The New York Times’ David Sanger reports President Obama carved out a national security exemption for the NSA in January when it discovered a hole in Internet security that could affect the general public.
That exemption: the NSA doesn’t have to say anything about the flaw.
The fruits of this policy became evident Friday when Bloomberg’s Michael Riley reported the NSA had been exploiting the Heartbleed Bug, which is forcing users across the world to change their password, for years. The NSA has denied the report.
Here’s what administration officials told the Times’ Sanger:
“We don’t eliminate nuclear weapons until the Russians do,” one senior intelligence official said recently. “You are not going to see the Chinese give up on ‘zero days’ just because we do.” Even a senior White House official who was sympathetic to broad reforms after the N.S.A. disclosures said last month, “I can’t imagine the president — any president — entirely giving up a technology that might enable him some day to take a covert action that could avoid a shooting war.”
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