web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



The National Security Agency Imbroglio

Share Button

It seems a day doesn’t go by without at least one new revelation about the scope of the federal government’s monitoring of the communications of American citizens (and of perhaps many other people around the world).

One senses there still is an awful lot to come about how a nation like ours, built so successfully on the premise that government intrusion is properly the exception rather than the rule, is becoming something quite the opposite. In that regard, there was a fascinating opinion piece in last Sunday’s New York Times by Max Frankel – who served as the paper’s editorial page editor from 1977-1986 and executive editor from 1986-1994 – that stands out as a seminal contribution in putting this profound development into perspective.

The piece was titled “Where Did Our ‘Inalienable Rights’ Go?” and here are some key excerpts:

Now that we sense the magnitude of our government’s efforts to track Americans’ telephone and Internet transactions, the issue finally and fully before us is not how we balance personal privacy with police efficiency.

We have long since surrendered a record of our curiosities and fantasies to Google. We have broadcast our tastes and addictions for the convenience of one-button Amazon shopping. We have published our health and financial histories in exchange for better and faster hospital and bank services. We have bellowed our angers and frustrations for all to overhear while we walk the streets or ride a bus. Privacy is a currency that we all now routinely spend to purchase convenience.

But Google and Amazon do not indict, prosecute and jail the people they track and bug. The issue raised by the National Security Agency’s data vacuuming is how to protect our civil liberty against the anxious pursuit of civic security. Our rights must not be so casually bartered as our Facebook chatter. Remember “inalienable”?….

Many seem confident that the government is doing nothing more than relieving Verizon and AT&T and Facebook of their storage problems, so that government agents can, on occasion, sift through years of phone and Internet records if they need to find a contact with a suspicious foreigner. Many Americans accept assurances that specific conversations are only rarely exhumed and only if the oddly named Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allows it….

Even if true and satisfying, these assurances are now being publicized only because this huge data-gathering effort can no longer be denied. Whatever the motive for the leaks by Edward J. Snowden, they have stimulated a long-overdue public airing…. Until then, the very existence of the enterprise was “top secret” and publicly denied, even in Congressional hearings. Even now, the project remains secret in every important respect….

How many thousands have access to these storage bins? Who decides to open any individual file and who then gains access to its content? Is there ever a chance to challenge the necessity of opening a file? And what happens to gleaned information that has no bearing on terrorism?

Given the history of misused “secrets” in Washington, such questions are by no means paranoid. J. Edgar Hoover used F.B.I. investigations and files to smear the reputations of individuals – even to the point of intimidating presidents….

Information that is gathered and managed in secret is a potent weapon – and the temptation to use it in political combat or the pursuit of crimes far removed from terrorism can be irresistible.

President Obama and other defenders of the amassing of data insist that no individual conversation or transaction is ever examined without “court” approval, meaning a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. But the court authorizes the scrutiny of more Americans than foreigners, and it is no court in the customary sense: it operates entirely in secret….

There’s not much we can add to that. America has overcome many obstacles. It broke the shackles of British colonialism. It survived a devastating civil war. It successfully met monumental modern military challenges. It emerged as the world’s exemplar of democracy, equality and respect for human rights, despite many pitfalls along the way. It is now called upon to get its arms around the inevitable social and political fallout from extraordinary achievements in science and technology, something that may prove to be more elusive than all the rest.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “The National Security Agency Imbroglio”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Flyers ordered Jews to appear at a designated location in Ukraine, in Sept., 1941. The next day, the Jews lined up at the Babi Yar Ravine.
‘Jews Must Register’ Flyer in Ukraine an Echo of Babi Yar
Latest Indepth Stories
matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

Masked Palestinian Authority Arabs hurl blocks at Israel Police during and after "worship" at Temple Mount mosque. (archive photo)

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

More Articles from Editorial Board

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

To be sure, American policy had long opposed the growth of Israeli settlements, but at the same time U.S. policymakers acknowledged that in any negotiated agreement there would be land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians to accommodate the large numbers of Israelis living in the settlements.

The issue of affordable infertility treatment has long been one of particular importance to the Orthodox Jewish community and we support the leadership of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who again successfully championed this significant cause.

So it always struck us as hypocritical that Israel was expected to release cold-blooded killers almost as a matter of habit while the U.S. balked at letting Pollard go.

The Department of Justice acknowledges that individuals can claim an exemption if they can demonstrate an adverse impact on their religious beliefs.

In the larger sense, Mrs. Lubling came to epitomize an Orthodox community dedicated to taking care of its own.

There may not have been much else President Obama could have realistically done, but the headline writers at the Times obviously felt the need to massage a front-page story that took a less than giddy approach to Mr. Obama’s policymaking; how else to explain the story’s headline – “As Sanctions Start, Russia Feels a Sting”?

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-national-security-agency-imbroglio/2013/06/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: