90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Reining In The N.S.A.

A Federal judge throws down the gauntlet on the National Security Agency. How will the N.S.A. respond? We’ll go deep with The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza.

National Security Agency (NSA) Director Gen. Keith Alexander testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Continued Oversight of U.S. Government Surveillance Authorities" . (AP)

National Security Agency (NSA) Director Gen. Keith Alexander testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Continued Oversight of U.S. Government Surveillance Authorities” . (AP)

So, Santa’s not the only one making a list of who’s naughty and nice we learn.  The NSA’s making lists on everything.  In the decade-plus since 9/11, the NSA has gone on a data collection moon shot, grabbing data all over, data on you.  Edward Snowden pulled back the covers.  This week, a federal judge said the authors of the US Constitution “would be aghast” at what’s been going on.  “Almost Orwellian,” in its destruction of privacy, he wrote.  So, what now?  60 Minutes is not exactly tearing the lid off.  Reporter Ryan Lizza goes deeper.  He’s with us.  This hour On Point:  reining in the NSA.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for The New Yorker. (@RyanLizza)

Devlin Barrett, Justice Department reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@DevlinBarrett)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Yorker: State of Deception — “In the days after 9/11, General Michael Hayden, the director of the N.S.A., was under intense pressure to intercept communications between Al Qaeda leaders abroad and potential terrorists inside the U.S. According to the inspector general’s report, George Tenet, the director of the C.I.A., told Hayden that Vice-President Dick Cheney wanted to know ‘if N.S.A. could be doing more.’ Hayden noted the limitations of the fisa law, which prevented the N.S.A. from indiscriminately collecting electronic communications of Americans. The agency was legally vacuuming up just about any foreign communications it wanted. But when it targeted one side of a call or an e-mail that involved someone in the U.S. the spy agency had to seek permission from the fisacourt to conduct surveillance.”

The Washington Post: Judge: NSA’s collecting of phone records is probably unconstitutional — “‘I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,’ said Leon, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. ‘Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.'”

Lawfare: Matinee Idols: Ryan Lizza’s Flawed Account of Surveillance Law — “The piece is marred by Lizza’s flawed description of surveillance law.  He oversimplifies, and therefore distorts, the legal issues in a way that fits his narrative of Senator Wyden as the hero of his story.  Perhaps the most important problem is that Lizza doesn’t understand the issue with FISA prior to September 11 that led to these programs. He explains that while the NSA ‘was legally vacuuming up just about any foreign communications it wanted,’ it needed FISA court permission ‘when it targeted one side of a call or e-mail that involved someone in the United States . . . .'”

Snowden To Brazil? An Open Letter Draws Eyes

Vincent Bevins, Brazil correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. Runs the “From Brazil” blog at Folha de Sao Paulo. (@Vinncent)

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 3, 2015
A group of community activists in San Francisco, CA celebrate that city's February 2014 embrace of the Fair Chance Campaign's efforts to alter background checks on employment and housing for convicted criminals. (Courtesy All of Us Or None)

Is it time to stop asking job applicants if they’ve been convicted of a crime? We’ll look at employment and unemployment after prison.

Mar 3, 2015
This July 21, 2014 photo shows strawberry banana chia breakfast smoothie in Concord, N.H. Breakfast habits in America are changing, leading to dramatic shifts in business strategy. (AP)

Food guidelines are changing. So is what we eat for breakfast. Cereal? Out of favor. Eggs? Maybe OK. And all kinds of new menus. We’ll look at Americans and breakfast.

RECENT
SHOWS
Mar 2, 2015
This image provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows an artists rendering on how a gamma ray burst occurs with a massive star collapsing and creating a black hole and beaming out focused and deadly light and radiation bursts. Astronomers and space telescopes in April 2013 saw the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed, a large gamma ray burst. (AP)

A super-massive black hole, newly discovered, deep in space. We’ll peer into the realm of the black hole.

 
Mar 2, 2015
In this Tuesday, March 4, 2014 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara, right, speaks before the screening of the television documentary "Israel: The Royal Tour" at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. (AP)

On the eve of Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s controversial address to Congress, we look at the US-Israel falling out over Iran nuclear negotiations.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Answers To Your Questions On Black Holes
Tuesday, Mar 3, 2015

Yale University’s Priyamvada Natarajan answers your black hole questions in full. (Well, most of them.)

More »
Comment
 
Want To Listen To Lead Belly? Here’s Where To Start
Monday, Mar 2, 2015

Loved our show on Lead Belly, but unsure on where you should start to listen? Jeff Place of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage offers his best picks for a beginning Lead Belly listener.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 27, 2015
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

We won’t lead you into a debate on the color of #TheDress (it’s blue and black, end of debate), but we do wonder about the blurring lines between so-called Internet culture and general popular culture. Also, it’s snowing in Boston. Still.

More »
Comment