The NSA Report: Liberty and Security in a Changing World

The NSA Report: Liberty and Security in a Changing World

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by The President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, Richard A. Clarke, Michael J. Morell, Geoffrey R. Stone

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"We cannot discount the risk, in light of the lessons of our own history, that at some point in the future, high-level government officials will decide that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private information is there for the plucking. Americans must never make the mistake of wholly 'trusting' our public officials."--The NSA Report


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"We cannot discount the risk, in light of the lessons of our own history, that at some point in the future, high-level government officials will decide that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private information is there for the plucking. Americans must never make the mistake of wholly 'trusting' our public officials."--The NSA Report

This is the official report that is helping shape the international debate about the unprecedented surveillance activities of the National Security Agency. Commissioned by President Obama following disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden, and written by a preeminent group of intelligence and legal experts, the report examines the extent of NSA programs and calls for dozens of urgent and practical reforms. The result is a blueprint showing how the government can reaffirm its commitment to privacy and civil liberties--without compromising national security.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A remarkably thorough and well-reasoned report calling on the government to end its bulk phone-data collection program and to increase both the transparency and accountability of surveillance programs."--New York Times

"[The] recommendations take aim at some of the most controversial practices of the intelligence community."--Washington Post

"Within the 300-page report are 46 recommendations that would dramatically curtail the National Security Agency's surveillance powers. While the proposals are specific and varied, they all echo one theme: The government's reach can no longer be limited by technological capacity alone. It must be reined in with laws and institutional reform."--Atlantic

"The report is a brilliantly readable guide to the world [Edward] Snowden revealed; its clarity of analysis, proceeding from fundamental principles, impeccable. . . . Governments around the world would do well to reflect on the principles that underpin The NSA Report and relate them to their own intelligence-gathering activities."--Kieron O'Hara and Nigel Shadbolt, Science

"The Review Board's recommendations on protecting the civil liberties of non-US persons--a relatively new aspect of the policy discussion--are incredibly welcome."--Jennifer Granick, Stanford Center for Internet and Society blog

"Fascinating insight . . . into how the nation's data-mining apparatus works--and how it's supposed to work."--Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Does keeping America free from harm in the post-9/11 world require that Americans surrender their Fourth Amendment rights? The country's security apparatus behaves as if the answer is yes—the subject of this official report to President Barack Obama. Headed by Clarke, of weapons of mass destruction renown, the president's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies allows that the National Security Agency is tasked, first and foremost, with protecting the country from harm at foreign hands—or, in ominous officialese, "protecting the homeland." Given that our terrorist enemies, to say nothing of states such as China and Russia, have ample cyber assets, the key is to use technology to analyze signals intelligence while keeping the NSA's eyes on the bad guys instead of the rest of us. Instead, by this report's account—to say nothing of the preceding revelations by whistle-blower Edward Snowden—the NSA's approach has been to drink the water from the fire hose, without regard for privacy rights. Early on in the report, therefore, the PRG recommends, "[a]ny program involving government collection or storage of such data must be narrowly tailored to serve an important government interest." So who determines what's important? Presumably the president, although the head of the NSA surely has an important voice in the matter—leading to another recommendation: that the NSA be headed by a military officer. The final recommendation among this set of nearly four dozen is rather pale, recommending the use of cost-benefit analysis and other tools to find out what's working, which leads one to wonder what the folks at Fort Meade are using instead. Fascinating insight—though much must be read between the lines—into how the nation's data-mining apparatus works—and how it's supposed to work.

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Princeton University Press
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5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Richard A. Clarke served as a national security official under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Michael J. Morell is a former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Geoffrey R. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. Cass R. Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard University. Peter Swire is the Nancy J. and Lawrence P. Huang Professor in the Scheller College of Business at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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The NSA Report: Liberty and Security in a Changing World 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
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