The National Security Agency’s surveillance hasn’t changed. Washington has.
By Mike Pompeo and David B. Rivkin Jr.
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks have subjected the NSA’s surveillance programs to unprecedented attack, raising the possibility that Congress will not be able to pass the 2014 Intelligence Authorization bill needed to provide congressional guidance on a host of crucial national-security issues. It would be lamentable if the entirely legal and invaluable NSA surveillance program became more of a political football than it already is.
Some proposals would hamstring the NSA’s ability to obtain, store and analyze information, while forcing disclosures of now-classified operations. Balancing the intelligence community’s need for secrecy with the public’s appetite for disclosure is always difficult in a democracy. But the NSA’s programs have from the start been tailored to balance constitutional requirements, statutory authorizations and operational needs. What’s different today is not how we collect intelligence, but the new and extreme legal and policy arguments against doing so.
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