News / USA

NSA Leak Could Prompt Re-Analysis of Data Collection

Protesters rally outside the U.S. Capitol against the NSA's recently detailed surveillance programs in Washington, D.C., June 13, 2013.
Protesters rally outside the U.S. Capitol against the NSA's recently detailed surveillance programs in Washington, D.C., June 13, 2013.
Pamela Dockins
Recent disclosures about how the U.S. National Security Agency collects information for top-secret surveillance programs could prompt U.S. intelligence agencies to reconsider their data-collection processes and who has access to the information.

Heritage Foundation foreign policy studies director Steven Bucci said any time there is a leak or breach of sensitive intelligence information, it triggers a complete re-examination of the intelligence-gathering process.

He told VOA's Encounter program he is certain this is the response to information leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

"It is not a Draconian ‘let's go out and look for heads’ kind of process. It is very much a bureaucratic let’s go through all the rules, and see who did what,” said Bucci.

He said the goal is to figure out what went wrong and prevent it from happening again.

"It’s an appropriate response for a big organization to try to figure out how they could have stopped this thing from going wrong before it happens again," he said.

Intelligence officials and some members of Congress said Snowden put America at risk when he turned over information about secret data-mining programs to The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers.

At the time, Snowden was employed as a technology expert for Booz Allen Hamilton, a private firm working under a contract with the NSA.

Rudy de Leon, a national security vice president at the Center for American Progress and a former deputy secretary of defense, said Snowden's actions will most likely prompt government agencies and contractors to re-think who has access to what.

"I’m sure those that gave this gentleman a clearance are now going through and doing an auditing to figure out exactly what went wrong," said de Leon.
 
De Leon said the U.S. has checks and balances in place to ensure that government surveillance programs designed to go after terrorists do not infringe on the rights and privacy of ordinary Americans.

He said investigators will want to know what prompted Snowden to disregard these safeguards.

"I think any time an individual who is in a position of trust believes that he or she is more important than the judiciary or the legislator or the executive branch in terms of making these decision, then I think that individual has got to be questioned just in terms of upholding the duties that he agreed to take on when he went to work for this contractor," said de Leon.

Snowden's leaks about the collection of phone and Internet data, as part of the government's efforts to prevent terrorism, have triggered hearings on Capitol Hill.

At a House Intelligence Committee hearing, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger called for changes in how workers who have access to sensitive information are monitored.

"We need to change our systems and practices and employ the latest in technology that will alert superiors when a worker tries to download and remove this type of information. We need to seal this crack in the system," he said.

De Leon said when it comes to the U.S. government's role of balancing the need to protect citizens against the need to respect their rights and privacy, "the pendulum is constantly moving."

He said Americans expect the government to find a way to balance these important priorities.

Bucci said he fears that a public backlash against intelligence data-mining will force U.S. surveillance agencies to back off too much -- a move that he says could make the U.S. more vulnerable in the long run.

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid