Politics, United States, World

Too Cautious or Just Enough?

200 million. That’s how many text messages the NSA collects-per day! Despite how alarming this may be, America can benefit from the NSA’s precautions.  Wouldn’t you want to be protected if your neighbors were making homemade bombs? or planning to have a multi-casualty attack over the phone? The National Security Agency does just the job. It’s important for civilians to be safe from future harms before it comes to fruition. Surveillance to all foreign countries is a crucial component of ensuring our country’s safety. In the wake of the world trade center attacks on September 11, 2001, the US Patriot Act came to place to to strengthen and protect people by surveilling suspect persons who have known ties to terrorist organizations. President George W. Bush signed the patriot act in order to avert imminent attacks that could damage our society. NSA surveillance protects our democracy and our rights for safety. The US should continue NSA surveillance of its allies because it is an important tool to ensure the safety of citizens and increases the prevention of any future attacks.

There is one day that all Americans will never forget-September 11, 2001. This day set off a chain of events that affects the way Americans live and travel today. Following the 9/11 attacks, President George Bush demanded Congress to achieve a draft legislation in order to improve its government and provide access to keep countries under surveillance for possible terrorists coming to America. The morning after September 11, the NSA took immediate action. It was decided that surveillance would no longer be limited to foreign countries of target, but instead, to all communications flowing through the U.S.

Preserving people’s lives and liberty is the main importance of the United States. Having national security agencies prevent controversy and keep the country safe is a necessity. The US Patriot Act establishes a safe plan to ensure safety for future terrorist attacks and withstand any assault. It was enacted by Congress due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The US Patriot Act stands for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001”. To follow this act is to agree to use NSA surveillance in order to resist terrorism and keep the country safe. The need for NSA surveillance is crucial because it can expose normal looking citizens who are actually threats to our country. The USAPA doesn’t go without its prohibitions. The Wiretap Act, an amendment connected to the USAPA, prohibits eavesdropping on private communication over electronic devices by the government.

As some Americans may worry about their privacy on phone calls, emails, medical sheets, and searches, the NSA doesn’t intend to spy on every citizen to see what they’re doing. Americans worry about all of their personal information being exposed and read. The point of the NSA is to protect our citizens, not invade their privacy. Although the NSA has access to Americans personal information, they don’t intend to look or listen to the information unless it has anything to do with threats to the country. Bernie Sanders is immensely against the NSA surveillance. He says, “ I’m very very worried about the invasion of privacy rights that we’re seeing not only from the N.S.A. and the government but from corporate America as well. We’re losing our privacy rights. That’s a huge issue”. Bernie Sanders along with many other Americans believe that their privacy eradicates the issue of their safety from terrorists. Columnist Michael Gerson rebuts his belief by saying, “ The NSA is not looking through people’s address books and Visa bills and violating the rights of average citizens”.

Whether we know it or not, the US is still in need of the NSA today. The NSA collects the location and travel data of anyone who enters the US in order to indicate any potential targets, or associates of already-known targets. To this day, there is unequivocally no indication that the NSA has done anything illegal or anything beyond what they should be doing. Theoretically, the NSA does not turn its attention to American citizens without a probable reason. Gen Keith Alexander, the NSA’s director in “Tom’s Guide”,  asked what we could do to defend the nation and protect ourselves from harm. Though the thought of every bit of information exposed to the government first scared citizens, Alexander went on to say, “What we’re talking about is future terrorist attacks”(Honorof, Alexander). Another researcher, James Lewis, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies describes, “The NSA said there were 54 cases where they were able to detect plans and stop them, and 50 of them lead to arrests”(Honorof, Lewis). This proves that, though 50 may not seem like a lot, that is 50 bombings, or terrible events that could have occurred and affected the lives of millions.

The use of surveillance is an essential safeguard to having a secure and protected country. The goal of the NSA is to protect people, not to invade their privacy. If the people of the United States agree to use surveillance over foreign countries and civilians, there will be fewer casualties. It is important to recognize the US Patriot Act and its implication into our country. We must show constant support for our military in order to keep the country safe from any future threats. If the NSA watches over civilians and protects our country, then we live our lives in a more prosperous and intact way.

Article by Ashley Rabang & Video by Ariel Sonenstein

Works Cited

Breslow, Jason M. “Inside the NSA the Day after 9/11.” Frontline, edited by

Jason M. Breslow, PBS, 12 May 2014, www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/

     inside-the-nsa-the-day-after-911/. Accessed 18 Jan. 2018.

Duignan, Brian. “USA PATRIOT Act.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica,
Inc., 22 Nov. 2017, www.britannica.com/topic/USA-PATRIOT-Act.

Hightower / AlterNet, Jim. “8 Terrifying Facts About NSA Surveillance.” Alternet, 14
Aug. 2014, www.alternet.org/8-terrifying-facts-about-nsa-surveillance. 15 January 2018

Honorof, Marshall. “How the NSA’s Spying Keeps You Safe.” Tom’s Guide, 12 Sept.

     2013, www.tomsguide.com/us/nsa-spying-keeps-safe,review-1899.html. Accessed

     18 Jan. 2018.

Jazeera, Al. “Michael Hayden on Snowden, Surveillance and NSA.” Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 1
Apr. 2016, 18 January 2018

McLaughlin, John. “NSA Intelligence.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 2 Jan.
2014, 15 January 2018


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