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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

NSA Review Panelist: ‘Potential For Abuse’ Is Greatest Concern

The National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Md., in an undated photo. (nsa.gov)

The National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Md., in an undated photo. (nsa.gov)

President Obama will speak at the Justice Department on Friday to announce his plans to reform the controversial National Security Agency surveillance programs.

The president’s plan comes after a panel he appointed to review the programs recommended sweeping changes to the NSA’s spying practices. In particular, panelists said that the NSA’s mass collection of telephone data was not effective and should be fundamentally reformed. The group had 46 recommendations in all, and called for increasing oversight of spying programs and greater transparency.

“The real concern with this program is with the potential for abuse.”

“We’re not saying the bulk collection itself is necessarily a bad idea,” Geoffrey R. Stone, a member of the president’s NSA review panel and a law professor at the University of Chicago tells Here & Now’s Robin Young. “What we’re saying is that it has to be done in a way that is consistent with the values of privacy and civil liberties.”

Stone stresses that a private entity — not the government — needs to hold the metadata, not the government.

“The real concern with this program is with the potential for abuse, and the way to protect against that is to have the data be held by a private entity that both can see what the government is doing, and also that is not part of the government and would resist illegal attempts to access the data,” Stone said.

Obama appointed the panel after intelligence contractor Edward Snowden released documents showing the massive extent and reach of NSA spying, both at home in the U.S. and abroad.

Obama has been holding a series of meetings to formulate his plans for NSA reform. Today, all five members of the president’s panel will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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  • Geoffrey R. Stone, member of President Obama’s NSA review panel and professor of law at the University of Chicago.

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  • arusticat

    This is from a wikipedia report on the undoing of Elliot Spitzer.

    The investigation of Spitzer was reportedly initiated after North Fork Bank[2] reported suspicious transactions to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network as required by the Bank Secrecy Act, which was enhanced by Patriot Act provisions, enacted to combat terrorist activity such as money-laundering.[3] Spitzer reportedly had at least seven liaisons with prostitutes from the agency over six months, and paid more than $15,000 for their services

    As far as I know, the provisions of the Patriot Act’s were put in place to detect terrorist activity.

  • Caroline

    Decades before Edward Snowden, average Americans, who were angry, stole secrets and leaked them. ” . . Davidon, with great reluctance, had decided that burglarizing an FBI office might be the only way to confront what he considered an emergency: the likelihood that the government, through the FBI, was spying on Americans and suppressing their cherished constitutional right to dissent. If that was true, he thought, it was a crime against democracy—a crime that must be stopped.” < from article by, BETTY MEDSGER "What Do You Think of Burglarizing FBI . ."
    Davidon didn't work alone
    HE ACTED ALONG WITH OTHERS . . .. he and others outed themselves 43 yrs after their break in.
    .The general public back in those days knew J. Edgar Hoover was powerful, and some thought if he was powerful, also, that power corrupts. A little band, determined to find out for sure, and expose what they believed as a fact, that electronic surveillance had been OK'd by the attorney general, and his permission opened the door for the FBI to plant an electronic surveillance device, a bug, in civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s New York hotel room.

    It was a good thing to expose this illegal surveillance to the American public, but it was a crime. Now, the burglars can't be prosecuted, enough time has passed.
    Don't we all know the President and government officials must say that Snowden is a trader, and should be prosecuted. If they don't many more people with initiative will expose what they feel are wrong-doing. The difference I see is that Snowden was an insider who'd taken an oath, the burglars of FBI in 1979 had given no oath.
    Time will tell what information that Snowden has, has damaged people, either badly, or not -so much, and I'd venture, "so much", because, I don't believe other countries didn't know, and don't also servile phones of our political officials too. They have been doing it for years, and everyone knows.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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