National Security Agency's Prism Program Essay

2973 words - 12 pages

In the past few years the National Security Agency has been all over the news, and not in a good way. Former contractor of the National Security Edward Snowden leaked classified documents to several media outlets on such a scale the world took notice. The day the world learned about the Prism program among others was June, 5, 2013 when Ed Snowden gave the specifics of the programs to The Guardian, and the Washington Post. Ed Snowden turned those secrets over as a member of the NSA but fled the country before the leaks so he would not be imprisoned by the authorities. Immediately after the leaks Ed Snowden became infamous with around the clock watch as to what country would grant his asylum, he currently resides in a Moscow airport pending appeal (Staff, 2013). He claimed he “did not want to live in a society like this” that’s why he decided to turn over states secret for all the world to see (Staff, 2013). Now that you know the man behind the leaks it is time that you find out about the program, and the reach and impact it really had.
To understand the Prism program you have to understand the post 9/11 world we live in, and how petrified the attacks left the intelligence community. September, 11, 2001 is one of the most important dates in American history because after nothing was ever the same. The attacks left American’s thinking are we really safe at home? The Bush Administration declared the 9/11 attacks as a declaration of war and since that day the intelligence community has been given every possible tool to thwart another 9/11 attack. Immediately after 9/11 the Patriot Act was passed, and has been one of if not the most controversial law in recent memory. Following the Patriot Act was the Protect America act which was signed into law by President George Bush in 2007 (Of Justice, 2014). The Protect America act removed the warrant requirement for government surveillance on foreign targets from the FISA Court (Of Justice, 2014). The FISA Court or The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was established to properly oversee the surveillance requests by the intelligence community (Of Justice, 2014). Combined with the Foreign Surveillance Act of 1978 which allows electronic surveillance on foreign targets or American citizens that may be suspected of aiding terrorist was authorized by the FISA Court (Of Justice, 2014). The perfect storm which Ed Snowden referred to as almost “Criminal”. The program before being leaked was renewed under the Obama Administration for another 5 years effective till the year 2017.
The first question after Ed Snowden infamously leaked the screenshots of a PowerPoint presentation was what is Prism? The answer is Prism is a special source operation or a mass electronic surveillance data mining program that helps the NSA store web data or internet traffic communications (Dreyfuss, 2013). Prism which stands for Planning Tool for Resource Integration, Synchronization, and Management...

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