Sunday, August 04, 2013

everybody wants an admin account on unspeakable's global logging and monitoring system...,


NYTimes | The National Security Agency’s dominant role as the nation’s spy warehouse has spurred frequent tensions and turf fights with other federal intelligence agencies that want to use its surveillance tools for their own investigations, officials say. 

Agencies working to curb drug trafficking, cyberattacks, money laundering, counterfeiting and even copyright infringement complain that their attempts to exploit the security agency’s vast resources have often been turned down because their own investigations are not considered a high enough priority, current and former government officials say. 

Intelligence officials say they have been careful to limit the use of the security agency’s troves of data and eavesdropping spyware for fear they could be misused in ways that violate Americans’ privacy rights. 

The recent disclosures of agency activities by its former contractor Edward J. Snowden have led to widespread criticism that its surveillance operations go too far and have prompted lawmakers in Washington to talk of reining them in. But out of public view, the intelligence community has been agitated in recent years for the opposite reason: frustrated officials outside the security agency say the spy tools are not used widely enough. 

“It’s a very common complaint about N.S.A.,” said Timothy H. Edgar, a former senior intelligence official at the White House and at the office of the director of national intelligence. “They collect all this information, but it’s difficult for the other agencies to get access to what they want.” 

“The other agencies feel they should be bigger players,” said Mr. Edgar, who heard many of the disputes before leaving government this year to become a visiting fellow at Brown University. “They view the N.S.A. — incorrectly, I think — as this big pot of data that they could go get if they were just able to pry it out of them.” 

Smaller intelligence units within the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secret Service, the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security have sometimes been given access to the security agency’s surveillance tools for particular cases, intelligence officials say. 

But more often, their requests have been rejected because the links to terrorism or foreign intelligence, usually required by law or policy, are considered tenuous. Officials at some agencies see another motive — protecting the security agency’s turf — and have grown resentful over what they see as a second-tier status that has undermined their own investigations into security matters.