Why Are The Congressional Intelligence Committees So Quiet On The NSA Malware Leaks?

from the speak-up,-feinstein,-we-can't-hear-you dept

Last week, we wrote about the leak of various NSA hacking tools, that showed it had zero-day exploits for a bunch of hardware, including some from Cisco. This has raised some concerns about how long the NSA sat on these vulnerabilities without telling companies — along with reaffirming what many people already suspected: that the supposed “Vulnerabilities Equities Program” (VEP), in which the NSA is supposed to disclose the vulnerabilities it finds to the companies to patch, is a complete joke.

But Marcy Wheeler has another important point about all of this. When the Snowden documents originally leaked three plus years ago, the various top members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees — the so-called Gang of Four — were quick to speak out (and condemn) the leak. But, oddly, this time they’re staying pretty quiet.

Within hours of the first Snowden leak, Dianne Feinstein and Mike Rogers had issued statements about the phone dragnet. As far as I’ve seen, Adam Schiff is the only Gang of Four member who has weighed in on this

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also spoke with Mary Louise. He said he couldn’t comment on the accuracy of any reports about the leak.

But he said, “If these allegations were true, I’d be very concerned about the impact on the intelligence community. I’d also obviously want to know who the responsible parties were. … If this were a Russian actor — and again, this is multiple ‘ifs’ here — we’d have to ask what is causing this escalation.”

Say, Congressman Schiff. Aren’t you the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee and couldn’t you hold some hearings to get to the bottom of this?

Meanwhile, both Feinstein (who is the only Gang of Four member not campaigning for reelection right now) and Richard Burr have been weighing in on recent events, but not the Shadow Brokers release.

If the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were really about “oversight” of the NSA, then shouldn’t they have jumped on this immediately? Shouldn’t they be looking into how the NSA manages the VEP? Shouldn’t they be looking into how these tools got out? Why are they just staying silent or giving meaningless statements like Schiff’s?

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Comments on “Why Are The Congressional Intelligence Committees So Quiet On The NSA Malware Leaks?”

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16 Comments
That One Guysays:

Rule #1 of the H&S Intelligence Committees: 'If you can't say anything pro-NSA, don't say anything at all'

If the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were really about “oversight” of the NSA, then shouldn’t they have jumped on this immediately? Shouldn’t they be looking into how the NSA manages the VEP? Shouldn’t they be looking into how these tools got out? Why are they just staying silent or giving meaningless statements like Schiff’s?

Why stay silent? It’s because they have absolutely no interest in providing any sort of oversight or acting as a check on the NSA’s actions, and since commenting on this there’s really no way to make the NSA come out looking good(which is all they care about), they instead choose to say nothing at all.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Rule #1 of the H&S Intelligence Committees: 'If you can't say anything pro-NSA, don't say anything at all'

Maybe they’re starting to learn from their mistakes.

If they admit it was the NSA, they can cause some pretty enormous damage to international relations.

If they deny it’s the NSA, and they’re telling the truth, then there’s a truly scary adversary out there.

If they deny it’s the NSA, and they’re lying, then in 3 days, $DATADUMP++ will prove them liars.

from their perspective, it’s a no-win situation. they best “option” they have is likely to stay quiet. Because then their words can’t come back to haunt them.

John Mayorsays:

SCHIFF VS SCHIFF

Hey!… maybe we can get the West Wing’s “Richard Schiff”, involved!… unless, of course, Adam and Richard are related! Indeed!… maybe Richard Schiff can be encouraged to move to California, and run against Adam as an Independent (and then join the Dems, afterupon his win!)! Schiff is a member of the Democratic Party; he supported Barack Obama in the 2008 US Presidential Election. And previously, he had endorsed Senator Joe Biden, before Biden dropped out! And!… as a former White House Communications Director (though!… admittedly!… a “fictional Director”!), Tobias Zachary Ziegler is well suited to the task of coming up with a proper Democratic response, for this irresponsible NSA leak! And to be blunt!… if Ronald Reagan can run for the job of Prez (and win!), then so can Richard! H*ll!… if comedian Al Franken can run (and win!), then why not Richard?… and Richard is just as funny as Al!
.
Please!… no emails!
.
Techdirtians/ Techdirtites!… let me make a suggestion!… call upon Richard Schiff (but!… speaking, as Tobias Zachary Ziegler!) to offer up to Techdirt, what the West Wing’s Communications Director would say, re this most recent “security dilemma” that’s been posed by the NSA! I believe that not only would Techdirtians/ Techdirtites be interested in Richard’s response, but– yea!– the CURRENT WEST WING, and, the MILLIONS of Tobias Zachary Ziegler supporters!

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