Friday, January 06, 2006

New Risen Book Sheds Light on NSA Surveillance

Orin Kerr comments on the book by Risen which has led to the discussion of President Bush and the NSA:
" Reading over this part of Risen's book, it seems that most of the new surveillance program was not about domestic surveillance at all; most of it was about the surveillance of entirely international calls and e-mails that just happened to be routed through U.S. networks in the course of delivery. According to Risen, the program typically monitored about 7,000 individuals overseas at any given time, as compared to about about 500 people who were located in the United States. From an operational perspective, then, the big difference between prior NSA practices and the new program was that the NSA was using a back door into domestic privider switches in the U.S. to monitor communications that were mostly foreign to foreign."
Very interesting. Here again we seem to have an illustration of why I think you can never trust the "news" you read or hear. The fevered discussion of the President and the Constitution seems to have painted a different picture from that in the very source for this public controversy. Notice that in this description even the reference to 500 people in the United States (versus 7000 others) is not a reference to 500 citizens of the United States. It also seems to me that this description of the situation at issue suggests that even if some or all of those 500 people were U.S. citizens, the reasons they were monitored by the NSA were of a coincidential nature following upon efforts by our government to discover all they could about the enemy.

No comments: