For some reason the whole NSA thing has reminded me of a trainwreck movie called ‘Cube’. It’s pretty terrible. The basic plot is that random folks were kidnapped and placed into a ‘cube’, a structure composed of many cube-shaped rooms with booby traps and death and whatnot. The explanation alluded to for this bizarre structure was a government bureaucracy that had gotten out of hand. A film that bad should never be used to substantiate any debate point, but it did make wonder if the NSA actually knows what it is they are doing. It is not inconceivable for a bureaucratic structure, when it grows to a large size, to lose track of some of its operations. A classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, but greatly amplified with the layers of secrecy and classifying on information that seems to infest the NSA operations. From the documents that have been leaked thus far, and judging from comments from NSA spokespeople, former NSA employees, the chief FISC judge, congressional members and their staff, white house spokespeople, etc., etc., I’m starting to wonder if some of the misleading comments (and only some) are not products of lying but rather products of ignorance. Is it possible that even the ‘leaders’ of the NSA don’t actually know WTF is going on there??? This is speculative, but as a model it does seem to me to help make sense of some of the comments being made by those who are supposed to know about this shit – maybe there is lots of shit they simply don’t know? The scary truth is, and this is clear from the leaks so far, is that if these ‘leaders’ and white house officials were in the dark about NSA activities then there is little chance of them being able to find out. It doesn’t seem a stretch for me to imagine how, over a prolonged period of time, a lack of meaningful oversight combined with highly intelligent capable technicians/programmers/mathematicians and unlimited budget could have creeped far beyond what the ‘leaders’ are aware of. The layers of secrecy in combination with the NSA having their own internal meanings for common words could have fostered a disconnect between those internal activities and what the ‘leaders’ believed was going on. None of this is intended to absolve any ‘leaders’ or lying rat-bag spokespeople. It is just that, after having these thoughts, a lot of the statements I’m seeing from white house officials, and from folks like Clapper, Litt and Alexander, seem to make a little bit more sense. Bullshit? Tinfoil? Unrealistic?