A Maryland Computer Security Engineer running for Congress. from: http://everyoneforcongress.us/biography.html Matthew Molyett is a 2007 Computer Science and Mathematics graduate of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Following graduation he worked at ReCellular, a cellular phone recycler in Dexter Michigan. He then accepted a position with the National Security Agency, starting a career in cybersecurity and network defense. Currently, Matthew is a defense contractor developing specialized governmental network protection tools.

Username being used for AMA: MatthewMolyett

Proof: https://twitter.com/molyett/status/477026585233473536 https://web.archive.org/web/20140902211709/http://everyoneforcongress.us.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/Molyett_EveryoneForCongress_AMA.pdf

I have linked to this from http://everyoneforcongress.us/media.html

I made an archive pdf of this page when I stopped doing questions today: PDF Archive Document

6/18/2014 EDIT: Wow, there has been a lot of activity since I checked this morning. I will try responding to a few of these posts. A quick scan through shows quite a bit of flat out nastiness, I will just skip those posts. I won't have time to keep checking here in addition to everything else, so any further questions for me will have to be posted to my Facebook, Twitter, or email.

Final edit: Have a great day! I won't be responding anymore.

Next Edit: Here is! Me saying where I stand on the future of America, surveillance, and NSA. If we the People, and through us the Congress, do not address the changing landscape now then we will either lose the global benefits of NSA or lose our freedoms in the long term. https://web.archive.org/web/20140704005650/http://blog.everyoneforcongress.us/2014/06/restoring-public-trust-and-reforming.html

Final final edit (9/2/2014): I have replaced links to my website with internet archive links.

Comments: 151 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

Ingens_Testibus21 karma

In all seriousness, being an NSA employee, I'd be interested in your thoughts on granting immunity to Edward Snowden, what areas you feel you will have the most success working with the other side, and what was that "eureka" moment that made you decide to pursuit a political career?

MatthewMolyett-16 karma

As the distribution of his collection is out of his hands, I don't see where national security could benefit from providing him immunity. The case for granting immunity seems based in the value of triggering a public discussion of the 702 and 215 implementations, but that was barely a scratch of what he took.

I feel I will have success leading the addressing of technical roadblocks and shortfalls of existing federal law. I can usually explain down the technical problems to folks when given some time, which is important for actually getting other legislators to grasp why the change is vitally needed.

I idly told my wife back in December that I thought I should run for Congress and she surprisingly and enthusiastically supported it. Once the seed was planted, I've been unable to stop thinking about it.

spacedawg_ie40 karma

I don't see where national security could benefit from providing him immunity.

It's not a question of national security, it's a question of civic decency, a question of supporting a principal of democratic accountability, a question of preserving the gift of freedom entrusted to us for the enjoyment of future generations.

If these concepts are alien to you, if you can't see past national security as a sole motivating factor in public life, then frankly, you are not fit to hold office as a public representative.

MatthewMolyett-13 karma

It is absolutely a question of national security since:

-the laws he violated were written to promote and protect national security

-the information he compromised caused damage to national security

-only the barest sliver of the information he compromised did anything to "supporting a principal of democratic accountability"

If you can an exterminator because of a cockroaches in your house and they lock your shutters and burn it to the ground would you pay them for killing the roaches, which you requested? That is approximately the relative damage vs benefit of the Snowden disclosures, and something that could have been addressed if he'd so decided by... only taking information that supported the alleged goal of revealing 702/215 implementations.

silly_bear66616 karma

I won't vote for you. Fuckwad

RKapellgo13 karma

Ill bet this AMA is feeling like a bad idea about now.

MatthewMolyett3 karma

Actually, the only part I feel bad about is that most of this emotion came out after I was finished and then while I was at work today. I had time set aside yesterday such that I was able to respond to all of the top level questions and most of the responses. Today, once it became an echo chamber, I wasn't able to respond in a timely manner and most of my responses have become hidden.

I knew the general response I may get by not coming in here shouting that all DoD employees are traitors deserving the chair, but I was hoping it would result in a civil discussion, which it did.

MatthewMolyett-4 karma

Oh you silly bear.

eabrek8 karma

Do you believe that wiretapping all Americans at all time is a violation of the Fourth Amendment?

MatthewMolyett-2 karma

I most assuredly do, which is why I feel more restrictions are necessary on the dissemination of information by NSA.

3AlarmLampscooter10 karma

I feel I will have success leading the addressing of technical roadblocks and shortfalls of existing federal law. I can usually explain down the technical problems to folks when given some time, which is important for actually getting other legislators to grasp why the change is vitally needed.

Goodness knows we need this.

I'm curious though, how can you justify the NSA's function for so few tangible benefits compared to humanity's real problems?

The real question I think is whether sacrifices in personal liberty, freedom and privacy are worth the added "protection". And I think when you look at that from an epidemiological perspective for the entire population, we'd be much better suited pouring the money recently spent on national security into biomedical research.

Terrorism has always been a "black swan event" that causes disproportionate economic impact to its actual population mortality/morbidity.

As hard as it is to say, I think to a degree we need to accept occasional acts of violence by asymmetric actors as part of background mortality, albeit one far less likely than say cancer or heart disease.

MatthewMolyett-4 karma

I justify the NSA's function on the great deal of other benefits that they provide to the country through situational awareness of policy makers and support to the military (it is DoD)

I do not support the use of NSA signals intelligence for law enforcement or non-military related counter terrorism work.

Eternally6512 karma

Do you support reining in the NSA domestic surveillance programs or not?

MatthewMolyett-20 karma

I feel that there needs to be a tighter association between US person data that is held by the government and the warrants issued to authorize the receiving of it, as discussed recently in the media. As an insider, I never experienced anything to support the truth of that lackadaisy approach to data handling which I read about in the papers. All of my personal experiences as well as the extensive regular oversight training suggest otherwise. With such a disconnect, I feel the question and answer is loaded in a way that any yes or no answer will be misconstrued.

I do feel there is a need for significant reform of the relevant laws to address the fact that technological growth will continue to make the determination of foreign versus domestic communications harder to make.

For clarity: I do support additional, significant restrictions on NSA data collection and use of that data. Much more detail on that is in an editorial that is currently under pre-publication review.

Edit 2: Yes I do, though without agreeing with your assertion that they have a "domestic surveillance program". That phrasing implies, to me at least, a certain kind of intent that I have no reason to believe exists. I am not trying to say that the NSA never intentionally collects domestic data, because they do in response to warrants, but that it is never done with a domestic surveillance intent. They do it because "the Signals Intelligence mission collects, processes, and disseminates intelligence information from foreign signals for intelligence and counterintelligence purposes and to support military operations. This Agency also enables Network Warfare operations to defeat terrorists and their organizations at home and abroad, consistent with U.S. laws and the protection of privacy and civil liberties."

iowamechanic308 karma

"For clarity: I do support additional, significant restrictions on NSA data collection. " clarity are you serious, that's just another bullshit answer by a bullshit politician. If you want people to take you seriously tell us what restrictions you support. You worked for the NSA for God's sake if you can't do better than that you don't deserve anyone's vote.

MatthewMolyett-8 karma

That one actually isn't a "bullshit answer by a bullshit politician", it is an acknowledgement that an op-ed is likely to get to more readers than a finished reddit AMA. If I pull the juicy specifics out of the article first then the editors are likely to feel that it "has already been published, in any form, in print or online"

And, as stated above, I'm following my legal obligations to provide a pre-publication review of that content.

So it is a guy not burning his writing assets and not trying to end up in jail.

iowamechanic302 karma

If you must consult the NSA before answering questions you don't belong in politics. We don't need someone running the country who has his strings pulled buy a secret organization that is not accountable to people of this country.

MatthewMolyett0 karma

It is just me holding to my legal responsibilities. I can't change those right now, I'm not in Congress.

Why a pre-publication review? All NSA/CSS affiliates (past and present) are responsible for forwarding for review any information intended for public disclosure which is or may be based on protected information gained while associated with NSA/CSS.


Eternally655 karma

I'm not an expert by any means. I am just trying to gauge the opinion of an "insider", as you say. I didn't mean the question to be loaded, and indeed, I don't think it is. But I could be wrong. I often am.

MatthewMolyett-5 karma

Just loaded because the context of the question and the answer is so different for the audience versus for me.

I can't provide all my background nor can I refute all the misinformation that is providing the context for the audience. That is why the question ends up so loaded. I wasn't accusing you of malice.

ScannerBrightly5 karma

I can't provide all my background nor can I refute all the misinformation that is providing the context for the audience.

So why should we believe you?

MatthewMolyett-12 karma

If you join my hangout then you can see my believable smile.

That is a very difficult question and one that people have spent entire careers trying to solve. I'm an Eagle Scout, father, and former employee of the National Security Agency here trying my best. You'll have to decide if you can trust me. We both know I can't lay my cards on the table and try to fix the things I see as broken, so trust is all that is left.

Sorry :(

sublimemarsupial5 karma

If elected, would you consider invoking the Speech or Debate Clause in order to "lay your cards on the table" and educate the public on what you clearly see as a legal and necessary program despite its classified nature?

MatthewMolyett-5 karma

If put into a position such that I thought something was happening which was improperly classified and needed to be revealed then I do think that I would go that route. Senator Wyden's trap questioning of Director Clapper is a time when he should have taken that path to reveal the implementation of the 702 program instead of trapping the Director between two conflicting oaths to do so.

In the case of something properly classified, lets look at the definitions of classification from EO12356...

(1) "Top Secret" shall be applied to information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.

(2) "Secret" shall be applied to information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.

(3) "Confidential" shall be applied to information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause damage to the national security.

Would I take it upon myself to unilaterally cause serious or exceptionally grave damage to nationally security for the purposes of educating the public? No.

All this said, I am not a supporter of what I see is an excessive focus on terrorism. I am especially not a supporter of curtailing Constitutionally guaranteed rights, especially the 9th Amendments', in the name of counter terrorism.

3AlarmLampscooter8 karma

What are your thoughts on bitcoin?

MatthewMolyett2 karma

I don't use it, though I don't have anything against it.

Full disclosure: One of my close personal friends is a founding member of a company that is exclusively focused on legitimate bitcoin commerce.

citation_included8 karma

Maryland District 3 is absurdly shaped and reeks of gerrymandering. What is your opinion on algorithmic redistricting, such as using shortest split line?

MatthewMolyett6 karma

It is most absurdly shaped and gerrymandered. Meeting the district has been difficult because so many locations have folks in a different district than their neighbor or even the next block. Districts should be as compact as possible to better facilitate meetings which allow the members to get behind the same ideas. Congressmen that can get a unified message from their district can better represent that message.

I can't get to your linked page, but anything would be better than Maryland 3rd!

T-town047 karma

I noticed you believe we should tax and regulate all safe drugs, what do you define as safe?

MatthewMolyett12 karma

Initially, Congress needs to definitely open up marijuana as almost half the states have already done so in some manner. They need to loosen the restrictions on general testing and studying of all kinds of drugs to be able to come up with a good, quantitative manner for determining "safe."

The current blanket prohibition doesn't work and gets in the way of robust scientifically valid studies to be able to determine what is safe. I don't have a list, but most of the current drugs approaches tend to be fairly gut based, especially when dealing with brand new synthetics.

blimp110 karma

I feel like this statement is a political ruse. A distraction to get redditors on board with his line of thought. Get people to think o wow he is very reasonable, and appreciates liberty, but what I find disgusting is the fact that if this is truly a ruse, then he must infer that all redditors are "druggies", and this is his way to pander to this community. Well I don't believe that is what Reddit is about. I believe Reddit is a community of different people from all walks of life, but one thing I think mostly everyone that frequents this website has in common is holding personal freedom, and liberty very high in their regards.

Keep-reefer-illegal-21 karma

Why should we be more open about weed? It is a drug! If people want to mess up their minds there are plenty of options on the market unfortunately so why do people need another one?

MatthewMolyett5 karma

Because people are already doing it and there is evidence that suggests potential benefits.

Money flows through the drug markets, and will continue. Under prohibition that money flows through criminals and cartels with violence traveling alongside. This is just like it did with alcohol in the 20s and early 30s. Just like with alcohol, we won't be able to get it under control unless local jurisdictions are able to manage it. The creation, the distribution, and the use. If prohibition was working we wouldn't even be having this conversation, because it would be off everyone's radar since it wasn't being grown, sold, or used.

Robust, repeatable scientific studies cannot reliably occur as long as the procurement of the study material, distribution to participants, and use by participants is a federal felony. The requisite documentation becomes potential evidence against all involved. Legalization allows for studies which allows for solid fact-based advertising which has been shown to reduce demand for tobacco.

Pennwisedom5 karma

To play devil's advocate here, alcohol did not really get "under control" after the repeal of prohibition, as much as it just became another thing for the gov't to tax. It also ceratinly didn't get rid of organized crime.

Perhaps the main benefit here is that it is easier for people get help with legal addictions than with illegal ones.

MatthewMolyett2 karma

Good points, and I agree strongly with the conclusion. Also, making things available though easy, legal channels cuts down on the illicit acquisitions just as the most effective thing against video piracy has been Netflix and Amazon rather than region coded films.

And I wasn't saying that alcohol was made under control by the repeal of Prohibition, but that the violent crime associated with the creation and distribution was. As you point out, organized crime adapts and finds other funding streams, it is true.

Pennwisedom3 karma

That's a good parallel with Netflix and Amazon.

MatthewMolyett2 karma

Thank you. One of the writers I follow, Mike Masnick, regularly discusses on his Techdirt blog about business model changes that can compete against piracy. He shows how changing how you do business can shape the market where just mandating the market shape through law doesn't.

We need to change how we handle drugs because pretending that the market can be wished or prosecuted away doesn't let us shape it.

jhmarks615 karma

You suggested in your Gazette piece that Congress has been lax on securing networks. What should Congress be doing on cybersecurity and what would you do to make that happen? Also, I see you're both former NSA and in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana. Do you agree with FBI Director Comey's (later semi-retracted) remark that strict policies on marijuana use are keeping some of the best cyber talent from taking government jobs?

MatthewMolyett7 karma

17 U.S. Code ยง 1201, Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems makes most instances of reverse engineering and other advanced software analysis illegal. As such, our higher education industry doesn't extensively teach it or software exploitation. Until most (nearly all) of our software is being written and QA tested by software analysts and exploiters then the critical bugs will continue be discovered by the cybercriminals.

We need to have a legal system that encourages the training and use of high end security researchers and allows them to publicly shame companies for their weaknesses. When a company can use DMCA to silence a researchers briefing, that means a vulnerability stays open. Criminals don't try to present their bug finding, they just exploit for profit.

Unclemeow5 karma

What does cell phone recycling entail? Do you disassemble the phones and make Franken phones? Or use the chips in other devices?

Your work done at the nsa, is it original programming new security features etc. Or more maintaining and modifying existing internal structures.

Why did you go into government work? Service to the country? What about the non profit sector (the real non profit not the for profit non profit)

What got you technically inclined? If you weren't doing this what would you see yourself doing?

What's a favorite childhood memory?

Finally what's a meal you eat at least once a week?

MatthewMolyett4 karma

Phones that can be resold are, after removing the data of the past owner. Phones that cannot be are torn up and recycled by their component material. Minimal amounts sent to landfills. Sometimes boards and internal components are reused with new cases to be sold as refurbished phones.

MatthewMolyett3 karma

Finally what's a meal you eat at least once a week?

For the past few months, the only meal I have at least once a week (More like every few days) is a Shakeology shake as breakfast or a between meal snack.

MatthewMolyett1 karma

Until middle school I was dead set to be a zoo veterinarian. Not just anywhere, but at the San Diego Zoo. I've always set my targets very high. Once in a career doing advanced computer work, I went to the NSA. I'd say thats the parallel to San Diego.

In middle school my older brother took a programming course and I got interested. He didn't follow through, but it became my passion.

I've been at this for most of my life, but I guess I may have stayed on the course to become a vet.

MatthewMolyett-1 karma

I am an Eagle Scout and was raised by a very civic focused family. Active Citizenship has been an important value of my entire life. Both my brothers (also Eagles) enlisted in the army and my father donates hundreds (thousands?) of hours a year to causes such as Scouts, Knights of Columbus, youth sports, and more. I ended up doing my service through the NSA and now by offering to serve in Congress.

Well, that and a desire to use my Computer/Mathematics skills on really cool problems. I did some software analysis for ReCellular and was always a huge fan of films like A Beautiful Mind. Government work had the potential to expand on both of those. I was very happy with what it offered.

Exitwoundz4 karma

Do you think Edward Snowden should have started his chain of leaks? And is it possible that there will be more leaks in the future that can have more of an impact on society than anything we have learned so far?

MatthewMolyett-16 karma

I do not think he should have done it, and have watched the work of good friends of mine misrepresented and slandered across the 'Net as a result. Work that was entirely unrelated to anything resembling a violation of rights, yet those sorts of disclosures are forgotten in the discussions about whether the 215/702 revelations were a good thing.

I don't know what else may be forthcoming and won't speculate. You can contact NSA directly at

Phone: (301) 688-6524

E-mail: [email protected]

Exitwoundz14 karma

Is slander on the net the only reason you don't think we should have known that everyone can be spied on?

MatthewMolyett-7 karma

Winner! We have another example of misrepresentation! :)

I didn't say that was any reason at all, just that was a consequence which occurred needlessly.

Had Edward Snowden revealed only information relevant to revealing the implementations of 702/215 programs (the things you seem to be asking about), then I may be of a different mind. There would have been better routes still to take.

Exitwoundz7 karma

What would those other routes be?

MatthewMolyett-11 karma

Good first steps would be to contact:

NSA Office of General Council

NSA Inspector General

DoD/Office of the Director of National Intelligence IG

Intelligence Oversight Committees of Congress (I do know how difficult it is to contact members of Congress though, thats a big part of why I'm running)

Congress at large. I suggested below a way to make sure that this route didn't get ignored, with the worst case being the story being broke by the media with the addition of "... and we have proof Congress ignored this"

Exitwoundz14 karma

Aren't the NSA Officials you mentioned mostly aware that those documents already existed?

MatthewMolyett-8 karma

I don't know what they were aware of, nor do I know if they had ever had those policies directly questioned from the view of them being illegal.

Yes, NSA OGC probably wouldn't be effective to question, since they are the ones that would have meticulously went over the policies for legality before they were started. But they could have provided back their analyzes about why they felt the policies were legal.

beefsupreme12315 karma


MatthewMolyett2 karma

Out of all the documents he collected, it seems silly to have forgotten to have brought out evidence of those 10+ attempts.

I would have expected a claim like that to be accompanied by the release 10+ email chains.

ScannerBrightly8 karma

I do not think he should have done it

What should he have done? What would you have done if you came across something against the constitution?

MatthewMolyett-5 karma

If, given his stated intentions and mindset, he felt the need to reveal the details about the implementations of 702/215 programs, then he should have limited himself to that. Minimized the impact to national security while carrying out the mission he'd set for himself.

(Edit: Witnessed through life, CSPAN, and the bills passed by Congress. Not through my time working for the NSA) For myself, I have witnessed public act after public act that is counter to the Constitution, carried out through Acts of Congress and the executive. My solution is to offer to go in and try to change it from the inside. I am offering to be that change I've bitched about for years.

ScannerBrightly2 karma

My solution is to offer to go in and try to change it from the inside.

How'd that work out for you? How long after you reported those crimes did you wait to assume nothing was going to done about it? What did you do then?

Let me just assume that people are still doing the illegal acts you say you reported up the chain. To me, that means YOU DID NOTHING! You are an accessory to the crimes of your former agency.

MatthewMolyett-2 karma

I didn't witness the acts as an employee of the NSA, but as a common man of the United States. Never have I seen such fervor for the Constitution and emphasis on oversight and compliance as I experienced from the training and coworkers I had at the Agency.

The Acts I mean are things like the January 1, 2013 passage of the "Fiscal Cliff" deal.

"AMENDMENTS: Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the following:"

Read that again! The Senate took a bill passed by the House, erased every word and wrote their own bill. They then claimed that the new bill did "originate in the House of Representatives" as is required by Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution. It did not. If the entire text came from the Senate then the bill originated in the Senate. Illegal, and every member of the Senate and House that voted yes to that "Amendment" failed their duty to protect the Constitution. As did the president who signed it.

Lord__Business2 karma

What are the first steps in putting together a campaign for public office? You go to medical school and complete a residency to become a doctor, or attend trade school and work in an apprenticeship to become a plumber, but I have no idea what one has to practically do to become a Member of Congress. I'm less interested in your background and more of the practical steps from "I want to run for office" to "I am on a ballot in November."

Thanks for doing this AMA!

MatthewMolyett4 karma

In Maryland, you fill out a form from the State Board of Elections and take $100 in. As I had never been registered with a party affiliation before, I had to register to vote as a Democrat first. They take your money and you're on the party primary ballot you asked for.

Win the primary or have no one else register for it and you're on the ballot in November.

Running unaffiliated requires the collection of signatures from the registered voters of your district.

MatthewMolyett2 karma

As far as what I have done, I have become a regular attendee of as many of the local political clubs as I have been able to discover. I created a website, facebook page and twitter feed, all of which I regularly update. Once you file the groups asking for candidate surveys just come out of the woodwork and I've spent many nights filling those out. A local marketer saw my materials and has volunteered to help out, which he has done amazing reaching out to the press.

I have not fundraised, instead piling the expenses on a personal credit card. That has both allowed me full control over my message and stance, but also limited my ability to reach people. No TV ads, no radio ads. I have enjoyed manually distributing literature and yard signs.

Ingens_Testibus2 karma

I'm a Republican/Libertarian campaign consultant. You and I are likely opposed to one another on many many issues; however, there is some commonality...namely Federal weed legalization. Having said that, I need a little extra work this election cycle -- how badly do you want to hire me? ;)

MatthewMolyett3 karma

As my campaign has been self funded and that credit card is about maxed out, I won't be hiring anyone. Thankfully the primary campaign ends on July 24th.

We'll see what happens after that based on the results.

Ingens_Testibus2 karma

I respect the hell out of that. I self-funded my own state legislative campaign back in 2004. Nobody knows how difficult it is to be a candidate until you're actually a candidate. Much respect, sir!

MatthewMolyett1 karma

Much appreciated! It has been nuts, but also pretty cool.

People expect you to shake their hand and otherwise ignore them, but once you make it clear that you are having a conversation they really open up about their concerns and experiences. Very enlightening and educational for me as a future sitting member. The vocal constituents will reach out regularly, but a lot of the pulse of the people will only be able to be read by immersion and really listening.

Swifti151 karma


[deleted]0 karma


MatthewMolyett-2 karma

I think it is unreasonable to have the fixed salaries that Congress currently has, it doesn't reflect the country very well. I've thought for a while that we should experiment with trying Congressional salaries to a multiple of the state median income. (possibly even 1x) That would make what is good for the state be what directly impact the representative. Home State would be more important than party, as was the drafter's expectation.

$174,000 is worth significantly different do different states. Where I grew up in Ohio, it is a very well off salary. Here in Maryland, it is worth much less. That makes it hard to judge.

As for the yes/no, I'll go with No. Underpaid? No.

UniversalOrbit0 karma


MatthewMolyett6 karma

Trying out a few different ways to reach out to people at once.

Never done an AMA before, never used a public Google Hangout, and trying to coordinate it all through Twitter and Facebook.

Should be interesting.

APandaHunter0 karma

AMA request: Someone that will actually vote for this man. Also, do you think that by doing the bidding of the power-elite you will be allowed to participate in power and become elite?

papipapichulo1 karma

Id vote for him

Unlike all the other politicians, he truly answered your questions without sugarcoating

APandaHunter2 karma

And when a judge hands down a sentence without sugarcoating, is it any easier to swallow. Did George Wallace sugarcoat his answers on segregation. He supports the security and surveillance state, he is the enemy, he should be cast aside.

MatthewMolyett1 karma


I don't know if you saw the edit I made above with my link. I wrote up an article about what I really think about the current and future surveillance of the United States.

Here is the link to the posting on my cybersecurity blog: http://secsandcyber.blogspot.com/2014/06/restoring-public-trust-and-reforming.html

I would really appreciate your feedback to it through that posting or even as an email. Thank you

[deleted]0 karma


[deleted]1 karma


ADDvanced2 karma

lol. Nice. If the NSA shared all this information freely maybe I wouldn't distrust them so much.

MatthewMolyett-1 karma

Unfortunately, everything shared with the people is also shared with potential adversaries. Some secrets must be kept to facilitate the intelligence generation that is required to keeping policy makers acting on true facts.

More effort should be made to push the policy slider toward Open as much as possible though.

ScannerBrightly8 karma

Some secrets must be kept to facilitate the intelligence generation that is required to keeping policy makers acting on true facts.

This assertion has never really been held to any scrutiny. Why must secrets be kept? What part of representing the American people must be kept from those same American people?

I'm not asking for nuke blue prints, but just saying, "It's for national security!" is a cop-out answer.

MatthewMolyett-2 karma

A building with two doors. The police know a perp is inside, but can't enter. They only have the resources to watch one door and have discovered which the perp will exit by. If they announce this to the news, and therefore the perp, he will exit by the door not being watched. Once their method is known, it can be avoided.

Sources and methods are fragile things, something that is expensive to gain, but often trivial to lose. If the CIA published a monthly list of their foreign contacts, how effective do you think their reporting to policy makers would be?

ScannerBrightly10 karma

Okay, let's break down your assumptions here:

A building with two doors.

...and many windows. You've already assumed that the exit must be thru a door.

The police know a perp is inside, but can't enter.

Perp? So, someone you already assume is guilty. How do we know this? Your word? How many trials do the people killed by CIA drone strikes get?

They only have the resources to watch one door and have discovered which the perp will exit by.

This seems like a resource problem, not worthy of "we'll break the law now and clean up afterwards" mentality.

If they announce this to the news, and therefore the perp, he will exit by the door not being watched.

Again, I'm not saying we should release "how to build a nuke at home!" documentation, but keeping secret the fact that your former agency was breaking every law we have regarding intelligence gathering and the constitutional rights of all Americans, I think the burden should be on you to make the case for things you believe need to be kept from those you are supposedly working for.

Once their method is known, it can be avoided.

And yet, people still use cell phones, even people with things to hide.

MatthewMolyett-1 karma

Why must secrets be kept?

You didn't ask for specific secrets, you asked why secrets at all. I provided an off the cuff parable that showed the resource problem and sources/methods problem.

As for why I must keep the secrets? I'm a United States citizen, subject to the laws and courts under the Constitution. Those laws, which have been validated by the courts, state that I am bound to protect those secrets. I can't be an advocate for change from prison.

If I knew secrets that I felt needed to be announced, then Congress would be the best place for me. Under Article 1, Sec 6 they can state whatever needs stating on the floor of their House without being legally punished. From there a member could announce to CSPAN any secrets needing broadcast.

Eternally657 karma

I think you would have done better to answer my original question. Redditors are going to react to the NSA in your title. If you want to defend the NSA, you will do better to just outright defend it. Oddly enough, Reddit is more likely to respect that than to like sidling away.

Most of the time, I think. If there is a reasonable case to make for the NSA, make it. Really. Analogies are tough to process.

MatthewMolyett-2 karma

I just tracked back to which question was your original question. I've edited in that my answer is yes I do, though without agreeing with your assertion that they have a domestic surveillance program. That phrasing implies, to me at least, a certain kind of intent that I have no reason to believe exists.

MatthewMolyett-4 karma

I'm sorry you felt I was avoiding the spirit of your question. I read your question as to how can there be secrets kept out of the hands of the people by their Representatives. I answered that with a clear analogy.

Here is a tale directly from the NSA Center of Cryptologic History about how the secrets of the NSA were important. Imagine this story being told in real time on the NSA twitter page... it would have turned out differently!

The Battle of Midway: How Cryptology enabled the United States to turn the tide in the Pacific War.

YoureAllCoolFigments0 karma


MatthewMolyett1 karma

I've tried.

bobaf-4 karma

Two fun questions.

  1. I'd the batman were real would you suggest the govt go after him?

  2. 3 favorite bands

MatthewMolyett-4 karma

It wouldn't be the prosecution I would want to see, but it would be the prosecution he deserves.

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