General Alexander at Black Hat USA


The man who presides over the NSA and CYBERCOM appeared yesterday at Black Hat USA, repeating a number of standard talking points about the emerging surveillance state. Pulling the national security card, he pleaded that Orwelliani mass interceptionii is necessary to keep us safe. It’s a ridiculous argument that essentially extorts privacy (e.g. as Tom Friedman and Bill Keller both asserted, we must undermineiii the Constitution to save itiv). A notion, by the way, that Founding Father Benjamin Franklinv found abhorrent:

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Likewise, a former Stasi officer warnsvi:

“It is the height of naiveté to think that once collected this information won’t be used… This is the nature of secret government organizations. The only way to protect the people’s privacy is not to allow the government to collect their information in the first place”

To help support his stance, in a public statementviigiven by General Alexander on June 25, 2013, the NSA director claims:

“We provided over 50 cases to both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees that show the specific contribution of these programs to our understanding and, in many cases, disruption of terrorist

plots in the United States and over 20 countries throughout the world.”

Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch (and a former federal prosecutor during the 1980s,) saysviii otherwise:

“Upon scrutiny, however, many of these plots appear in fact to have been uncovered not because of the mass collection of our metadata but through more traditional surveillance of particular phone numbers or email addresses—the kinds of targeted inquiries that easily would have justified a judicial order allowing review of records kept by communications companies or even monitoring the content of those communications.”

When asked about why terrorists are attacking the United States (this is where he really shows the true extent of his indoctrination) General Alexander assertsix that terrorists attack us to impose a caliphate of sharia law:

“‘Why do so many countries want to attack us?’ the person asked.”

“The general replied that America stands in the way of them reaching their objective, which is to force everybody to comply with sharia law.”

More unadulterated propaganda; terrorists are attacking us because the United States is engaged in an unrivaled globalx campaignxi of state-sponsored terror. President Obama’s own wordsxii explain the basic dynamic at work:

“There is no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders”

The same people who have attacked the United States confirmxiii President Obama’s observation. Glenn Greenwald points out:

“In the last several years, there have been four other serious attempted or successful attacks on US soil by Muslims, and in every case, they emphatically all say the same thing: that they were motivated by the continuous, horrific violence brought by the US and its allies to the Muslim world – violence which routinely kills and oppresses innocent men, women and children”

It’s well documented that the Deep State has embarked on a self-perpetuatingxiv program of systematicxv massxvi murderxviithat has killedxviii hundredsxix of innocentxx childrenxxi. Is it any wonder whyxxii people abroad despise us? It’s not our freedoms that they hate; it’s the brutal reign of terrorxxiii that our leaders are executing.

The epicenter of the progressive movement, Noam Chomsky, describesxxiv the contradictory nature of General Alexander’s various explanations:

“You can’t seriously on the one hand be not only carrying out massive terror but even generating potential terrorists against yourself and claim that we have to have massive surveillance to protect ourselves against terror. That’s a joke. It should be headlines.”

General Alexander, sitting on mountains of pilfered data, is no doubt aware of this. The very fact that he falls back on such a blatantly flawed argument reveals the interests that he represents. General Alexander serves the deep forces of wealth and power that reside outside of government.

Bill Blunden is the author of The Rootkit Arsenal and the primary investigator at Below Gotham Labs. 


i http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/15/crux-nsa-collect-it-all/print

ii http://www.democracynow.org/2013/7/9/edward_snowden_on_why_he_stood#

iii http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/12/opinion/friedman-blowing-a-whistle.html

iv http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/17/opinion/keller-living-with-the-surveillance-state.html

v http://books.google.com/books?id=W2MFAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA270&lpg=PA270t#v=onepage&q&f=false

vi http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/26/v-print/195045/memories-of-stasi-color-germans.html

vii http://cryptome.org/2013/07/nsa-workforce.htm

viii http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/jul/02/electronic-surveillance-missing-laws/

ix http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57596420-83/hackers-to-nsa-chief-read-the-constitution/

x http://www.democracynow.org/2013/4/24/the_world_is_a_battlefield_jeremy


xii http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/18/israeli-envoy-egypt-gaza-talks/print

xiii http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/24/boston-terrorism-motives-us-violence/print

xiv http://www.alternet.org/print/news-amp-politics/chomsky-boston-bombings-gave-americans-taste-terrorism-us-inflicts-abroad-every

xv http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/04/09/v-print/188062/obamas-drone-war-kills-others.html

xvi http://web.law.columbia.edu/human-rights-institute/counterterrorism/drone-strikes/counting-drone-strike-deaths

xvii http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/23/opinion/the-forgotten-victims-of-obamas-drone-war.html

xviii http://www.alternet.org/print/high-civilian-death-toll-cia-drone-strikes-leaked-report-reveals

xix http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/

xx http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/17/us-killings-tragedies-pakistan-bug-splats/print

xxi http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/world/asia/after-airstrike-afghan-points-to-cia-and-secret-militias.html

xxii http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/01/ibrahim-mothana-yemen-drones-obama/print

xxiii http://livingunderdrones.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Stanford_NYU_LIVING_UNDER_DRONES.pdf

xxiv http://antonyloewenstein.com/2013/07/29/chomsky-praises-snowden-and-condemns-us-hypocrisy/

Bill Blunden is a journalist whose current areas of inquiry include information security, anti-forensics, and institutional analysis. He is the author of several books, including “The Rootkit Arsenal” andBehold a Pale Farce: Cyberwar, Threat Inflation, and the Malware-Industrial Complex.” Bill is the lead investigator at Below Gotham Labs and a member of the California State University Employees Union, Chapter 305.

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