America as we know is made of many tight knit pieces that work together to achieve a common goal. An analysis of the surveillance programs enacted by the United States reveals that the United States uses only a few pieces to establish a strong and somewhat overbearing surveillance program. Through Stevenson’s America’s Foreign Policy Toolkit we are able to analyze further the parts that the United States focuses on.
The greatest tool that the United States focuses on is the ability of its’ Intelligence Community (IC) page 231 (Stevenson, 2012). The Intelligence Community is made up of 16 members whose actions are broadly known, with even more suspected. Hidden within the cloak of secrecy this community is largely blamed when things happen that are unfavorable or hurtful to the United States, while maintaining face about when they are successful. One of the “elements” of the IC, the CIA, as even been stated as “the president’s personal sword of power in foreign lands if all else fails, one he can use without asking Congress first.” To have such a strong arm as president can be extremely useful in many situations. However, with the collaborative efforts of each of these departments, we will sometimes hit a wall. With each intelligence agency used to their own standard operating procedures, it can be quite difficult to collaborate with other “elements” unless someone is pulling you by the arm.
The biggest “element” with the most exposure in the media is the National Security Agency. The NSA’s primary goal is to collect signals intelligence and code breaking. An agency under the Department of Defense, the NSA, has only a small description in the Toolkit however; we know they have only quite recently resurfaced. They were always known for under the radar type activity, going even further with the name of “No Such Agency”. While the NSA’s primary focus is around the collection and code breaking, they are also in charge of protecting the United States’ government communications and information systems. With the massive amount of data collection one could argue very strongly that it is better to know what your opponents are working with rather than going blind into the situation. While many have questioned the reasons behind the massive collection of information, the fact remains that the United States is technically “at war” with terrorism, whatever that may include. We could look at the constant threat from Chinese hackers or intelligence officers from Iran as “terrorism” to the United States. Keeping an open mind about what they are doing will allow you to see that they are operating exactly as they are intended for. It falls into the hands of the President and Congress to provide some oversight.
The President himself holds much of the power of intelligence in his own hands. The president strongly relies on his National Security Council to relay him the intelligence he needs to make informed decisions page 67 (Stevenson, 2012). This council has...