National Security Agency (“NSA”) – Are We Honestly That Naïve?

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NSA Data Collection Should Balance Risk

You can’t have 100% security, and also then 100% privacy, and zero inconvenience; we’re going to have to make some choices.

President Obama

Really? The apparent revelation that the NSA is data mining reams of public communications data is a surprise? If so, it should not be, and you need to read James Bamford’s The Shadow Factory-NSA, 9/11 & Eavesdropping America which provides a wonderful view into the NSA and what they do—and how well they do it. Treasury SealAny attempts by the press or politicians to invent yet another POTUS scandal is simply absurd. Seriously! What after all did you think they were doing with an annual $10 Billion budget? What do you think “chatter” means?

PRISM is a clandestine surveillance program under which the United States National Security Agency (NSA) collects internet communications from at least nine major US internet companies. Since 2001 the United States government has increased its scope for such surveillance, and so this program was launched in 2007.

PRISM is a government code name for a data-collection effort known officially by the SIGADUS-984XN. The PRISM program collects stored internet communications based on demands made to internet companies such as Google Inc. under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to turn over any data that match court-approved search terms. The NSA can use these PRISM requests to target communications that were encrypted when they traveled across the internet backbone, to focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier, and to get data that is easier to handle, among other things.

PRISM (surveillance program)

  • PRISM is authorized by §213 of the Patriot Act, pursuant to §103(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
  • PRISM is authorized (repeatedly) by duly elected members of Congress, as well as the President
  • PRISM has Judicial, House, and Senate Committee oversight
  • Pew Poll: 56% support NSA PRISM, near majority for emails

As for the so-called whistleblower Mr. Snowden, there are a number of flaws with his thinking. First, what makes him believe that he has a personal and righteous obligation to thwart Congressional action? Snowden has not been elected to anything and does not represent anyone but himself. He is not privy to ALL the facts that lead to this Congressional action.

Second, if a terrorist attack was later found that could have easily been prevented with these programs–but we chose not to implement them–everyone (especially the GOP) would be screaming for Obama’s head! You can’t have it both ways. These are tough decisions based on evaluating and balancing risk versus intrusion, and Snowden is no one’s choice to make that decision. He has violated the law, increased danger for everyone, and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!


Mark G Capolupo

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