From Intelligence Squared U.S. – The NSA collects data on billions of phone calls and internet communications per day. Are these surveillance programs legal? Do they keep us safe? If not for the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, most Americans would be unaware of the vast amounts of information their government is secretly collecting, all in the name of national security. But whether you believe leakers are heroes or traitors, an important public conversation has begun, and we should ask ourselves: What tradeoffs are we willing to make between security and privacy?
As Benjamin Franklin might have asked, “Are we giving up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, and thus deserving of neither?”
“Spy on me, I’d rather be safe.”
“Yes, we gather the information, but no one can search it without reasonable suspicion passed on by a lawyer.” - Stewart Baker, First Asst. Secretary for Policy, Dept. of Homeland Security & Former General Counsel of the NSA
“We are for lawful forms of electronic surveillance, things clearly backed up by the Constitution, by statute, and by court interpretation are permissible.” - Richard Falkenrath, Principal, The Chertoff Group, Former Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush, and Former Deputy Homeland Security Advisor
“People can't speak freely when they fear that the government may well be listening in.” - David Cole, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, volunteer attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, and legal affairs correspondent for The Nation
“In a 16-year FBI career, I can honestly say I never found a criminal or a terrorist by rummaging through the personal information of innocent people.” - Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington and former special agent with the FBI
Join 88.9 WCVE, Richmond’s Public Radio station, for another installment of WCVE Forum, Sunday, January 12 at 6:00 p.m.
Previously on WCVE Forum
January 5: Humankind: The Search for Well-Being