How I learned to quit worrying and love the NSA


And I have….

The film “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” is a 60’s era satire on the cold war. A fantastic Peter Sellers / Stanley Kubrick film that I heartily recommend.

Armageddon is unleashed and the world is about to be fried by automatic nuclear retaliation doomsday devices.

But for some there is a positive spin. Quoting from the Wikipedia article:


“..within ten months of the activation of the doomsday device, the surface of the earth will be uninhabitable. Dr. Strangelove recommends that the President gather several hundred thousand people, with a female-to-male ratio of 10 to 1, to live in deep mineshafts in order to escape the radiation, and to then institute a breeding program to allow the United States to repopulate the surface after a hundred years have passed.”

So – an alternate definition of the 1% (male, of course) who may have reason to “love” the bomb.

I was at a recent ISSA conference here in Columbus, Ohio and of course the topic of NSA spying activities came up in one of the presentations. And of course they are frightening – particular to me as an American with a fundamental belief in personal privacy and individual rights. The notion of an American agency with a pervasive presence in network infrastructure around the planet was unsettling.

But then I thought of Dr. Stangelove… and Rhode Island and Alabama.

Imagine if every coastal state of the United States was independently responsible for coastal defense.

Texas’s navy would be brimming with every conceivable missile, rocket, ship and plane… Rhode Island and Alabama… maybe not so much. As a naval commander planning an invasion I would avoid Texas. After we invaded Alabama we’d work our way over to Texas.

And that’s pretty much where we are as a nation when it comes to cyber-defense.

Like it or not, it may be time to stop worrying and accept that the NSA – or whatever it mutates into – is required in this new world we have hurriedly constructed to coordinate the defense of America’s Internet boundary. By that I mean pervasive monitoring for cyberattack, and federal building and zoning codes for all new construction.

The concept of “nation” is being redefined – it extends beyond the physical frontier. If we do not rely on a central agency to coordinate the defense of our new frontier…. well, they’ll always be an Alabama or Rhode Island. Or maybe an HVAC vendor with unintended access to your point of sale systems.

So quit worrying and accept the fact that the “pornography delivery system” of the Internet that has now evolved into something we have made integral to our lives requires a national defense organization.

Put on your cowboy hat, America, and embrace your fear. Learn to love the NSA.

To quote Slim Pickens in Dr. Stangelove as he makes that grand nuclear descent….. Yee Haw!


 Note: Looks like the title I chose is something of a pre-existing meme.

Google: “How I learned to quit worrying and love the NSA”

The hive mind resonates.

This entry was posted in General InfoSec by James Klun. Bookmark the permalink.

About James Klun

Eldergeek - 30+ years of Mainframe/Unix/etc systems programming, administration, and technical management. 15+ years of Infosec. Endless amounts of what might pass for English prose. "We have met the enemy, and he is us":

3 thoughts on “How I learned to quit worrying and love the NSA

Leave a Reply