSA Spy ViewAn interesting blog post has been making the rounds on Twitter this morning. It was written by Loren Sands-Ramshaw, a self-proclaimed former employee of the NSA. In it, he offers an inside look over agency’s policies, and how he feels about everything currently going on related to the spying scandal.

“I was a spy for the US government,” Loren explains. “Not the Bond/Alias type of agent, but the electronic type – a cyber spy. I helped build small pieces of the global systems that gather electronic intelligence.”

How do we know for sure that he was actually employed by the NSA when their employee lists can be so secretive? He appeared in a training video currently up on their website. A rather quirky form of evidence, but a measure of proof, nonetheless.

Throughout the post, he admits that everything is pretty much collected by the NSA. We already knew this, as the alarming scope of such storage capabilities has been well documented. But he makes it clear that most of it is never going to be seen by analysts.

“I believe that most should not be very concerned because most are not sending email to intelligence targets. Email that isn’t related to intelligence is rarely viewed, and it’s even less often viewed if it’s from a US citizen.”

Again, we did know this. I am not sure anyone with credibility is making the claim that the NSA is reading through every bit of data they collect. It would be more than impractical, it would be impossible. But that isn’t the issue for most of us; it is generally the collection and their ability to view it is they so chose that causes the concern.

He also spoke about the people he worked with, describing them as “law abiding citizens”. What about the possibility that they aren’t?

“Firstly, the lawbreaking type isn’t likely to want to work for the government. Secondly, if they did apply, it is quite unlikely they would make it through the clearance process …   the rare cases of unauthorized data retrieval were not polygraph-trained foreign spies trying to infiltrate the Agency, but rather regular employees illicitly viewing communications for personal gain. I do not believe that there are many such employees.”

He ends the blog post by saying that while he believes safe guards should be in place, he does not think that the surveillance should be at all limited or stopped. But that everything is totally OK, guys.

“If you are a US citizen, I hope you are reassured to know how capable and thorough your cyber spy agency and military command are.”

No, Loren, I am not reassured. It isn’t about what they are doing with the data, it is what they could do with it. I don’t think for one second that the US government is at all interested in me, or anyone I know. I am sure most Americans could say the same thing. But that doesn’t mean we should just allow an agency to run around, mostly unchecked, doing as they please with no oversight.

It sets a bad precedent, and it lessens the government’s credibility both abroad, and domestically. It shows that the checks and balances we rely on in this country to keep things above board are not being met. And having former employees, well intentioned or not, coming out to say it is completely fine because NSA agents are really nice doesn’t help that one iota. If anything, it puts this blogger more on edge.

But I bet your former employer will be thrilled with the review.

Source: Loren’s Blog

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