The House Hearing On NSA Surveillance In 3 Audio Clips | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

The House Hearing On NSA Surveillance In 3 Audio Clips

Play associated audio

Administration officials defended the government's surveillance programs before the the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence today.

Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, Sean Joyce, deputy director of the FBI and James Cole, deputy attorney general, raked over some of the same ground we've been hearing about since The Guardian and The Washington Post released information about a secret NSA program that gathers a vast amount of information about American's electronic activities.

What we did get is more detal. For example Alexander said these programs — including PRISM, which nabs Internet content from foreigners — have helped foil more than 50 terrorism plots and Cole gave a lengthy explanation of the legal system surrounding these programs.

Like we've done for these hearings in the past, we've pulled out three exchanges that, while dense and sometimes boring, will help you understand these programs. Here they are:

-- Four Foiled Plots: Joyce gave detailed information about four plots that were foiled with the help of these programs — among them a plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange:

-- Yes Or No: The chairman of the committee, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), went through a series of yes or no questions for Alexander. (If you remember, it was this kind of exchange that turned controversial for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.) But Alexander said, among other things, that the NSA is not "on private companies' servers" and cannot read Americans' emails:

-- A Legal Explanation: This is an extremely long piece of audio, but it's important. If you don't have time to listen to the 20 minutes, we'll highlight a few points: Cole believes the government has done a good job at balancing national security with the Constitutional guarantee to privacy; the programs have oversight by all three branches of government; in the phone program, the U.S. doesn't collect content, only meta-data, which isn't protected under the Fourth Amendment; under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the U.S. does collect content, but it only does so for "non-U.S. persons who are located outside the USA." Essentially, what Cole is describing here is the FISC decision that has not been made public:

We've covered some of this reasoning in a previous post.

It's also worth noting that Edward Snowden, who leaked the documents that got this story rolling, disagrees with that assessment. He has said that policy alone is not sufficient to stop analysts from accessing information they are not legally allowed to look at.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

The 'Man Who Touched His Own Heart' Changed Medicine

Melissa Block talks to Rob Dunn about his new book, The Man Who Touched His Own Heart, a history of science and medicine's efforts to understand the working of the human heart.
NPR

Shake Shack Sizzles With IPO As McDonald's Fizzles

Shares of the burger chain shot up Friday, its first trading day. Shake Shack and other fast-casual joints are taking a bite out of McDonald's, which can't recast itself to fit the current trend.
WAMU 88.5

Krupicka Wants Landlords To Be More Transparent About Mold

The Northern Virginia delegate has introduced legislation to make sure renters have access to information about mold.
NPR

Media Outlets Partner With Snapchat To Appeal To Younger Users

As people disappear from the audiences of conventional news organizations, 11 media outlets have partnered with Snapchat in the U.S. to offer its younger users easily digested fare within the app.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.