Something needs to be done to reign in U.S. intelligence agencies – particularly when they act totally unintelligently. Example: The FBI just blew more than $1 million to hack the iPhone used by San Bernardo shooter Syed Rizwan Farook in an attempt to tie him to some terrorist plot beyond the one he and his wife cooked up. The result: Nada. Nothing – of value – was learned.
Not even, would you believe, how to hack an iPhone a couple of months, weeks or days from now, after Apple has tightened the security even more than it already was.
The Wall Street Journal quoted FBI director James Comey, who’s lied to the American people and to Congress in the past, as saying that expenditure “was worth it.” A Reuters report said Comey noted that sum of taxpayers’ dollars was “a lot — more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months for sure.”
In 1789, in the year before his death, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy that, “‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” We can only hope that’s true of the term of James Comey.
In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on October 22, 2015 (see minutes 13:00-16:00 and 19:09-19:12) he declares that the assorted agencies charged with one or another aspect of the country’s security “use, collect and share intelligence in everything we do” – supposedly “better” since 9/11 than earlier, but, as the evidence shows, they seem to do so no more intelligently, or in any more an appropriately coordinated fashion, or much (if any) more successfully than was the case before 9/11.
How hard is it, really, to keep track of individuals who, for whatever reason, are on the FBI ‘watch’ list – who, for whatever reason, are considered to fit a profile of someone with harmful intents on the country? Apparently way harder than the modern-day FBI is capable of.
Comey argues that it is necessary for the FBI to be able to break or bypass encryption of private communications between citizens to further the cause of … what, freedom? One arguing against that view is Gen. Michael Hayden, the retired head of the U.S. National Security Agency, and he said as much as a conference on security issues in Miami Beach.
“I disagree with [FBI director] Jim Comey,” Hayden said in a speech. “I actually think end-to-end encryption is good for America.”
Before the bureau was shown the pricey method, investigators had claimed the phone could only be accessed with Apple’s assistance, The Hill reported. The Justice Department obtained a court order directing the tech giant to help unlock the phone, setting off a high-profile standoff when Apple refused.
Apple insisted that complying would set a dangerous precedent that would allow the government to ask other companies to intentionally undermine their security features, imperiling global digital security and online privacy.
The FBI countered that its request was narrowly tailored to the case at hand.
The court battle sparked a heated debate on Capitol Hill, as some lawmakers jumped to Apple’s defense, while others called on the Silicon Valley stalwart to help law enforcement.
The government eventually dropped its court order after purchasing the intrusion method from third-party hackers.
But because of the exorbitant costs to this approach, the FBI has said it cannot rely on paying outside hackers to get around secure devices.
“These solutions are very case-by-case specific,” said Amy Hess, the FBI’s executive assistant director for science and technology, during a House hearing this week.
“They’re very dependent on the fragility of the system,” she added. “And also they’re very time intensive and resource intensive, which may not be scalable.”
I will be very appreciative if you will encourage your friends, family and colleagues to check out what my two blogs – Food TradeTrends.com and YouSayWhat.info – do in the interest of providing information you might, otherwise, never become aware of. You never know: Some of my research could prove useful, or possibly amusing, to you (and/or them).
I also encourage you to check out the blogs of people I am following and Commotion In The Pews, a blog I stumbled upon a year or so ago. The author of the latter is a fascinating guy who cultivates the appearance of the character he plays through a good part of December each year: Santa Claus.