John C. Dvorak on NSA Spying: Are Americans Now the Enemy?

On revelations that the NSA calls U.S. citizens “adversaries,” John C. Dvorak is outraged. Is America really the enemy? Of whom? Here’s who to vote out now. commentary. John C. Dvorak co-founded aNewDomain and discusses these issues and more on his program with Adam Curry, The No Agenda Show. commentary — The latest revelations regarding the NSA snoops were not totally unexpected. A backdoor to Windows? Everyone knew there was one. People just needed confirmation. Cracking codes? Well, it was always assumed that is what the National Security Administration (NSA) was supposed to do.

But the NSA showing an apparent deep hatred and resentment of the American public as a whole? That is not only a surprise. It’s inexcusable. And perverse.

What I’m referring to here is the NSA’s use of the word “adversaries” to describe people and institutions who use any sort of encryption to protect information that is important to them. This includes banking records, other financial records, medical records, private discussions, chat and more. All done by law-abiding Americans.

Here is a snippet from the Guardian story covering this.

Among other things, the program is designed to ‘insert vulnerabilities into commercial encryption systems.’ These would be known to the NSA, but to no one else, including ordinary customers, who are tellingly referred to in the document as ‘adversaries.’

(The document reads:) ‘These design changes make the systems in question exploitable through Sigint collection … with foreknowledge of the modification. To the consumer and other adversaries, however, the systems’ security remains intact.’ “

This is a non-trivial comment. It’s not minor. It’s not semantics. Insofar as the NSA is concerned you are an adversary. Let’s look at the definition of the word:

Adversary: NOUN: pl. ad•ver•sar•ies
1. An opponent; an enemy.
2. Adversary The Devil; Satan. Often used with ‘The.’ “

So let me get this straight. The NSA, supported by the American public, the taxpayer, considers the people funding the operation to be the enemy? How did that happen? When did that happen?

I thought this sort of thing was not supposed to happen because we have these fabulous oversight committees in the House and Senate. Are they in on this? Does Senator Dianne Feinstein see her constituents as “the enemy?” The people who voted for her are her enemies to be destroyed? Really?

What kind of sick perversion are we dealing with here?

I put the blame directly on those representatives who run the U.S. Senate Select Committee on UnIntelligence and the House Intelligence Committee. All of the members involved have violated their Constitutional duties and have declared the American public to be the enemy.

They need to be voted out immediately.

If it were possible to recall them I would do that tomorrow. These are the same folks who sold the American public down the river. They have done nothing but encourage the onerous growth of a spy agency that we know spies on the citizens of the United States of America. Spying on Americans.

The NSA is obviously out of control if it considers the public and its institutions to be adversaries.

No wonder Dianne Feinstein, Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger are so bent out of shape over the Snowden leaks. They are in on the schemes.

And, because we know that these recent documents were never expected to see the light of day, you have to know that honesty prevails throughout. There is no good reason to sugarcoat the comments. This is what they really think. They didn’t have to be coy about it. The NSA considers the American people to be its adversary, thus its use of the word adversary.

The use of the word adversary to describe the American people is not by accident. It is not some casual usage. It’s not slang.

So now you wonder about the most-outspoken apologists for the agency, guys like Ruppersberger. You wonder if some blackmailing is going on or whether these folks just hate the country they serve.

It’s got to be one of the two.

Do something about these Congressional stooges. The worst of this group are in the Senate committee. They are making the biggest fuss about these revelations. Look at this press release — it condemns the fact that you, the American public, found out about any of this in the first place.

And there are plenty of others to blame. Here are the Republicans in the House committee. Vote them all out. And here are the Democrats. Vote them all out. All of them — including Marco Rubio.

These people have not protected the American public. And they are apparently on board with seeing the public as adversaries, as the NSA describes them so clearly.

None of them can be trusted any more. They should have resigned the committee if they saw things differently. Or they should have exposed the wrongdoing on the floor of the Senate, where they have complete immunity from saying anything including these sorts of revelations.

They all said nothing.

And let’s get one point straight. None of this complaining is about real state secrets or screwing with field operatives trying to protect the United States of America. It’s about the core idea that America is the enemy.

How do you protect the U.S. if you define it as the enemy? You can’t.

This definition of the U.S. as the enemy — the adversary — explains so much of what NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed. It exposes members of Congress as horrible individuals and elected representatives for doing nothing to prevent it.

For all we know, our elected officials encouraged it.

The entire country has been corrupted by this re-targeting of who is really the enemy. If you are okay having a target on your back then re-elect Mark Udall and Tom Coburn and the rest of these folks who took part in the re-definition. Ask them why they feel this way about you.

As for the NSA, they are not going anywhere. They just need to re-examine their mission and their attitude.

And they need to apologize.

Send a copy of this column to everyone you know.

For and the No Agenda Show, I’m John C. Dvorak.

John  C. Dvorak is co-founder with Gina Smith and Jerry Pournelle of An award-winning commentator, he  discusses these sorts of issues with Adam Curry on the No Agenda Show. Check it out at , and follow John @theRealDvorak. He writes Tech Stock Corner for aNewDomain.



  • Truly aNewDomain material and what a strong commentary from our co-founder Dvorak. He exhorts all to forward it to everyone you know. Yeah, that sounds excessive, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see how your friends react? That’s why I’m dutifully following all instructions from JCD. For today anyway : ) Good job, John.

  • JCD…. no elected representative wants a major terrorist attack to happen on his / her watch. So the oversight committees (wink, nudge) encouraged the NSA to go as far as technology allowed.

    The memory of 9/11 burns deep. Perhaps America is ready to turn the page, but I guarantee if the surveillance state is rolled back, and then another 9/11 happens that those in power will go down in history as traitors or worse.


    I have
    been assured, was the common price of white herrings. Between ten and
    fifteen years ago, before the boat-fishery was entirely ruined, the
    price was said to have run from seventeen to twenty shillings the
    barrel. For these last five years, it has, at an average, been at
    twenty-five shillings the barrel. This high price, however, may have
    been owing to the real scarcity of the herrings upon the coast of
    Scotland. I must observe, too, that the cask or barrel, which is usually
    sold with the herr

    • MMM, I love herring. Pickled please. Cream or wine sauce, doesn’t matter. But I really love SPAM. SPAM in a can. SPAM in a van on a divan. But Thing 1 and Thing 2 are blue because JCD gets no SPAM but unfortunately you do.

  • Undoubtedly there are some, as yet, unnamed Corporations holding their collective breaths that they will somehow manage to keep their collusion with the NSA in making their products less secure a secret. None of our systems are secure, and may be subject to arbitrary use, and/or the planting of evidence for frame-up, or other enforcement action. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the courts, since this knowledge would seem to make any digital forensic evidence much less compelling, given the ease in which the government could plant it on someone’s systems.

  • The elites and their progressive fellow travelers what to make the Fed Gov into God. It must be all powerful and all knowing and everyone must abase themselves before it. Anyone who opposes this must be punished, disenfranchised and marginalized. A little later on a more permanent solution can be implemented for the dissenters but that’s for later. For the present one must keep up appearances.

  • I think there are some broken links to members of the House and Senate. Can you please double check.

  • voting does nothing.

    “vote them out” is an expression of powerlessness.

    america is a one party state. it doesn’t matter who wins. business as usual continues. the political system is rigged.

    • Brilliant! Indeed history does imply violence is the answer, yes?

      How quick we are to disregard the past and it’s lessons in the name of well, laziness. Military competency used to go hand in hand with living when everything was more wild and brutal, and electricity was only a thought in young Nikola Tesla’s head!

      Through all of our times, once able, shooting your meal was always quite commonplace and so was weapon ownership (not limited to those firing projectiles most assuredly), as was average proficiency of all and up also were murders, mutinies and revolutions. But corrupt, typical people got ousted and things changed for short periods of time before gradually reverting back to what is possible given the circumstances of whichever situations societies are in, and also with due regard to human (animal) nature.

      That explains the stagnation and implication of continued repression. When a people lose their will and ability to fight, things will only get more extreme. But don’t worry, nature also shows us that a species in a self perpetuating cycle will, if able, exhaust all the possible resources it can harvest and utilize and will then suffer rapid extinction, likely having altered it’s environment irreparably. Even a lot pretty stupid people have figured this out. It is a pretty obvious and redundantly displayed lesson in nature.

      It is one thing to know something. It is another to lie to yourself. Technically speaking elections have been rigged in this country since it’s founding. Digitization is the sardonic icing on the cake but a horrifying majority of people will never even realize any of what I or gregorylent just said is true.

  • The Senate intelligence committee can maybe be replaced – but the House reps have so gerrymandered their districts that it is not hyperbole to say that their elections are essentially rigged.

  • If we’re not the enemy, why are they standardizing equipment and militarizing every police department in the country. What are they expecting?

    • They are expecting the riots after the coming global economic collapse. And the politicians in office now is playing musical cheers for their positions to reap the benefits of the ‘continuance of government’ program. The american public is not the enemy now, but too many people see the writing on the wall, and expect that americans will be.

  • This article is disappointing and misleading. The term “adversary” is standard cryptography jargon for someone whose information one is trying to decrypt. This is built off assumptions (made originally by mathematicians during wartime) that the point of cryptography is to protect your information from rivals as well as reading their information. In the field of crypto, everyone is everyone else’s “adversary,” trying to get the edge on them.

    In referring to people as “adversaries,” the NSA administrator means that they have encrypted information which the agency might be inspecting; the use of the term here is clearly to put it in proper terminology that the mathematicians and programmers doing the coding will understand.

    Reading any further into it is a clear failure to fact-check or do any actual research on the subject.

    • pull your head from your ass and take a good look around!!!!the country is going to hell ,everyday it’s something new,disarming the public,opening up our borders to every misfit,giving medical benefits to non residents,tapping mail,phones etc ,the list just keeps getting longer!!these people make hitler and stalin look like pikers!!!!keep your head up your ass abe,all is well!!!

  • The NSA needs the kind of love the republicans are showing the poor, the uninsured and women: cut their funding.

    • I didn’t realize women needed funding like they’re some kind of NGO out something…

      • I am of course referring to Planned Parenthood. But of course, they are not the ones who give John Boehner fat checks on the floor of the House to advocate their cause so they are well and truly something that rhymes with ‘ducked’.

  • John, the reason NSA can simultaneously consider Americans enemy AND protect the U.S. is because these are two different things. The government’s subservience is always to the State, NOT to the state’s victims (citizens).

  • Workers have always been the true enemy of the parasite class.

    Look up Rex84, IRA Steak Knife and Operation Northwoods.

    Look up how the US propped up the USSR from the 70s on so they would have an enemy to scare the serfs.

  • “But the NSA showing an apparent deep hatred and resentment of the
    American public as a whole? That is not only a surprise. It’s
    inexcusable. And perverse.”

    For me, as a European citizen, the
    thing that really strikes me is how Americans people react to this
    entire ‘NSA mass surveillance’ situation:

    Average European interpretation: Mass Surveillance is evil, no matter who’s doing it and no matter who’s being monitored.

    American interpretation: Monitoring non-Americans is fine. What, wait,
    it’s monitoring Americans? Monitoring Americans is evil!

    To me it feels like Americans, like the author of this article, seem to think
    of themselves as something ‘better than other human beings/world
    citizens’. I find this very repulsive.

    • Good point, MakeLoveNotWar — somehow we have misunderstood that the ideas of liberty and limitations on state power apply universally, not just to Americans — notice that the President makes exceptions even for Americans if they are out of the country! So a suspected terrorist, whom we can kill outside the US with a missile strike (along with whoever happens to be in the kill zone with him) could be an American citizen. But if this same person is inside the US borders, he gets ‘Constitutional protections’ – as if these are some special exceptions, not universally applicable.

      The Founders are spinning…

  • *facepalm*

    There’s certainly a lot of things to be concerned about when it comes to the government spying on its citizens, but the use of the word ‘adversary’ is not one of them.

    Grab any freshmen cryptography book — it just means someone who has encrypted info that you want (or someone who attacks an encrypted system).

    I actually agree that NSA spying is wrong and we should be holding officials accountable, but this article does nothing more than display the gross incompetence of its author.

  • Who would have thought that Dick Nixon, a strident anti-Communist, would ping-pong with the Chinese? Who would have thought that the first President of color, a Constitutional law professor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, would authorize programs that make the American people enemies of the state? Where does it say that droning your own people is OK, but not gassing them?

    Those who voted for HOPE and CHANGE, got it. Be careful what you wish for. Hillary in 2016? I think not!

    • Obama’s background also included working for a CIA front after Columbia College, so his promotion of the National Security State should not surprise anyone.

      As for Hillary, read about Mena, Arkansas and the WTI toxic waste incinerator in Ohio, that should cure anyone of enthusiasm for her.

  • Luv this. Exactly what American’ts deserve, as in reap what you sow. Not just police state but Orwell’s state, as well. Great article. In the morning!

  • All this hand-wringing is finally getting to me. This is a perfect example of hyper-ventilation. My assumption is that sigint is targeting bad guys: casting a broad net to catch a few bad fish. If we weren’t looking for bad guys we wouldn’t have the NSA. So… To torture another metaphor: the ravens have some road kill that Snowden hit with Daddy’s car and they are hopping around cawing and fighting for scraps. I think Dvorak got a piece of scrapple here; semantical bullshit. Not impressed.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Elstun Lauesen
    Anchorage, Alaska

  • Congress is full of despots… Feinstein and her ilk, the political CLASS, must be purged from our system to restore balance.

  • John, do you get paid write here? I cannot believe that someone is will to pay you after all the years you have been pushing out this drivel. Quite amazing really.

  • Playboy interview of Jim Garrison, 1967 (district attorney of New Orleans, hero of Oliver Stone’s “JFK”)

    non-rhetorical question: how can we make laws to control agencies that are above the law?

    PLAYBOY: Many of the professional critics of the Warren Commission appear to be prompted by political motives: Those on the left are anxious to prove Kennedy was murdered by a conspiracy within the establishment; and those on the right are eager to prove the assassination was an act of “the international Communist conspiracy.” Where would you place yourself on the political spectrum — right, left of center?

    GARRISON: That’s a question I’ve asked myself frequently, especially since this investigation started and I found myself in an incongruous and disillusioning battle with agencies of my own Government. I can’t just sit down and add up my political beliefs like a mathematical sum, but I think, in balance, I’d turn up somewhere around the middle. Over the years, I guess I’ve developed a somewhat conservative attitude — in the traditional libertarian sense of conservatism, as opposed to the thumbscrew-and-rack conservatism of the paramilitary right — particularly in regard to the importance of the individual as opposed to the state and the individual’s own responsibilities to humanity. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to formulate this into a coherent political philosophy, but at the root of my concern is the conviction that a human being is not a digit; he’s not a digit in regard to the state and he’s not a digit in the sense that he can ignore his fellow men and his obligations to society. I was with the artillery supporting the division that took Dachau; I arrived there the day after it was taken, when bulldozers were making pyramids of human bodies outside the camp. What I saw there has haunted me ever since. Because the law is my profession, I’ve always wondered about the judges throughout Germany who sentenced men to jail for picking pockets at a time when their own government was jerking gold from the teeth of men murdered in gas chambers. I’m concerned about all of this because it isn’t a German phenomenon; it’s a human phenomenon. It can happen here, because there has been no change and there has been no progress and there has been no increase of understanding on the part of men for their fellow man. What worries me deeply, and I have seen it exemplified in this case, is that we in America are in great danger of slowly evolving into a proto-fascist state. It will be a different kind of fascist state from the one of the Germans evolved; theirs grew out of depression and promised bread and work, while ours, curiously enough, seems to be emerging from prosperity. But in the final analysis, it’s based on power and on the inability to put human goals and human conscience above the dictates of the state. Its origins can be traced in the tremendous war machine we’ve built since 1945, the “military-industrial complex” that Eisenhower vainly warned us about, which now dominates every aspect of our life. The power of the states and Congress has gradually been abandoned to the Executive Department, because of war conditions; and we’ve seen the creation of an arrogant, swollen bureaucratic complex totally unfettered by the checks and balances of the Constitution. In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society. Of course, you can’t spot this trend to fascism by casually looking around. You can’t look for such familiar signs as the swastika, because they won’t be there. We won’t build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace in line. We’re not going to wake up one morning and suddenly find ourselves in gray uniforms goose-stepping off to work. But this isn’t the test. The test is: What happens to the individual who dissents? In Nazi Germany, he was physically destroyed; here, the process is more subtle, but the end results can be the same. I’ve learned enough about the machinations of the CIA in the past year to know that this is no longer the dreamworld America I once believed in. The imperatives of the population explosion, which almost inevitably will lessen our belief in the sanctity of the individual human life, combined with the awesome power of the CIA and the defense establishment, seem destined to seal the fate of the America I knew as a child and bring us into a new Orwellian world where the citizen exists for the state and where raw power justifies any and every immoral act. I’ve always had a kind of knee-jerk trust in my Government’s basic integrity, whatever political blunders it may make. But I’ve come to realize that in Washington, deceiving and manipulating the public are viewed by some as the natural prerogatives of office. Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I’m afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security.

  • he proposes to control the very institutions that he tells us are out of control, and to do this by using the same tools and customs that were used to remove control, to re-establish it. maybe it’s just me, but isn’t that what crazy people do?