Discuss: The Watchful Eye and Invasive Ear

Yeah, this is going to be a political one…but important nonetheless:

The NSA is justifying their surveillance of millions of Americans by saying 50 terror plots have been foiled since 9/11 in several different countries around the world (plots include monetary donations to terrorist groups and not just bombings, according to information released by the government at a House hearing).  To reiterate, that’s 50 plots over a time span of 12 years in several countries around the world.

During one of the first congressional hearings since the leak, the director of the NSA (Gen. Keith Alexander) said the number of plots foiled in America alone since 9/11 due to surveillance is 12, so the other 38 happened in other countries.  That’s an average of one U.S. terror plot foiled a year by keeping surveillance on millions of people, and not all the plots involve terrorist attacks.

Apple recently reported 5,000 requests for information from the NSA between Dec. 2012 and May 2013 while Yahoo! reported 13,000 requests for information in that same time period.  Google hasn’t reported anything to my knowledge, but it is currently under a Gag Order.

Further, the NSA is currently collecting and storing about 1.7 BILLION emails A DAY according to Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian.  They also have a facility being built to store all this information, which is basically a giant computer housed inside a building that holds a yottabyte of information.

Do the ends justify the means here?  Or are we just too paranoid to say anything to our government that is using terrorism as an excuse while at the same time keeping us in a state of fear?  What do they think the meaning of terrorism is, after all?  And if the surveillance is so effective, what exactly happened in Boston?

Millions of people under surveillance and billions of emails intercepted daily to foil an average of ONE plot (violent or nonviolent) a year.  A giant breach of the Fourth Amendment for the sake of minimal security.

What are your thoughts on this topic?  And where did the discussion go — did it seek asylum in “never-ever-happened land?”

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