The Washington Post reports: Concerns about personal privacy are on the rise, with a big majority of Americans saying the National Security Agency’s collection of telephone and Internet data intrudes on citizens’ rights without clear improvements in U.S. security, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans say the NSA programs are infringing on some Americans’ privacy rights, and about half see those programs as encroaching on their own privacy. Most of those who see the programs as compromising privacy say the intrusions are unjustified.
The Guardian reports: The Obama administration has forcefully urged the defeat of a legislative measure to curb its wide-ranging collection of Americans’ phone records, setting up a showdown with the House of Representatives over domestic surveillance.
A statement from the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, late on Tuesday evening capped an extraordinary day of near-revolt on Capitol Hill concerning the secret National Security Agency surveillance programes revealed by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by the Guardian and Washington Post.
The White House urged House members to vote against a measure from Representative Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican, that would stop the NSA siphoning up the telephone records of millions of Americans without suspicion of a crime.
“This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open or deliberative process,” said the statement emailed from the White House late on Tuesday in anticipation of a House debate on the Amash measure scheduled for Wednesday. [Continue reading…]
So what does the White House do to promote an open deliberative process? Send in Gen Alexander to provide a classified briefing!
The New York Times reports: General Alexander’s hurried visit to Capitol Hill came as a leading Senate critic of the N.S.A.’s large-scale collection of data about Americans’ phone calls spoke out about expansive government surveillance. He declared that recent leaks about domestic spying by Mr. Snowden have created a “unique moment in our constitutional history” to reform what he said has become “an always expanding, omnipresent surveillance state.”
Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, the leading Senate critic and a member of the Intelligence Committee, also hinted that the revelation that the government has been keeping records of every domestic phone call is not the only such extensive program. And he blasted national security officials in the Obama administration, saying they have “actively” misled the American public about domestic surveillance.
“As we have seen in recent days, the intelligence leadership is determined to hold on to this authority,” Mr. Wyden said. “Merging the ability to conduct surveillance that reveals every aspect of a person’s life with the ability to conjure up the legal authority to execute that surveillance, and finally, removing any accountable judicial oversight, creates the opportunity for unprecedented influence over our system of government.”