Revelations about the National Security Agency's eavesdropping on communications around the world continue to enrage foreign leaders and embarrass U.S. diplomats. "The N.S.A. seems to be listening everywhere in the world," reported the New York Times, "gathering every stray electron that might add, however minutely, to the United States government's knowledge of the world. To some Americans, that may be a comfort. To others, and to people overseas, that may suggest an agency out of control."
Who in the government is in charge of deciding whom to monitor — and how much of this oversight is truly working to keep Americans safe? Do we need the NSA as a first line of defense? Three guests join us to offer varying views on the NSA developments and what they mean for the country.
LEARN MORE ABOUT NSA SPYING AND U.S. DEFENSE:
U.S. needs to get spying under control
There is no question that the United States faces very real security threats, and some spying is necessary and justified. The question is who should the government be allowed to target in its invasion of privacy, and who should make that decision? The existing system is far too lax. (Frida Ghitis, CNN)
Congress vs the President: Who Should Make the Calls on NSA?
That the committees would think they ought to have been told is understandable. That they are protesting loudly -- well, it's as much for Merkel's consumption as it is for the NSA to stew over. Their message is this: "The U.S. Congress respects you, Madame Chancellor, and we think you're such an important ally and we value you so much that we would never do anything to ruin our critical relationship." But their message also is: The NSA has gotten out over its skis, and if the executive branch can't figure out when an intelligence operation is risky enough to warrant Congressional notification, Congress is going to force the issue. (Marc Ambinder, Defense One)
Phone Records and the NSA: Legal and Keeping America Safe
In the U.S., counterterrorism operations rely on tools such as the NSA surveillance program and are overseen by Congress, the executive branch, and the courts to prevent gross misconduct and overreach. Before Congress and the American public decide to throw the baby out with the bathwater, they must understand that these programs keep us safe and allow the U.S. to adapt to the ever-changing, and very real, terrorist threat. (Steven Bucci, The Foundry)