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Good or bad news? - NSA collects all US calls, transactions, but they say it's not spying

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 25th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

According to Dianne Feinstein, the NSA isn't spying on Americans. Edward Snowden disagreed in a statement released last Thursday.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the NSA's surveillance program which records all phone calls in the U.S. is not surveillance. Earlier this week, she wrote an op-ed in USA Today and explained "The call-records program is not surveillance. It does not collect the content of any communication, nor do the records include names or locations."

Although he did not mention Feinstein by name, Snowden released a statement which directly refuses her assertion.

"Today, no telephone in America makes a call without leaving a record with the NSA. Today, no Internet transaction enters or leaves America without passing through the NSA's hands," Snowden wrote in his statement.  "Our representatives in Congress tell us this is not surveillance. They're wrong."

While the actual conclusion of these competing opinions is subject to the decision of the reader, the Supreme Court has ruled that such data collection, or metadata as the NSA refers to it, is legal. That decision dates back to a 1972 decision, Smith v. Maryland.

No matter what, the revelations from Snowden reveal that the government is lying to the people and it is watching us with a level of intrusion that was once the stuff of science fiction. Furthermore, such power has already been abused and will be abused in the future. For anyone to think this program is benign, or that it will yield a net benefit in the form of protection against terrorist attacks is na´ve.

Terror attacks are not always signaled by  mass communication and can be just as deadly as lone-wolf efforts. It doesn't take much to stage an act of terror as the Boston bombings revealed. The NSA certainly had no warning of those attacks.

So what is the use of the system and why does it collect data on you and me when we have no affiliation with terrorists? This question remains unanswered, instead we're expected to trust the government, that their collection of our private dealings somehow makes us all safer.

At least we know we can trust our government officials.

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