Tags: NSA/Surveillance | NSA | Surveillance | Power | Vulnerable | Abuse

The Atlantic: NSA Surveillance Power Vulnerable to Abuse

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By    |   Thursday, 28 Jul 2016 11:38 AM

Weaknesses in oversight of the National Security Agency could make it dangerously vulnerable to being used for political exploitation by the nation's leaders, civil libertarians warn.

Though NSA defenders insisted the national security establishment could be trusted after secrets-leaker Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA's surveillance on U.S. citizens, that might not always be the case, The Atlantic reports.

"Presidents [George W.] Bush and [Barack] Obama were providing all the infrastructure that a tyrant would need to perpetrate grave abuses of power," Atlantic writer Colin Friedersdorf declares.

"This danger would be lessened with reforms to the NSA," he adds, but it "isn't enough," backing a plan to ensure the nation's presidential elections are protected against cyberattacks, and "reorienting" the NSA "so that it spends fewer resources spying on Americans and more on helping to protect the private details of our lives from actors foreign and domestic."

Amid the furor over GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's remarks about Russia looking for rival Hillary Clinton's missing emails, Freedom of the Press Foundation head Trevor Trimm tweeted his concerns about the NSA's vulnerabilities as well.


Timm added such manipulation "was always the overarching concern about NSA: even if it's not being abused now, the system would allow future leaders to wreak havoc."

Timothy Lee sounds a similar warning.

"Hopefully if President Trump ever ordered the NSA to hack into the computer systems of domestic opponents or critics, NSA leaders would refuse," he writes in Vox.

"But the president has the power not only to choose the NSA director but also to prosecute whistleblowers for leaking classified information. So we shouldn't be too confident that internal resistance at the NSA would stop him."

Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, writes surveillance oversight should be "president-proof," but isn't.

"There is no punishment for people who violate the law at a president's behest," she writes for Just Security. "And whistleblowers have less, not more, reason to believe they will be protected and not prosecuted."

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Weaknesses in oversight of the National Security Agency could make it dangerously vulnerable to being used for political exploitation by the nation's leaders, civil libertarians warn.
NSA, Surveillance, Power, Vulnerable, Abuse
366
2016-38-28
Thursday, 28 Jul 2016 11:38 AM
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