NSA good or bad
by: mack rogers
it is wrong
After a storm of protests over U.S. spying, Obama calls for limits. By McClatchy Tribune, adapted by Newsela staff 10.30.13
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Monday said that there is a need for new limits on U.S. intelligence gathering, and a top senator announced that the spying on U.S. allies would stop. These announcements came on the heels of new revelations that the United States collected the telephone data of tens of millions of Europeans.In an interview on a new cable television channel, Fusion, President Barack Obama declined to discuss the spying. He would not talk about whether the National Security Agency (NSA) tapped the telephones of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and 34 other world leaders.Obama is being battered by the revelations of U.S. spying operations in France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Brazil. The disclosures are contained in top-secret documents leaked to news media by former NSA worker Edward Snowden.
U.S. Allies Angered By Phone Monitoring
Ties with some of the closest U.S. allies are being hurt. At the same time, there is an outcry in the U.S. over the NSA's collection of data from millions of Americans' phone calls and emails. The spying was part of an effort to unearth terror plots."Obama must feel very uneasy and embarrassed right now," said Hans Christian Stroebel, a member of the German Parliament's intelligence committee.Administration officials continued fending off questions about details of the operations, including when they began. They also will not discuss how high up the command chain the operations were authorized.There were complaints that the administration has been keeping Congress in the dark as well. Congress has the responsibility of overseeing the U.S. intelligence community. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announced that the panel would conduct "a major review into all intelligence collection programs.""It is my understanding that President Obama was not aware Chancellor Merkel's communications were being collected since 2002. That is a big problem," she added in a statement. "The White House has informed me that collection on our allies will not continue, which I support. But as far as I'm concerned, Congress needs to know exactly what our intelligence community is doing."
A Call For More Oversight
"It is clear to me that certain surveillance activities have been in effect for more than a decade and that the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed," Feinstein said. "Therefore our oversight needs to be strengthened and increased."She added, "With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of U.S. allies ... let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed."The White House denied that it hasn't discussed the issue with Feinstein."We consult regularly with Chairman Feinstein," said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council. "I'm not going to go into the details of those private discussions, nor am I going to comment on assertions made in the senator's statement today about U.S. foreign intelligence activities."Two Spanish newspapers reported that a document leaked by Snowden showed that the NSA collected locations and phone numbers of 60 million telephone calls made in Spain between December 2012 and early January. The spy agency did not record what was said in the calls.
Spain Summons U.S. Ambassador
The Spanish newspaper reports followed a revelation by the French newspaper Le Monde that the NSA collected the data of more than 70 million phone calls made in France. Those calls were made between December 2012 and January.Cryptome, a website about spying and freedom of speech, reported that the NSA monitored 46 million phone calls in Italy during the same time period.U.S. Ambassador to Spain James Costas was summoned by Spanish officials to discuss the revelations. He later issued a statement. He acknowledged changes were needed. "Ultimately, the United States needs to balance the important role that these programs play in protecting our national security and protecting the security of our allies with legitimate privacy concerns."This past summer, Obama ordered a review of all U.S. spying operations. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the review is aimed at ensuring that "we are properly accounting for both the security of our citizens and our allies and the privacy concerns shared by Americans and citizens around the world." Advances in technology mean there are more ways to gather information, Carney said. That also means there needs to be more limits. "We need to make sure that we're collecting intelligence in a way that advances our security needs and that we don't just do it because we can," he said.