The National Security Agency is facing renewed scrutiny over its domestic surveillance program, and Congress is now claiming that their
powers may go too far
. A review of recent telephone and email intercepts seems to suggest that the agency may be monitoring the conversations of everyday Americans far more than they let on. Longstanding legal issues aside, the N.S.A, as of last year, is expected to only monitor the private communications of US citizens if it can be demonstrated that it was done so as an incidental byproduct of investigating individuals abroad.
Even more troubling, in April, it was disclosed that intercepts of private American communications were far beyond the legal limits for both late 2008 and early 2009, and the extent of the problem is still being investigated. Further supporting evidence was provided by a former N.S.A analyst who claims he was trained in 2005 to use specialized email monitoring software, an application which intelligence officials confirms is still in operation. New Jersey Democratic representative Rush Holt admitted that “Some actions are so flagrant that they can’t be accidental”, but still admits, few lawmakers can deal with the issues because of the technical complexities of the operation. “The people making the policy,” he said, “don’t understand the technicalities.”
It’s easy to see that trying to distinguish between domestic and foreign email correspondence can be difficult, but is the privacy trade off worth the added security benefit? Let us know what you think.