December 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama gave the first indication of the potential outcome of an intense debate over restricting the nation's intelligence agencies, signaling Friday that he may change one of the most controversial spy practices of the secretive National Security Agency - the collection of the daily telephone records of millions of Americans. Senior intelligence officials and their allies on the congressional intelligence committees are pushing the president to reject key recommendations made by an advisory panel he appointed, including some that are of keen importance to privacy advocates and major technology companies, such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, whose executives met with Obama this week.
December 16, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A federal judge has for the first time ruled that the National Security Agency's once-secret policy of collecting the dialing records of all phone calls in the country probably violates the Constitution, a defeat for the government that could alter the political debate over the controversial program and set up an eventual review by the Supreme Court. Monday's ruling will not immediately stop the NSA's massive data collection program because U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon immediately stayed it to give the government time to appeal.
December 18, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A presidential task force has urged President Obama to impose significant curbs on National Security Agency operations, including an end to bulk collection of domestic telephone records, reform of a secret surveillance court and limits to spying on close foreign allies. The independent five-member panel said its 46 recommendations were designed to add transparency and accountability at the NSA, which has vastly expanded its ability to secretly intercept Internet traffic and other communications since the Sept.
July 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A reporter recently asked the National Security Agency's chief a blunt question: Why can't he come up with a better example of a terrorism plot foiled through the bulk collection of U.S. phone records? In the weeks since Edward Snowden disclosed that the NSA had been collecting and storing the calling histories of nearly every American, NSA Director Keith Alexander and other U.S. officials have cited only one case as having been discovered exclusively by searching those records: some San Diego men who sent $8,500 to Al Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia.
June 17, 2013 |
Edward Snowden may represent the archetypal leaker of the Internet age - a tech savant who justifies his civil disobedience as a righteous rebuttal to the big institutions he believes have intruded too far into ordinary people's lives. But it's not just the mole in the National Security Agency surveillance story who is operating in new channels. The reporters who brought his account forward also represent something distinct in journalism. In some cases, their profiles loom larger, particularly on the subject of security and spying, than those of their publications.
January 18, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Dianne Feinstein got out of her chair, grabbed a 54-page federal court opinion and poked her finger at the bullet points buried inside, insisting a visitor read each carefully as the busy senator watched and waited. The opinion described terrorist bombing plots - aimed at New York's subways and stock exchange and at a newspaper office in Denmark - that, according to the judge, had been foiled by the government's collection of data on billions of American phone calls.
July 31, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - After weeks of mounting controversy and doubts in Congress, the Obama administration made its most detailed effort yet to reassure the public about the National Security Agency's massive collection of Americans' telephone records, releasing previously classified documents in an effort to save a program that appears increasingly endangered. But the documents, which included a secret order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that was once so highly classified that only those with a "need to know" could see it, appeared to do little to quiet the calls in Congress to rein in the NSA's authority.
February 7, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Although U.S. intelligence officials have indicated since last summer that the National Security Agency was vacuuming up nearly every American telephone record for counter-terrorism investigations, officials acknowledged Friday that the spy agency collects data from less than a third of U.S. calls because it can't keep pace with cellphone usage. In a speech last month, President Obama called the bulk collection of telephone records the most controversial part of the debate over security and privacy sparked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's leaks of classified material.
August 10, 2013 |
Edward Snowden is now out of his limbo at Moscow's airport, presumably ensconced in some Russian dacha, wondering what the next phase of his young life will bring. Having spent 30 years in the intelligence business, I fervently hope the food is lousy, the winter is cold, and the Internet access is awful. But I worry less about what happens to this one man and more about the damage Snowden has done - and could still do - to America's long-term ability to strike the right balance between privacy and security.
August 3, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Earlier this year, top national security officials held a classified briefing in the Capitol for about half the Senate, warning that the country's crucial infrastructure was highly vulnerable to a major cyber attack and urging Congress to move swiftly to require new safeguards. Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the National Security Agency, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were among those who pressed for a White House-backed cyber-security bill to regulate privately owned crucial infrastructure, such as electric utilities, chemical plants and water systems.