NSA Chief: “No Other Way” But To Keep Up Massive Surveillance

a congressional hearing yesterday, National Security Agency Director
Gen. Keith Alexander offered his views about the role of massive
domestic surveillance in a free society. Unsurprisingly, he voiced
support for keeping up with the controversial and
work conducted by his agency.

The four-star general came before the Senate Judiciary
Committee, which was discussing the
. The bill aims to end bulk meta-data collection
and establish checks on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
(FISA) court. Alexander issued grave warnings about the dangers
such a law would pose to America, and even attempted to elicit some
sympathy for the NSA’s methods. USA Today

“There is no other way to connect the dots,” Alexander told the
Senate Judiciary Committee in a renewed defense of NSA surveillance
programs whose details were disclosed this year by former NSA
contractor Edward Snowden. “We cannot go back to a pre-9/11

Alexander said the national security threat has been mounting in
recent months, and the “crisis in the Middle East is growing.”

“Taking these programs off the table is not the thing to do,”
Alexander said.

It isn’t Alexander’s first time defending the agency’s domestic
spying. But it is interesting, because for
 he made many public claims (some of which have been

called into question
give the impression
that no such surveillance of American
citizens happened on his watch. 

Deputy Attorney General James Cole also testified. He expressed
doubt about whether the bill would have any impact. Significantly,
The Guardian
points out
that this “was the first time the NSA or its allies
have suggested that its dragnets on American phone data might not
be stopped even if Leahy’s bill… passes through Congress.”

Several senators criticized the NSA’s action during the hearing.
Judiciary Committee Chairman and sponsor of the USA FREEDOM Act,
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
, “Do we really need to collect so much data on
Americans? Just simply because you can do something, does it make
sense to do it?”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said recent disclosures about the
scope of the NSA’s data collection “call into serious question
whether the law and other safeguards currently in place strike the
right balance between protecting our civil liberties and our
national security.”

Legislators aren’t the only ones pushing for greater constraint
on the NSA. As Reason‘s Ronald Bailey
, major internet companies recently wrote an open
letter to President Obama calling for reforms.  

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/12/nsa-chief-no-other-way-but-to-keep-up-ma

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.