NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

July 29, 2013

Our view: NSA monitoring continues unchecked

Those who support government secrecy and the mass monitoring of citizens must be breathing a sigh of relief.

That’s because an effort to defund the National Security Agency’s broad-based collection of telephone and Internet records failed by a narrow margin in the House recently.

The Obama administration and many congressional leaders fought hard to protect the program, warning that its repeal would endanger the nation. Despite that, a sizable segment of lawmakers, from across the political spectrum, voted to withhold funds. The final vote was 217-205 to retain the program.

So the NSA will continue to collect data as part of a still-secret effort. The specific extent of this program is unclear. What is known follows leaks by former NSA private contractor Edward Snowden, who is now hiding out in Moscow’s airport to avoid arrest by the U.S. government.

We have serious concerns about the scope of this program. And various assurances from the government since it was revealed have failed to resolve the matter.

To the contrary, conflicting statements, combined with sudden pledges to have an open debate related to the program, have made it clear that there are problems. And it doesn’t help that even though the Obama administration said members of Congress were informed about what the NSA was doing, many lawmakers obviously knew nothing about it.

As a result of last week’s vote, the NSA efforts — whatever they are — will go on. Congressional opponents of the NSA program say they will continue to fight it. And well they should. More than that, they and the American public need to demand the open discussion that has been promised.

We think more oversight is needed regarding NSA activities. Government bureaucracies tend to put their own interests first, and if gobbling up all sorts of unnecessary data is deemed desirable, the NSA will do it. The demands of a free society become secondary.

It is essential that NSA monitoring efforts be brought to heel now. The United States government is pumping ever-more money into its data collection efforts. Whatever it is gathering today may look to be quaint compared to what it will do tomorrow.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
#myNYPD backfires for NYPD Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down Rise of the Milkbots TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Raw: Keflezighi, Jeptoo Win Boston Marathon Teen hitchhikes in wheel well of flight from California to Hawaii Lindsay Lohan's Jaw-Dropping Secret President Sends Message To Boston And Marathon Runners LA Pastor Attracts Churchgoers with Pot
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans