The National Security Agency is planning to release a series of terror plots that were thwarted by the controversial surveillance programs former NSA worker Edward Snowden leaked to the press.
Several past and current politicians have repeatedly stressed how important these surveillance methods are to the safety of the country. Former Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox News on Sunday that these programs are vital in preventing terrorist attacks because they allow us to gain crucial information about potential enemies.
“Two-thirds of the Congress wasn’t here on 9/11, or for that period immediately after when we got into this program,” Cheney said. “When you consider the possibility of somebody smuggling something like a nuclear device into the United States, it becomes very, very important to gather intelligence on your enemies and stop that attack before it ever gets launched “
Another avid supporter of the NSA’s tactics is retired General Michael Hayden, who was the head of the NSA and CIA under President Bush. In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, he explained how the American people will be a lot less fearful of the government intruding into their personal lives once they understand how much safer the country is thanks to the NSA’s secret espionage operations.
“There’s a natural instinct in the United States to rush the story to the darkest corner of the room,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s where this story belongs. And as Americans learn about the safeguards and the effects of the products of this program, I think they’ll become even more comfortable.”
Hayden also dismissed Edward Snowden’s claims that any high-powered NSA or CIA worker could listen to any phone conversation in the U.S. with a few clicks of the mouse.
“Snowden’s wrong,” he said. “He could not possibly have done the things he claimed he was able to do in terms of tapping communications.”
When the White House came under fire after Snowden’s leak, the Obama administration assured the public that having our internet activity and phone records monitored by the government is a fair price to pay for maximum protection. Our civil liberties may be violated, but as White House press secretary Jay Carney said, “you cannot have 100% security and 100% privacy.”
This of course isn’t stopping several officials from insisting that spying on innocent people isn’t going to stop terrorism.
“I don’t think collecting millions and millions of Americans’ phone calls … is making us any safer. I think we should have this debate,” Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado) said on Meet the Press. “It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.”
Senator Rand Paul even said he hopes to sue the government for collecting personal information without a warrant, calling the NSA’s actions “an outrageous abuse of power and a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.”
The NSA said that it would publish information as soon as the beginning of this week that proves the NSA’s ability to collect phone and internet records has stopped “dozens” of terrorist attacks in over 20 countries.
Via Reuters, Photo via Tumblr