Terror Threat Shakes Up NSA Debate, Unites Some Lawmakers | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Terror Threat Shakes Up NSA Debate, Unites Some Lawmakers

The Obama administration's weekend decision to close diplomatic posts from Central Asia through the Middle East and into North Africa has led to applause from "rattled lawmakers in both parties," The Washington Post writes.

They're praising the administration's response to what lawmakers say is some of the most serious intelligence since before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that terrorists are planning strikes — most likely in the regions where diplomatic posts were closed, but possibly elsewhere.

"The administration's call to close these embassies ... was actually a very smart call," House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said on CBS-TV's Face the Nation.

"It's a very credible threat, and it's based on intelligence," Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., said on ABC-TV's This Week. "What we have to do now is the most important issue, is protect Americans throughout the world."

As we reported Sunday, the State Department has extended the closings, through next Saturday, at 19 locations: Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Sanaa, Tripoli, Antanarivo, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Khartoum, Kigali and Port Louis. Posts in nine locations were to reopen Monday. They are: Dhaka, Algiers, Nouakchott, Kabul, Herat, Mazar el Sharif, Baghdad, Basrah and Erbil.

The terror threat has not only brought together some lawmakers, it has also affected the discussion about National Security Agency surveillance programs.

On Monday, NPR's Dina Temple-Raston noted that after weeks of debate on Capitol Hill about whether National Security Agency surveillance programs should be curbed — debate sparked by the secrets spilled by "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden — "the subject has changed 180 degrees" to a discussion of how effective the programs may be.

As The Hill writes, the "weekend terror threat ... has opened up a new front in the debate over the National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance programs. A handful of lawmakers — most of them longtime national security hawks — took to the Sunday news shows to declare the NSA programs a success, and credit the controversial surveillance methods, first uncovered when former contractor Edward Snowden divulged details to The Guardian, as directly responsible for uncovering a potential terrorist attack."

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

NPR

How'd A Cartoonist Sell His First Drawing? It Only Took 610 Tries

Tom Toro was a directionless 20-something film school dropout. Then, after an inspired moment at a used book sale, he started submitting drawings to The New Yorker ... and collecting rejection slips.
NPR

Will Environmentalists Fall For Faux Fish Made From Plants?

A handful of chefs and food companies are experimenting with fish-like alternatives to seafood. But the market is still a few steps behind plant-based products for meat and dairy.
NPR

Will We See Veto Battles On Capitol Hill?

With President Obama promising to vetoes, what are the possibilities of a few veto overrides during the next two years? NPR's Arun Rath puts that questions to the National Journal's Fawn Johnson.
NPR

3 Voices, 1 Threat: Personal Stories Of Cyberhacking

In President Obama's State of the Union address, he gave fresh emphasis to a problem that has been in the headlines: cybersecurity. Here are three people who have experienced security breaches.

Leave a Comment

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