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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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