The Nsa Leads To A Stronger, Safer, & More Prosperous America

1188 words - 5 pages

One of the most explosive stories to dominate the airwaves and bolded headlines of various newspapers in the past year was the disclosure of highly confidential government documents pertaining to global and domestic surveillance performed by the National Security Agency (the NSA), released by private contractor Edward Snowden. British daily post, “The Guardian”, was the first to release a report about the leaks, starting with an order from the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that required Verizon to provide the NSA and FBI with metadata (data about data) about their customers’ communications usage (The Washington Post). Reactions, ranging from approval and encouragement to shock and even blatant hatred or distrust, immediately proliferated social media, think tanks, and surveys. In the eight months since the first of nearly two million classified documents obtained by Snowden was released, more have been circulated by the media, stirring up international discontent and talk of shutting down or reforming the NSA (Times Magazine). However, among all the passionate discussions and feelings of betrayal and hate aimed at the government, citizens of various countries have forgotten that the governing body is trying to help them, rather than harm them. The NSA, and other like organizations within and outside of the U.S were created as a means of prevention and of counterintelligence, so that tragedies like 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombing could never happen again. Gathering metadata, as well as conducting other surveillance through programs like Tor, Muscular, or PRISM, is just a means to achieve this end and by allowing them to continue, a stronger, safer, and much more prosperous U.S will be ensured.
In the weeks following 9/11, an Executive Order from former president George W. Bush authorized the NSA to begin a Terrorist Surveillance program to aid War on Terror efforts. Projects like Upstream, BLARNEY, and Turbulence were created to collect call data and observe domestic and international signals – especially interactions that could be linked to enemy organizations, like al Qaeda. However, after the majority of citizens began moving towards the Internet for their sources of information and communication, the NSA had no choice but to follow suit and launch PRISM, Tor, X-Keyscore, Boundless Informant, and various other programs that would collect and store emails, search queries, activity times, ISPs, browsers, Skype messages and more – totaling up to 29.2 petabytes (29,917 terabytes, or, to put that into perspective, its roughly 1 ½ Google data processed per year). Only the 0.025% that show up on the threat matrix are actually further investigated or viewed (BBC News). But through the use of that data collected over periods of time, the NSA was able to thwart 54 different terrorist plots across the world – 13 in the U.S itself, 25 in Europe, 11 in Asia, and 5 in Africa (NSA Press Conference), preventing various bombings, millions...

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