In a stunning turnaround on public relations policy, the NSA has come forward to categorically deny allegations first brought against them by leaks of the now declassified TURBINE program, a mass malware mailer revealed to the press by none other than Edward Snowden earlier this week.
The denial of these accusations is the first time the NSA has come forward to specifically address the detailed issues surrounding one of its programs, rather than shipping out yet another in a line of canned or otherwise PR-approved responses.
“Recent media reports that allege NSA has infected millions of computers around the world with malware, and that NSA is impersonating US social media or other websites, are inaccurate,” the NSA said in a statement to media yesterday.
TURBINE first made an appearance back in 2009, when the NSA was still picking out targets individually through manual programs that required user input to designate who would be tracked and who could stay under the radar a little longer.
The actual scale of the operation is what the NSA seems to be taking an issue with, rather than its existence or the need for a program capable of dishing out malware by the handful indiscriminately to hundreds of thousands of machines at once.
“NSA’s authorities require that its foreign intelligence operations support valid national security requirements, protect the legitimate privacy interests of all persons, and be as tailored as feasible. NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites. Nor does NSA target any user of global Internet services without appropriate legal authority. Reports of indiscriminate computer exploitation operations are simply false,” a spokesperson for the agency has said.
Why the NSA would develop a program capable of infecting millions of people at once, but then only use it to carefully select a distinct few to monitor? Who knows.