Leaders Of The 9/11 Commission Say NSA Surveillance Has Gone Too Far

from the wow dept

One of the key talking points from defenders of the NSA surveillance program is that they had to implement it after the 9/11 Commission revealed "holes" in information gathering that resulted in 9/11. This is a misstatement of what that report actually indicated -- in that it showed that more than enough data had actually been collected, it's just that the intelligence community didn't do anything with it. Either way, it seems that the leadership of the 9/11 Commission -- Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, who were the chair and vice chair of the committee respectively -- have now spoken out against the NSA surveillance efforts. And they don't hold back:
The NSA's metadata program was put into place with virtually no public debate, a worrisome precedent made worse by erecting unnecessary barriers to public understanding via denials and misleading statements from senior administration officials. Continue Reading

When the Congress and the courts work in secret; when massive amounts of data are collected from Americans and enterprises; when government's power of intrusion into the lives of ordinary citizens, augmented by the awesome power of advanced technologies, is hugely expanded without public debate or discussion over seven years, then our sense of constitutional process and accountability is deeply offended.

Officials insist that the right balance has been struck between security and privacy. But how would we know, when all the decisions have been made in secret, with almost no oversight?
The article goes on in great detail about the problems and calls for a truly public debate. As they note:
We are stronger as a nation when we understand what the government is doing. This does not mean sharing sensitive intelligence with the public. A public debate poses challenges when it involves classified information that dribbles out, obfuscated by misinformation. But there is certainly far more we can discuss openly.
Indeed.

Filed Under: 9/11 commission, lee hamilton, nsa, nsa surveillance, patriot act, thomas kean


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  1. identicon
    RichardLB, 26 Jul 2013 @ 8:54am

    Yep

    In 2001, the problem was that there were all of these different agencies, from small police departments to the FBI and then some with compartmentalized information. A really good lead or information had next to no chance of making it to the right people. The push was to join it all together and share the information.

    @Kean has a good point in that the NSA has continued to evolve the created data cohesiveness without any public oversight.

    From a tech & security perspective, the most shocking part is that the public is shocked about all of it. To us in the industry, it's like "Why is this a surprise to everyone?"

    @Kean also makes a good point against the Snowden types: "We are stronger as a nation when we understand what the government is doing. This does not mean sharing sensitive intelligence with the public. [..] there is certainly far more we can discuss openly."

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