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June 11, 2013

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GoneWithTheWind

There are multiple facets of this issue that people generally conflate as "spying" on Americans. Many of the things that the NSA is doing are both legal and done under congressional oversight. For example the meta-data about phone calls. The data is gathered and stored by the phone company and used to bill customers and provide them with statistical data. The phone company deletes this data after some number of months because it is all too much to store. The government wants the ability to look at this data with a search warrant when it becomes necessary and they would like this data to not disappear. So the NSA collects it and stores it for possible use in the future. This is legal and constitutional. It is the most talked about program in the current scandal and the most misconstrued. If the ACLU is sueing over this program they will probably lose. Some of the other things the NSA does are not so clear and may well be unconstitutional on it's face. BUT that does not mean the government cannot do it. If the NSA is collecting all the emails and all the keystrokes on the internet they may well lose that case to the ACLU. BUT it will still probably NOT have been illegal for them to do it AND after the lawsuit they could probably legally reinstitute the program. HOW! You ask. Simple, the long held belief that the constitution is not a suicide pact and that there are legitimate reasons to declare a state of emergency and or declare war and under those conditions the administration could do pretty much anything they need to do to save the country. The precedent for doing this runs throughout our history and when challenged has in general been upheld.

Now the leaking and misuse of the data (such as in the IRS scandal) was illegal and cannot be justified. Anyone who did that or was involved in it needs to go to jail.

R.J. Godlewski

Twenty years ago (~1988) NSA was accumulating more information than its analysts could decipher within a 1000 years, supposedly. Yes, they possess more powerful computers today, but then they are also collecting infinitely more data than they did during the old days.

Damn, I should have worked harder to get that job back then... :o)

Skunkfeathers

LOL at RJG's comment. Sorta ;-)

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