Tag: NSA Surveillance

Member Post

 

Government Geniuses at Work: “Hey, let’s put our super-secret spy building in the middle of Manhattan and make it stick out like a bagpiper at a luau.” (OK, I suck at similes.) Construction began in 1969, and by 1974, the skyscraper was completed. Today, it can be found in the heart of lower Manhattan at […]

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The Conceptual Difficulties of the NSA Case

 

shutterstock_160092761Last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued an exhaustive opinion in which Judge Gerard Lynch held that the bulk collection of metadata by the National Security Agency (NSA) was not authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act. That provision provides in so many words that the Director of the FBI or his designated agent may:

…make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.

At issue in this decision was whether this language was sufficiently broad to permit the vast collection of the metadata and, further, whether and when the individuals who claim grievances for those collection activities are in a position to challenge the standard practice of the NSA under these sections.

Member Post

 

According to the Washington Post, a four-month investigation shows that the NSA collected (and kept) data from more American citizens than it did foreigners. The Post reviewed about 160,000 email and instant message intercepted by the NSA along with 7,900 other documents. Nine out of ten of the accounts involved were not legitimate targets, but […]

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NSA Surveillance: What We Should All Agree On

 

I’ve received several requests to respond to Tom Meyer’s very thoughtful post about how national security hawks should respond to criticisms of the NSA surveillance program. The piece is mostly about political argument and the art of rhetoric — I’m not quite sure from the post what Tom himself thinks is the best policy — so I’ll have to respond broadly.

What makes this issue difficult is that the war is covert, against a network of non-state fighters who disguise their communications and movements as innocent, but have great destructive power aimed at civilians. We are pursuing the wartime goal of stopping enemy attacks before they happen.