"[Keeping the phone metadata collection program] was the first in a series of decisions by Obama to institutionalize some of the most controversial national-security policies of the Bush Administration. Faced with a long list of policies to roll back…reining in the N.S.A.'s surveillance programs might have seemed like a low priority. As core members of Al Qaeda were killed, the danger shifted to terrorists who were less organized and more difficult to detect, making the use of the N.S.A.'s powerful surveillance tools even more seductive."
Micah Zenko reviews 'Covert Capital': U.S. Empire in the Suburbs of Northern Virginia, which he says "provides an original and entertaining narrative showing how Cold War planning and operations permanently changed the suburbs of Washington."
Julia Sweig reflects on Washington's inconsistent response to outrage from foreign leaders at revelations of NSA spying, and on the roots and the implications of the United States' Euro-centric diplomacy.
Recent media stories about National Security Agency surveillance address unauthorized disclosures of two different intelligence collection programs. These programs arise from provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. However, they rely on separate authorities, collect different types of information, and raise different policy questions. As such, where possible, the information contained in this report distinguishes between the two."
"Recent media stories about National Security Agency surveillance address unauthorized disclosures of two different intelligence collection programs. These programs arise from provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. However, they rely on separate authorities, collect different types of information, and raise different policy questions. As such, where possible, the information contained in this report distinguishes between the two."
The NSA released this document on August 9, 2013, after Edward Snowden leaked classified documents related to the U.S. government's telephone and internet data collection and surveillance programs. This document details the history and mission of the NSA, the authority and process under which it operates, and the estimated size of its data operations.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper authorized the declassification and public release of documents submitetd by the National Security Agency to Congress, requesting reauthorization to collect telephone metadata, as permitted in Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.
On July 30, 2013, Judge Denise Lind, an army colonel, ruled in the United States v. Private First Class Bradley Manning trial that Manning is not guilty of aiding the enemy, but guilty on other counts of violating the espionage act. Manning released secret diplomatic cables and classified military reports from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to Wikileaks.
Office of the Director of National Intelligence General Counsel Robert Litt delivered remarks titled, "Privacy, Technology, and National Security: An Overview of Intelligence Collection," at the Brookings Institution on July 18, 2013.
Recent revelations about U.S. surveillance activities in Latin America have provoked a range of negative responses from regional leaders, but the practical consequences will be marginal, says expert Christopher Sabatini.
While the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has granted U.S. agencies broad legal authority to collect sensitive information, it is hardly a "rubber stamp" for government surveillance requests, says CFR's Matt Waxman.
"[U.S.] secrecy policy is founded on a set of principles so broadly conceived that they do not provide unequivocal guidance to government officials who are responsible for deciding whether or not to classify particular topics."
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.