Merry Christmas From the NSA! Missing Files

U.S. Spy Agency Reports Improper Surveillance of Americans by David Lerman.

From the post:

The National Security Agency today released reports on intelligence collection that may have violated the law or U.S. policy over more than a decade, including unauthorized surveillance of Americans’ overseas communications.

The NSA, responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, released a series of required quarterly and annual reports to the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board that cover the period from the fourth quarter of 2001 to the second quarter of 2013.

The heavily-redacted reports include examples of data on Americans being e-mailed to unauthorized recipients, stored in unsecured computers and retained after it was supposed to be destroyed, according to the documents. They were posted on the NSA’s website at around 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

I was downloading the NSA reports so I could package them up on my website and GitHub, so you would not have to leave traffic on the NSA web logs when I discovered that the second quarter reports for every year are missing.

Oh, they show up in the index but the PDF files for the first and second quarters of each year have the same name.

  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2013_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 1Q FY13
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2013_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 2Q FY13
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2012_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 1Q FY12
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2012_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 2Q FY12
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2011_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 1Q FY11
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2011_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 2Q FY11
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2010_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 1Q FY10
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2010_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 2Q FY10
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2009_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 1Q FY09
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2009_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 2Q FY09
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2008_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 1Q FY08
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2008_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 2Q FY08
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2007_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 1Q FY07
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2007_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 2Q FY07
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2006_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 1Q FY06
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2006_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 2Q FY06
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2005_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 1Q FY05
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2005_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 2Q FY05
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2004_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 1Q FY04
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2004_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 2Q FY04
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2003_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 1Q FY03
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2003_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 2Q FY03
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2002_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 1Q FY02
  • /public_info/_files/IOB/FY2002_1Q_IOB_Report.pdf 2Q FY02

I have personally verified that the files listed above, for each year are in fact duplicates of each other. This was no simple naming mistake.

This will, of course, make automatic downloading scripts overwrite files while maintaining the correct number of files were downloaded.

BTW, the files for 3rd quarter of 2010, 3rd and 4th quarters of 2009, and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters of 2001 are missing as well.

Courts should take judicial notice of the routine pettiness of the NSA when fashioning remedies for failures to disclose. That will leave the NSA no one but themselves to blame for increasingly burdensome disclosures.

I first saw the NSA story in a tweet by Veli-Pekka Kivimäki.

Update: The missing files have been uploaded by the NSA. The last edited date for the files remains unchanged from 23 December 2014.

The next time I notice an error like this, I will capture an image file, digitally sign it and post it to a third party site.

Tomorrow I will grab a copy of the latest version of the files and tar them up so you won’t have to be recorded on the NSA web logs.

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