NSA & Connecting the Dots

A release of an review panel study of Surveillance U.S.A. (SUSA, aka, U.S. intelligence activities) has been rumored on the Net most of the day.

While we wait for a copy of the alleged study, consider this report by the Guardian:

On Wednesday, NSA director Keith Alexander, the army general who will retire in the spring after leading the agency for eight years, strongly defended the bulk collection of phone data as necessary to detect future domestic terrorist attacks. “There is no other way we know of to connect the dots,” Alexander told the Senate judiciary committee.

Mass telephone data collection because:

There is no other way we know of to connect the dots

If the General wasn’t just playing to the press, that is one key to why U.S. intelligence services are functioning so poorly.


The light is better for connecting telephone dots together.

Connecting other dots, non-telephone dots, the ones that might effectively prevent terrorism, that might be hard.

Or in this case, none of the General’s contract buddies have a clue about connecting non-telephone dots.

Arguments to keep massive telephone surveillance:

  • Telephone dots are easy to connect (even if ineffectual).
  • Usual suspects profit from connecting telephone dots.
  • Usual suspects don’t know how to connect non-telephone dots.

From the General’s perspective, that’s a home run argument.

To me, that’s a three strikes and you are out argument.

There are lots of ways to connect non-telephone dots, effectively and in a timely manner.

It would not be as easy as telephone data but then it would be more effective as well.

You would have to know what sort of non-telephone information the NSA has in order to fashion a connect the non-telephone dot proposal.

Easy information (telephone call records) don’t equal useful information (dot connecting information).

If your cause, organization, agency, department, government, government in waiting, is interested in non-telephone dot connecting advice, you know how to reach me.

PS: BTW, I work on a first come, first served basis.

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