R.K: the problem with that oped is that it's behind the Wall Street Journal's paywall so people can't get to it.
C.R.: I somehow, I don't know how, I got to it but I was able to read it. I guess maybe through different ways on the internet I found it somehow and I have even posted on Facebook but maybe other people when they click it they can't get it. I'm not sure. But that oped actually puts in words what she said at this hearing and there's two things that she's saying: she's saying that Keith Alexander and Clapper claim there are fifty four, she doesn't use the word claim that was my term, she says, there are, she just takes it point blank for sure, there are fifty four examples where the NSA's data has stopped a terrorist attack.
Now that, right from the start, that's been debunked. When Keith Alexander first said there were fifty four examples, he was asked the next day, "well what are they?" And they de-classified three examples and once those three examples were out the press itself said, "uh Mumbai attacks, that's not effecting America and by the way what was the piece of that evidence that connected it with the NSA?" And there was another one, I think it was a U.K.example. So they immediately debunked these examples. And then in July, a FBI offical testifies that there's only one real example and the one real example that the FBI says does exist when they "found the needle" which means, the needle meaning that you have to have a haystack.
That was the quote that this FCBI official says, "we found the needle" which means you have to have a haystack. Makes no sense at all. But in the haystack they found this one connection and this was to a San Diego case of a cab driver who gave something like eight thousand dollars and they convicted him ostensibly for knowing that that few thousand dollars was going to Shebab. I don't know how strong that evidence, I think it's still on appeal, the evidence showing that he knows this eight thousand dollars was going to El Shebab or wether many times they think they're giving their money to a charity or etcetera, in any case it seems to me to be a pretty flimsy example if that's the one example.
Well you won't see that in the Wall Street Journal of Diane Feinstein. She says there's fifty four examples. She's going right back to what Keith Alexander claimed. The reason this is important is, and actually the Senators themselves on October 2 asked Alexander, they asked him point blank, you said there were fifty four examples but isn't there just one"? Because they were quoting the FBI official. Keith Alexander kind of stuttered and goes, "well I thought there were two." *chuckles* That's what his response was. Anyway, this seems like she's really now going back to an earlier time and this has been debunked.
It's very important because if people think that this works, of course it puts it on a very different footing that what Edward Snowden and many other statisticians and other people believe, which is that by adding hay to a haystack it makes it more difficult to find some rare profile or whatever you want to call it.
R.K.: That brings us to this whole new fascination with big data that suddenly it's going to be a massive gold-mine of useful information. You know what you also talked about in that article is about your experience going back to 9/11 and how the real problem was not not having NSA data it was that the information that was collected was not properly shared.
It was called "smoke-stacking" and that's kind of like what you described was the way they're handling things now with this new approach. What did you call that term? The -
C.R.: Haystack ?
R.K: Insider -
C.R.: Oh The Insider Threat Program? Yeah -
R.K.:You know I've never heard of that term before. It seems to me like that kind of stuff is, and the way that they are compartmentalizing as you described it, is likely to produce more of the same kind of failures within the agencies that were failures prior to 9/11 that prevented it from being stopped.
C.R.: Yep. That's exactly the case. The Insider Threat Program is basically a very similar to what they claim that they can do which is profile for terrorists and that somehow the computers that they -- if you just collect everything and input all of this data somehow they will be able to tell you. This Insider Threat Program is the same only it's going to be able to tell agencies directors who are the potential leakers in an agency.
This is all hogwash, complete hogwash. The National Academy of Sciences, amongst others, this is not possible. It's basically kind of a theme of "Minority Report" that somehow you're able to guess or judge a future action. Just not possible. It justifies though, this is what justifies this big massive collection of overwhelmingly non-relevant data. That's the key thing that you have to understand, Bush got caught by the New York Times in two thousand -- right after he was elected and this article came out. It had been called Total Information Awareness up to then.
That was this Orwellian thing that people realized was bad because it was collecting non-relevant data. First thing Bush did when he got exposed by that New York Times is he switched the name of the program to Terrorist Surveillance System and that made people believe that no, it's the terrorists that you're collecting data on. He used the example, if I find a phone that was used by a terrorist suspect, we have to have all the data.
Well no one would ever disagree with that the because that's relevant. That is relevant. What they did was took the term "relevant" and they said, relevant to the whole universe, the whole global battlefield of this large war on terror. And it makes no sense because the word relevancy, it has to be relevant to something. It can't just be relevant to the need to stop terrorism. That's what has gone on here.