Lawmakers, NSA Argue For and Against Spying Programs

While lawmakers, feeling the heat from constituents back home (or deeply disturbed by reports on spying well before the public became outraged), consider reforms to U.S. surveillance programs operated by the National Security Agency, NSA Director Keith Alexander is asking the public for help in defending them.

The head of the top spying agency in the country urges citizens to remain stalwart in their support of the program, lest something bad happen to them on the scale of what happened in Kenya earlier this week.

"If you take those [surveillance powers] away, think about the last week and what will happen in the future," he said. "If you think it’s bad now, wait until you get some of those things that happened in Nairobi."

Alexander is referring to an attack that occurred earlier this week at a mall in Kenya that saw dozens of people killed, injured, and held hostage. Alexander also claims that the surveillance has helped with situations like the Boston Marathon bombings case and similar threats. Of course, in the aftermath of that attack it was clear that law enforcement and spy agencies either ignored intelligence coming out of Russia about the assailants in that case or missed it entirely.

Despite the NSA's scare tactics about the potential threats Americans could face if the NSA's spying activities are curtailed, four Senators pushed forward a bill on Wednesday that would limit the power of the NSA.

"The disclosures over the last 100 days have caused a sea change in the way the public views the surveillance system," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), one of four senators who sponsored a bill called the Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act. The bill, which takes parts of a dozen other draft bills, calls for the creation of a constitutional advocate to represent the public in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and allows companies to disclose more information about their part in the spying program.

Source: Silicon Beat

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