NYT: Obama Lets the NSA Exploit Some Internet Flaws

Illustration for article titled NYT: Obama Lets the NSA Exploit Some Internet Flaws

Over the weekend, it was revealed that President Obama thinks that when the National Security Agency discovers major flaws in Internet security, they should be allowed to exploit it if there's a "a clear national security or law enforcement need."


The comment was revealed to the New York Times by "senior administration officials" on Saturday. The thinking has not been revealed by the White House publicly, but is said to have been discussed during the president's recent considerations of NSA reform. The story came to light following the White House's denial on Friday that it had any prior knowledge of the Heartbleed bug.

The comment did, apparently, come on the back of a declaration that, for the most part, the NSA ought reveal them to ensure that they will be fixed sooner rather than later. But the most part isn't perhaps quite good enough: when a security hole can affect all our digital lives, surely there must be no half measure? [New York Times]

Image by AP


The NSA's use of vulnerabilities like heartbleed is evidence of the narcissism that permeates the intelligence agency community. What makes the NSA think that they were the first to discover the vulnerability? The vulnerability may have been first discovered by the intelligence agency of another country and used to spy on the NSA itself. The security of the people of the United States should be the primary goal of the NSA and leaving that vulnerability unfixed leaves a giant honeypot for criminals and other countries to exploit.