How Worried Should We Be About the NSA?

Monday, June 10, 2013

National Security Agency (NSA) (Chris Hardie/flickr)

Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon thinks we should be very worried about NSA snooping and that's it's gone too far. She lays out her reasons why.

Comments [22]

The Committee to End Vocal Fry from Some place with ear plugs

Jumpin' Jeebus!!!

That VOCAL FRY!!!!!!!

I HATE it.

Ending every passage with that croaking, whiny intonation.

Brian, do a segment on vocal fry and it will be the most listened to and most hated segment ever.

Jun. 11 2013 12:01 AM

One question that doesn't come up very often in these debates: is it ethically acceptable to snoop on non-US citizens?

Jun. 10 2013 10:57 PM
Michelle from nyc

I'm not worried as much as I'm insulted. Our government has no respect for it citizens. Our lives are supposed to be private and the government goings on is supposed to be public.. When did these two things get switched around?

Jun. 10 2013 09:30 PM
VET from nyc

my sentiment on surveillance: let us all remember what Bush and Rice and the rest of them were briefed in the months that led to 9/11 - that terrorists were planning on hijacking planes and flying them into buildings - if you don't believe me - go back and look at the hearings on 9/11.
If the US gov' could know this in 2011 without the Orwellian system in place today - I say, there is great intrusion that needs to be checked/vetted.

Jun. 10 2013 01:36 PM
Lenore from Manhattan

They are collecting all this stuff on us and they couldn't even prevent Boston and there were all sorts of details that might have clued them in.

An incompetent Orwellian state. Perfect!

The opposition to the Orwellian state will always be in the minority. That's why we have or had a Bill of Rights. Snowden and manning are heroes.

Jun. 10 2013 01:03 PM
kikakiki from harlem/wall street

I have lots of questions "a warrant is only needed when the communication is between american citizens", so there is a blanket warrant in place - so that every telephone conversation of every american is monitored - and if the judiciary, the legislature and the administration all have to be a part of the process why are the American people upset, if you don't trust the administration and you don't trust the legislators and you don't trust the judiciary with all of the in-fighting among the three branches who do we trust with the repubs blocking everything Obama does and Obama's believing the judges are set against him and the Dems snowing the repubs do you really think if there was something illegal about the NSA one of these branches wouldn't be declaring from the rooftops or at least on Fox or MSNBC. So Snowdon is hiding in Hong Kong, because he wasn't free in the US? And finally Snowdon, only gave the documents HE thought would not harm the security of the nation. So people, we trust Snowdon but not the three branches of government? BTW yes, I believe these is a problem here, but lets take out the rhetoric and get to the facts.

Jun. 10 2013 12:16 PM
Jessie Henshaw from Way Uptown

Brian, What is frightening about this intrusion is indeed that this is a "SLIPPERY SLOPE" situation, with the "ULTIMATE POWER IS ULTIMATELY CORRUPTING" toward its end.

You should use the same mental model to look for others. There are quite a number where people are using our economy to take advantage and multiply that advantage toward destabilizing our society. We need a response other than "accommodation", of course, but the lack of discussion of them kind of shuts it off.

Jun. 10 2013 12:01 PM
Alan W from Manhattan

The chilling effect will be when we find out what happens to this guy. I believe that the Guardian was acting on behalf of MI6 SIS MI5. NEVER TRUST the British .. no matter how charming their accents seem to be.

The documents were not necessary to the story but most likely were "asked for" by the "journalists" and with their turn over his fate is sealed and those that would reveal this sort of "known unknown " to quote D Rumsfield will have an example set for them .

The right to privacy is part of Life Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The right to privacy is the foundation of all human and civil rights. Privacy is part of maintaining your integrity as a living, sentient, being. It allows you to be you and form your self as best you can.

Jun. 10 2013 12:00 PM
Cory from USA

Emily Bazelon, did you really go to law school? The Supreme Court held that pen registers didn't require a warrant eons ago. Neither you, nor any other non-practicing lawyer talking head, ever cared about data collection when it just affected "bad guys." Now that it affects everyone you are up in arms. Please. You have no credibility.

Jun. 10 2013 12:00 PM
Bob from Westchester, NY

You should let Emily know that even Garrison Keillor had jokes this weekend about the NSA story -- e.g., Paula Poundstone pointed out that when you reach a certain age it is helpful to have someone available on the phone to remind you of what you started talking about in the first place.

Jun. 10 2013 11:58 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

I'd rather have a slight increase of terrorist activity in order to protect rights for the future generations. We owe it to them.

Jun. 10 2013 11:57 AM

Maybe we need to take a look at the culture of secrecy within our government. What needs to be secret and what should be public?

Jun. 10 2013 11:56 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

The Patriot Act was passed largely unread by those who voted for it.

Jun. 10 2013 11:56 AM
Doug Andersen from Lexington, KY

Are you not concerned that Verizon collects all this information and has it available for whatever use they choose? The problem is that the information exists; who is custodian is only a secondary concern.

Jun. 10 2013 11:53 AM
antonio from baySide

We are a republic.

Jun. 10 2013 11:53 AM
meesh ess from queens

I can't stand Emily's morning voice!

Jun. 10 2013 11:52 AM

My funny NSA story -

In the late 70's, I passed the aptitude test (comparable to an SAT with LOTS more math and logic)and got an interview with the NSA in Fort Mead, MD. I had to be fingerprinted by the campus police as part of my application process.

I drove down and checked into a local Holiday Inn for two days of interviews and pre-employment tests. I interviewed with at least five section heads - cryptography, languages, computer operations, etc. - and took various psych test and evaluations and (my only) lie detector test.

On my exit interview with my employment counselor, he thumbed through his Rolodex and made me a job offer on the spot -- Procurement manager for kitchen services. Err....thanks but no thanks. My grandfather had been the head chef for a university but that was fifty years ago. I thought that kitchen help was below me. Certainly my government had progressed beyond that!

I will say this...the NSA cafeteria was the only place I have ever been that had beer in the vending machines. Wonder if they are still there?

The events of 9/11 caused us to unleash the NSA from its 'solely foreign' mission to build databases of behavior in order to protect us. If it is time to change that, let us do so without the fingerpointing at any particular politician. If you cannot keep your criticism apolitical, you should recuse yourself.

That goes for those of us who would 'Blame Bush' as well as the 'Obummer'-haters.

Jun. 10 2013 11:43 AM

Whether we like it or not, it is our job, as citizens in a Democracy to scrutinize the policies of our government. Just because Manning and now Snowden as well as other whistle-blowers broke a law/security clearance does not mean that their messages is unlawful. Just because a law is a law does not make is a good law. It is our job as responsible citizens to be able to scrutinize the methods in which our government protects us, or says it does. It is also our job to scrutinize bad law. I think people need to wake up and start to analyze the security state we live in for themselves.

Jun. 10 2013 11:39 AM
Greg DiBenedetto

With respect to this mornings comments on the "NSA Scandal" and the interview with Snowdon, I say enough with these self proclaimed saviors of the country and the world. This is the same malaise as that of Private Manning leaking secrets to Wikepedia in the interest of "exposing" the evils of this country. Both of these saviors have severely jeopardized the security of the USA and the free, civilized world.

The only thing I see wrong with the NSA and the general intelligence community is that they are not adequately vetting individuals before entrusting them with vital security information.

Jun. 10 2013 11:05 AM

Didn't u read that disclosure before u clicked ok?
The corporations own your virtual shadow. And u gave to them for free.

Jun. 10 2013 10:51 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

@ Dennis.


Jun. 10 2013 10:48 AM
Dennis Moyes from Rutherford, NJ

Does anyone else feel we're more at risk from our own government than the terrorists? It's been nothing but a power grab by government security agencies since before 9-11, now it's carte blanche. Where will it end. God bless "whistle blowers". Without them we'd be totally blind.

Jun. 10 2013 10:35 AM

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