Jeb Bush, a probable Republican presidential candidate, defended the "hugely important" NSA data collection program in a speech today in Chicago:
"You must be prepared for a long term commitment to fight this battle," Bush said of the fight against radical Islamic terrorism.
"These attacks require response on many levels but most of all we should focus on preventing them. That requires responsible intelligence gathering and analysis, including the NSA meta data program, which contributes to awareness of potential terror cells and interdiction efforts on a global scale.
"For the life of me, Ido not understand -- the debate has gotten off track, where we're not understanding and protecting -- we do protect our civil liberties. This is a hugely important program to use these technologies keep us safe."
President Barack Obama said last night at a Democratic fundraiser in Rhode Island that the terrorism from ISIS "doesn’t immediately threaten the homeland." The reason? The security measures taken by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to Obama.
The threat to the U.S. government and U.S. businesses from foreign hackers, especially from China, has been increasingly in the news in recent months. In a little noticed WTOP interview last week, recently installed National Counterintelligence Executive William Evanina expressed the threat in terms that almost seem hyperbolic:
The topic of surveillance by the National Security Agency has arisen in, of all places, a House Republican primary in Kansas. Incumbent Mike Pompeo faced criticism from his challenger, former congressman Todd Tiahrt, over Pompeo's support for NSA surveillance programs. In a recent debate, Tiahrt accused Pompeo of "taking money from lobbyists and supporting the violation of the Fourth Amendment," while Pompeo replied that Tiahrt was misleading people about a program that keeps Americans safe.
Yesterday, the Washington Post’s top story was another leak from NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Unlike many of the Post’s other Snowden stories, where sensationalism has greatly outweighed the reported facts about this or that NSA program, this one had more substance and less breathless analysis.
President Obama has released a statement "on the Section 215 Bulk Metadata Program," saying that "Having carefully considered the available options, I have decided that the best path forward is that the government should not collect or hold this data in bulk." The statement is released by the White House wile President Obama is in Rome.
Edward Snowden’s revelations about the foreign and domestic surveillance practices of the National Security Agency have inspired a great deal of anger around the world, but nowhere has the fury been stronger than in Germany. “Goodbye, Friends!” read the front page of Die Zeit last November, when it was disclosed that the NSA had monitored one of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phones. Der Spiegel, which breathlessly published a report last fall alleging the U.S.
In the immediate days leading up to President Obama’s January 17 speech on the National Security Agency, news stories and leaks from the White House suggested the president would largely ignore the set of overhauls that had been put forward by his own presidential review panel—Peter Baker’s New York Times front-page story, “Obama’s Path from Critic to Overseer of Spying,” is a good example. But then the president gave his speech and, while the changes he offered up were not as radical as the panel’s recommendations, he did go farther than the pre-speech spin stories led you to believe by requiring each and every search of the NSA database to have judicial approval, which is a major modification to the program.
In the wake of all the “leaks” by Edward Snowden of the National Security Agency’s collection programs and the resulting debate over those programs, one constantly hears from elected officials and the commentariat about the need to strike the right balance between privacy and security. More often than not, this is followed by a suggestion that, as a country, since 9/11, we haven’t.
Florida senator Marco Rubio says that "some" of President Obama's proposed changes to the way the NSA collects date "go too far."
“Our intelligence collection programs are vital tools used by the government to defend the security of the U.S. homeland. I am concerned that some of President Obama’s suggestions today go too far and may make it more difficult for the government to carry out its constitutional responsibility to keep Americans safe," reads a statement released by Rubio's Senate office.
Thankfully, President Obama is not a doctor. If he was and you happened to visit him in his office and mentioned that you were worried about the potential for lung cancer, he’d immediately put you under, open you up, and pull out a lung—or, at least, that’s the logic that seems to be guiding his decisions on NSA’s collection programs. Yes, no one has found any evidence that NSA has broken the law, invaded constitutionally-protected privacy rights, or is about to. But never mind, it’s the very possibility that someday, somehow, NSA will jump the tracks that requires the president now to unduly complicate the use of what he admits has been an important counterterrorism tool.