This week on “60 Minutes”, current and former NSA officials were interviewed in an hour-long special dedicated to dissecting the events of the last six months and pointing fingers at everyone responsible for the mass-surveillance programs that were put into place in the past decade.
One interesting bit of knowledge dropped on us by none other than the head of the agency himself; Keith Alexander, alleges that an unnamed foreign power had been planning to inject American computers with a “superbug”, capable of destroying millions of computers at once with a single keystroke. General Alexander claims the crack disguised itself as a system update, installing into the BIOS of Windows and OSX computers without the user’s knowledge.
He then goes on to say that the NSA actually helped to thwart this plan by informing the manufacturers about the defect, of course completely glossing over the details of his own malware army currently deployed on tens of thousands of computers in multiple countries both allied and otherwise.
Among his other claims about the program, Alexander says his agency is “only listening to less than 60 targets who are considered U.S persons”, and that although MUSCULAR exists, his team of terrorist hunters are “only interested in metadata”, and don’t actually read or analyze the content of specific conversations and communications between various parties.
This should all be taken with a grain of salt of course, as the head of the NSA would be the first person to lie about what they actually do behind closed doors. If all this spying was so harmless, they would have been upfront about it from the beginning, instead of leering in the shadows until the famed whistleblower Edward Snowden finally smoked them out.
Regardless of what they say on national television, you can be sure that the NSA, GCHQ, and many of its affiliates are still working hard to track, allocate, analyze, and archive all of your personal data for potential “use at a later date”.
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