@mperkel #ASKSNOWDEN They say its a balance of privacy and safety. I think spying makes us less safe. do you agree?
Intelligence agencies do have a role to play, and the people at the working level at the NSA, CIA, or any other member of the IC are not out to get you. Theyre good people trying to do the right thing, and I can tell you from personal experience that they were worried about the same things I was.
The people you need to watch out for are the unaccountable senior officials authorizing these unconstitutional programs, and unreliable mechanisms like the secret FISA court, a rubber-stamp authority that approves 99.97% of government requests (which denied only 11 requests out of 33,900 in 33 years http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/06/fisa-court-nsa-spying-opinion-reject-request. Theyre the ones that get us into trouble with the Constitution by letting us go too far.
And even the President now agrees our surveillance programs are going too far, gathering massive amounts of private records on ordinary Americans who have never been suspected of any crime. This violates our constitutional protection against unlawful searches and seizure. Collecting phone and email records for every American is a waste of money, time and human resources that could be better spent pursuing those the government has reason to suspect are a serious threat.
Im going to stop here. My deepest thanks to everyone who sent questions, and whether or not we agree on where the lines should be drawn, I encourage you to contact your members of congress and tell them how you feel about mass surveillance. This is a global problem, and the first step to tackling it is by working together to fix it at home.
If youd like to more ideas on how to push back against unconstitutional surveillance, consider taking a look at the organizations working together to organize https://thedaywefightback.org/ .
The problem for the intel community is that they’re providing no net benefit for all their snooping:
The money quotes:
We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the telephone records program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation...”
The failure to identify Mihdhars presence in the United States stemmed primarily from a lack of information sharing among federal agencies, not of a lack of surveillance capabilities, the report said, noting that in early 2000 the CIA knew Mihdhar had a visa enabling him to enter the United States but did not advise the FBI or watchlist him. ...This was a failure to connect the dots, not a failure to connect enough dots.
That wraps it up for me. If the NSA can’t point out actual wins, then roll them up, turn the building over to the private sector for commercial real estate and call it done. With the room-temperature IQ of some of the terrorists out there, if they can’t find actionable intel with all the capabilities they have, then the NSA is worse than useless.