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Is working for ex-NSA just as bad as working for the NSA?

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posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 09:35 AM
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I have worked in a Sr. IT position for the past 25 plus years. The company I currently work for, managing 4 DataCenters worldwide was bought out by another company 6 months ago. Due to the negative reputation of the company that purchased us, the job offers/poaching began the moment that the buy-out hit the news. I've gotten job offers from every DataCenter within a 50 mile radius. (And they aren't entirely unwelcome as the past 6 months I have been definitely unhappy with our new owners who have pretty much left us out to dry.)

Yesterday I got a job offer that was almost too good to turn down. A friend of mine who is a Sr. Network Admin for a High-Security DataCenter is leaving her post to care for her newborn child. She was asked to pick a replacement and has offered her job to me. The pay is twice what I make currently and her employer has a great reputation for taking good care of their employees.

But here's the problem...

The owner, and who would be my immediate boss, is ex-NSA. He led the Cryptology Department at the NSA for many years, and has authored 30 books on Cryptology. The majority of their clients are High-Profile Defense Contractors who have outsourced their IT Services to them.

So, the question is this:

Is working for ex-NSA as bad as working for the NSA?

Knowing that they provide High-Security IT to Defense Contractors, would working for the "enemy" of the people ("friend" to our Nation) put me in a compromising position?

For those that don't know, Sr. IT positions are like priesthoods. They are trusted positions that have access to everything and anything. They know all of their clients' dirty secrets and are obliged, by their position, and often by Confidentiality Agreements, to keep your secrets secret. If there was something that wasn't meant to be seen, I would be the one person who would have had the potential to see it (although because of pressing work duties I'll generally ignore it like the elephant in the living room if I stumbled across it). However, what if I see something that my conscience dictates I blow the whistle to the public? What if I see something that puts my life in jeopardy?

Perhaps I am making mountains out of mole-hills. I've never worked for the Government or any Alphabet Soup Agency, or even Civilian Corporations run by ex-Alphabet Soup Agencies that work for Government Contractors before, so perhaps I'm just blowing things out of proportion. But it brings up an interesting moral quandary.

I'd be interested to know what others think.

[edit on 8-10-2009 by fraterormus]




posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 09:41 AM
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reply to post by fraterormus
 


Not if you aren't doing the same thins that the NSA does.

I can't say it's the same, and I would go for it. A good job is hard to find for most of us.

But if you really find something morally wrong with it, don't do it. It might not be worth the burden on your conscience.

But I would go for it personally.



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 09:55 AM
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Just because he / she/ they are ex-anything doesn't mean they still are.
If I were an ex bank employee and working for another high street bank it wouldn't mean I'd have any loyalty to my ex employer.
They might have grown a conscience since leaving, give them the benefit of the doubt and go do a job that pays more, it will help in teh economic downturn we have at the present, and seeing as jobs are harder to come by these days why run the risk of someone else getting it.
Let their actions speak louder than their words IMHO.
Good luck.



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 10:15 AM
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reply to post by fraterormus
 


thinking in a blanket statement mentality is bad in any situation. Because he worked for the NSA doesn't make him a bad person any more than a guy who worked for David Letterman. Let the track record speak for itself. Your friend liked the job and the employer, and then, there is the money. these days I say take the money while you can. You will almost certainly be bound by a confidentiality agreement, but I would assume you are now as well. Just because we think the NSA is the puppet masters, does not mean everyone there has their hands on the strings. Give it a chance. (show me the money Jerry!)

edit to add: If you need someone to sweep the floors, let me know.


[edit on 8-10-2009 by network dude]



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 10:37 AM
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Originally posted by fraterormus
So, the question is this:

Is working for ex-NSA as bad as working for the NSA?


Wouldn't that depend upon what work you're doing?



I'd be interested to know what others think.


I think that it may not have been a very good idea to ask advice about this on a public forum (especially this public forum), but I also think that you should go for it.

In addition to the one I have already asked, I have another question for you: Are this ex-NSA fellow's books on Cryptography publicly available?



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 10:42 AM
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I work in a global IT company. My company was global to begin with and was bought by this bigger company a few years ago. We are still integrating. All along I have worked a couple of rungs under a fellow who is ex NSA (from their IT department). He is a great guy, although rather quiet.

I routinely get access to my customer's most sensative data. Some of you may have seen some of my posts now and again about the banking industry. I have a customer who performs a major service for the industry, moving trillions of dollars a year from bank to bank electronically. There is a line I cannot cross, in regards to leaking information that would comprimise the company directly, but the stuff I talk about on here is rather public, just not illuminated.

If you see something illegal, leak it anonymously. If you see something questionable, but confidential, leak it through allegory. If you see something questionable, but public (even if not common knowledge), ask ATS.



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 10:53 AM
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More money is almost always good, Frat. That would really make me consider it. Knowing that your friend did ok there is a big plus too. I would have to consider stability in that job against what you have now as well.

For me, it wouldn't be so much about what the job IS, or who it's FOR as it would be, what do I need the job for? Will it do what it needs to do for me and my family?

Twice the money....very, VERY hard to pass up....but you know it doesn't only affect you.

If there is no relocation, you'll make twice as much, not physically dangerous...hmmm.....if you don't want it, hook a brotha UP.



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 11:04 AM
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Originally posted by Cadbury
Wouldn't that depend upon what work you're doing?

In addition to the one I have already asked, I have another question for you: Are this ex-NSA fellow's books on Cryptography publicly available?


Yes, the ex-NSA's books are publicly available through a major publisher. The guy is considered a genius in IT Security, both in the Private Sector as well the Government Sector. His business model relies upon his reputation as well as his ability to provide Top-Tier IT Security. I personally haven't found anyone with anything negative to say about him. From those who have read any of his books, they almost worship him.

Which, considering his background in Cryptology alone makes me want to pick his brain. It is a field that I lack the upper level mathematical skills for an intimate understanding, but it is something I definitely have a strong interest in, considering it comes into play, in one form or another with every aspect of my job already.

As far as your question towards what I would be doing, I guess my reluctance is to be yet another cog in the Military Industrial Complex. Granted, the position won't be unfilled for long. When a Sr. IT Position becomes available in our area it is a like a game of Musical Chairs where one person in our area will take the position and another will leave their position to fill the position the first person vacated, and the next will leave their position to fill the position the second person vacated, and so on, until all of the positions are filled by the same people, just in different companies than they were before...no outside hiring is ever required. So, the Military Industrial Complex will continue on, with or without me...it's just a matter of whether I feel comfortable providing IT Services to Defense Contractors or not, knowing the nature of the work that they do towards creating more efficient Weapons of Mass Destruction. Some would say that doing such would be Bad Karma.

To be honest, providing IT Services to Movie & Soap Opera Stars, Production Companies, Filmographers, Photographers, Music Companies, and Fashion Designers as I am now seems like the lesser of two evils by comparison.

Aiding and abetting Glamour and rampant Consumerism vs. aiding and abetting US Manufacturers of WMDs for the US Government...that is what it comes down to.

Although it reminds me of Accountants during WWII who served Germany before Hitler, served Germany under Hitler, and continued to serve Germany after Hitler. They didn't have a personal stake or hand in the atrocities that Hitler and the Nazi Regime committed, and didn't really care who was their boss, just as long as they were allowed to do the same job they had always done. Governments come and Governments went and Governments replaced even those, but the Accountants remained the same throughout it all. Do you blame the Accountants for having been a cog in the machine that committed atrocities, or were they just doing their jobs?



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 11:37 AM
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Originally posted by rogerstigers
I routinely get access to my customer's most sensative data. There is a line I cannot cross, in regards to leaking information that would comprimise the company directly, but the stuff I talk about on here is rather public, just not illuminated.

If you see something illegal, leak it anonymously. If you see something questionable, but confidential, leak it through allegory. If you see something questionable, but public (even if not common knowledge), ask ATS.


That is probably the best advice I've gotten thus far. Thank you.

In my current company's field, the most questionable thing I ever come across is Pr0n, or knowing with whom, where and how a famous Celebrity is cheating on their spouse...basically none of my business and not much of a moral quandary to keep confidentiality when I accidentally stumble across such in the course of doing my job. It doesn't matter to me if one of our clients has a foot-fetish or is a philanderer, although I may have to stifle a snicker if ever they come into the office or I talk to them over the phone. Ultimately, there is no amount of money that the Tabloids could give me to compromise my reputation, and otherwise no reason for me otherwise to compromise my reputation by disclosing dirty laundry that is no one's business.

But having a moral conscience and high ideals can be a challenge especially when put in a position where the things I could come across may pertain to the welfare and well-being of my country, my fellow citizens, and myself.



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 11:57 AM
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More money is almost always good, Frat. That would really make me consider it. Knowing that your friend did ok there is a big plus too. I would have to consider stability in that job against what you have now as well.

For me, it wouldn't be so much about what the job IS, or who it's FOR as it would be, what do I need the job for? Will it do what it needs to do for me and my family?

Twice the money....very, VERY hard to pass up....but you know it doesn't only affect you.

If there is no relocation, you'll make twice as much, not physically dangerous...hmmm.....if you don't want it, hook a brotha UP.



LOL!

True, more money is the American way after all.

And my friend did enjoy her job and if it weren't for being a first-time mother, she certainly would have stayed in her position indefinitely.

No relocation involved, although I'll have to commute as it is three towns over (back in my old neighborhood compared to the one I live in now).

Really, it should be a no-brainer.

Maybe my reservations might not be about who I'd be working for or who their clients are as much as it might be psychologically not feeling like I deserve something better. Or perhaps I've just heard the "Don't look a Gift Horse in the Mouth" proverb one too many times and am just too skeptical for my own good anymore.



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 12:05 PM
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Originally posted by fraterormus
Yes, the ex-NSA's books are publicly available through a major publisher. The guy is considered a genius in IT Security, both in the Private Sector as well the Government Sector. His business model relies upon his reputation as well as his ability to provide Top-Tier IT Security. I personally haven't found anyone with anything negative to say about him. From those who have read any of his books, they almost worship him.

Which, considering his background in Cryptology alone makes me want to pick his brain. It is a field that I lack the upper level mathematical skills for an intimate understanding, but it is something I definitely have a strong interest in, considering it comes into play, in one form or another with every aspect of my job already.


Could you u2u me a link to one of his works, please? I would like to read one.


As far as your question towards what I would be doing, I guess my reluctance is to be yet another cog in the Military Industrial Complex.


Ultimately, at the end of the day, aren't we all already cogs to that and much, much more (albeit slightly less directly)? You could think of it as an opportunity to apply your own morals and viewpoint to an environment that you perhaps feel is lacking of them. A small change is still a change!


it's just a matter of whether I feel comfortable providing IT Services to Defense Contractors or not, knowing the nature of the work that they do towards creating more efficient Weapons of Mass Destruction. Some would say that doing such would be Bad Karma.


Ah, karma. No, not necessarily. Where do they get their funding from, anyway? And who's to say that you would be involved in anything sinister or otherwise untoward?


To be honest, providing IT Services to Movie & Soap Opera Stars, Production Companies, Filmographers, Photographers, Music Companies, and Fashion Designers as I am now seems like the lesser of two evils by comparison.


Well, if I'm to be honest as well; actors, film companies, music companies and fashion designers are on the whole as an industry an evil so heinous that they almost rival even the most brutal of all Military ICs.


Aiding and abetting Glamour and rampant Consumerism vs. aiding and abetting US Manufacturers of WMDs for the US Government...that is what it comes down to.


Ah, yes! But which one will kill us first?! And in besides, does not one almost entirely drive the other?


Do you blame the Accountants for having been a cog in the machine that committed atrocities, or were they just doing their jobs?


Do you blame the crew of the Enola Gay?



[edit on 8-10-2009 by Cadbury]



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 03:51 PM
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reply to post by fraterormus
 


well....? did you take the job?

you know who to call if the floor gets dirty.



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 09:07 PM
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If having worked for the NSA or other alphabet soup agencies makes you evil then a number of ATS members probably shouldn't be here.

(Actually that's truer than I really thought about. Quite a few of us really shouldn't be here).



I think you're being a bit OCD about the whole thing. For starters most of the current information management systems use encryption methods where even the root user can't read sensitive content. I'd be willing to bet the worst you'd see would be email and one would hope by now that people know better than to use email for controlled information.

If it's going to bother you too much there might be better things for you to do than put yourself in the position of being let go from such a company over security concerns. That type of incident would not do wonders for your future career goals.

If you even think there's a remote chance you wouldn't be able to resist snooping around you should turn down the job and send it my way instead.



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 09:31 PM
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I have never worked for the government, never for the NSA, and I have never lied. That being said, do you feel that you would be comfortable taking this new position? If this new position is challenging, rewarding, and enjoyable…take it. Just remember, the information that you see, read or hear about has its consequences. Several adages come to mind: Know which side your bread is buttered, Loose lips sink ships, and If I disclose something really important me and my family will disappear.

Just remember, Never Say Anything (NSA).



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