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Edward Snowden And Classified Files Essay

2123 words - 9 pages

Final Paper

Edward Snowden was an American computer specialist that worked for the CIA and as a contractor for the NSA. He disclosed classified files over several media sources, that were evidence that the NSA was collecting data from the phone calls and internet activities of most Americans. Snowden thought that by revealing these secret government activities that Americans would realized that their privacy is being invaded and that they need to do something about it.
President Obama insisted that the government is not invading privacy but is just looking for potential terrorist activities that can be thwarted by preemptive measures. Even after this statement by the President there are ...view middle of the document...

A full investigation requires a base of facts that points towards activity ruled as a federal crime or as a national security threat. Although the latter two levels require some basis for criminal activity, an assessment does not require any form of premise of a threat to be undergone. This leaves room for debate on what defines an assessment and how far law enforcement will push before the assessment becomes an investigation.
The thought of the U.S. government "spying" has also affected those who write. The FDR research group did a study on how this impacted the members of the PEN American Center, which is a group that defends writers who are threatened because of their work. This study focused on how concerned writers are on whether they were being monitored and to what extent their behavior has changed in lieu of this. About 85% of PEN writers are concerned with the level of government surveillance in America. There are 76% that feel increased government surveillance is negatively effecting writers. Close to half are suspecting that the donations they give and their affiliations with organizations have been tracked. The most shocking statistic is that 92% of these writers feel that the personal data that has been collected may be abused since it might never be completely erased from databases or will not be properly protected.
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, or PCLOB, said that the legal statute that the NSA collection program was based on does not provide enough of a basis to support what it is doing. The board's decision was shared with President Obama before he gave his speech on the NSA's dealings, in which he said that the NSA’s database should be removed from the government's hands but not that the program should be ended. The board also decided that the program threatens civil liberties, adds little value in antiterrorism efforts, and is not sustainable.

“We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the telephone records program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. “Moreover, we are aware of no instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack." This is a quote from the report that clearly shows how the board felt about the subject.
This report is certain to bring up further debate in an environment that has already been stirred up, in which many lawmakers are at odds about the program’s value and legal standing. Even Federal Judges have opposing views on if the program is constitutional or not. This report also rejects the reasoning of several federal surveillance court judges as well as the Justice Department in saying that the program cannot be securely defended by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. The board saw that it is impossible that all of the...

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