Forgetting 'the First A in NASA'

Brazilian hackers upset over leaked reports that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on President Dilma Roussef and the state-run oil company Petrobras have displayed their displeasure on U.S.-government websites.

Alas, they apparently confused the acronym for the snoops -- NSA -- and the space cadets at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration -- NASA.

blog post photo

The U.S. space (and aeronautics) agency quickly took down the sites and got to work fixing them.

"At no point were any of the agency's primary websites, missions or classified systems compromised," according to a NASA spokesman. "We are diligently taking action to investigate and reconstitute the websites impacted during [the] web defacement incident."

NASA also mounted an investigation, which it says is "ongoing."

The NSA left it to James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, to comment on the Brazilian unhappiness. In a prepared statement, Clapper noted that "it is not a secret that the Intelligence Community collects information about economic and financial matters, and terrorist financing."

But Clapper denied the U.S. uses "our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of -- or give intelligence we collect to -- U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line."

For her part, President Roussef cancelled a state visit to Washington, saying she won't be dining with President Barack Obama in "the absence of a timely investigation of the incident, with corresponding explanations and the commitment to stop the interception activities."

Maybe the NASA investigators can share what they find with her.

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