Spying and the NSA

By Beacon Staff
By John Fuller

The National Security Agency has been caught spying! Imagine that.

There have been two schools of thought about the revelations that the NSA has been listening to the conversations of U.S. citizens and foreign leaders.

The first says that spying is a sovereign right of nations, everybody does it (wink, wink) and it is necessary. The other says that only tyrannical and oppressive governments utilize spying to the extent the NSA has been accused of in recent accusations.

Contrary to spy novels, popular mythology, etc., the most important element about spying is not information, but the good sense and the intelligence (pun intended) to use it correctly.

You can never have enough spies, communication-intercepting devices, etc., to monitor everybody and everything. What is needed is the good judgment to pick targets carefully, very carefully.

Spying on Germany’s Angela Merkel, not spying on the Tsarnaev brothers, ignoring Major Nidal Hassan’s rantings, and ignoring information about pending attacks on Benghazi illustrate what is wrong with our current intelligence-gathering efforts is not our technology and/or the quantity of our data-gathering.

What is wrong is the lack of good judgment, commonsense and discernment to select proper targets.

The Obama administration is as incompetent in selecting intelligence targets as it is in setting up an Obamacare website.

By Joe Carbonari

Where protecting the physical and economic wellbeing of the American public is concerned there will never be enough resources of time, money, and manpower to do the job completely.

We will always be at risk. The task is to use the available resources, and methods, as wisely as possible.

Technology allows us to gather a tremendous amount of information about our enemies, our friends, and our selves – and we must, for alliances and loyalties are subject to change.

In our thirst for information we violate the privacy expectations of friends and foes alike – as do others. We cannot assume that our enemies, or our friends, will restrain themselves from using the same methods as we do. In doing so we would risk, unduly, both safety and wellbeing.

So we gather vast amounts of raw data and indiscriminant communication, and we store it, thinking that it may well contain gems of intelligence that someday we can cross-reference, evaluate, and use.

Of course there is room for abuse – after all, we are human. So we build layers of oversight to protect us from our zealousness and from our frailties.

And now, we must choose our leaders, our guardians, even more carefully – our liberty left in their trust, our true privacy left to the inconsequential.

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