Americans Want More Than Rhetoric And Reports on The NSA.

On the 53rd anniversary of President Eisenhower's warning about the military-industrial complex, President Obama spoke in defense of massive government spying programs. During the much-anticipated speech, the President claimed that he will reign in our government's wide net of surveillance, and give the public “more confidence” in the National Security Agency's spying programs. However, most of the reforms that the President offered focus on data storage, mining, and sharing. They do not put limits on bulk data collection, make FISA Court rulings transparent, or do anything to protect the privacy rights of Americans.

These so-called signal intelligence directives simply call for reports, reviews, and future policies, instead of defining concrete measures to protect Americans' civil rights. Fifty three years ago, President Eisenhower warned us about the power of “the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power,” and we only need to look at the influence our intelligence agencies have to understand that warning. Despite the fact that there is no evidence that these government spying programs have saved American lives, our President, and our national security officials continue to claim that these violations of our civil rights are necessary to keep us safe.

Americans don't want rhetoric and reports about government surveillance, they want their personal information to remain private in the absence of a warrant. There is a legitimate role for our national intelligence agencies, but we should not be asked to sacrifice our essential liberty in the name of national security.

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