The NSA went from playing offense to defense after a federal judge ruled its surveillance program is unlikely unconstitutional. In 2014 and beyond, nothing will ever be the same in the national debate we are having over domestic surveillance.
The US government is currently operating under the theory that it must collect the entire haystack to find the needle. But what happens to the rest of the haystack – information about law-abiding citizens that gets swept up in the mix?
Assange may be outraged at Manning’s conviction for leaking secret documents, but the judge’s dismissal of two other charges against Manning could halt Obama administration’s plans to prosecute Assange for publishing the documents.
New docs reveal the alarming scope of NSA data collection. But half of Americans see the spying as 'no big deal.' They are allowing government to chip away at freedoms that others, especially in the Arab world, are giving their lives to build.
Although Manning was convicted of the majority of the charges against him, and although he will almost certainly spend decades in prison for his deeds, much of the early media narrative focused upon his acquittal of aiding the enemy.
Thirty-eight years before Edward Snowden’s leaks, the NSA was embroiled in its first scandal over secret surveillance. A review of that history reminds us that abuses, even severe ones, can be met by investigation, broad debate, and reform.
If there’s one lesson to learn from Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, it’s that America’s classification system is broken. Officials concede that between 50 and 90 percent of the nation’s secrets are not worthy of their classification label.
The FBI is collecting far more than just telephone records and keeping it for far longer than the five-year limit the NSA has evidently imposed on itself. Calls for reform of the NSA should be coupled with demands for restraints on the FBI’s power.