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
May 7, 2015
Scott County Health Department Public Health Nurse Brittany Combs talks about the needle exchange program at the Austin Community Outreach Center, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Austin, Ind. Deputy State Health Commissioner Jennifer Walthall said Tuesday that five disease-intervention specialists from states including Virginia, Colorado and Missouri are helping Indiana officials track down people who may have shared needles or had unprotected sex with those who have tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS.  (AP)

Dirty needles, and the HIV crisis in rural Indiana. We’ll look at needle exchange programs and root causes behind the skyrocketing numbers.

May 7, 2015
In this file photo, Detroit Tigers outfielder, Ty Cobb, slides into base in 1925. (AP)

Ty Cobb’s back in the batter’s box, in a new biography. We’ll go deep on one of baseball’s most controversial stars.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 6, 2015
Students at Reed College in Portland, Ore. burn their senior thesis in the college's annual Renn Fayre, shown here in May 2014. (Reed College)

It’s that time of year – when tired college seniors across the country turn in their theses. We’ve got a great group sharing their labors of love.

 
May 6, 2015
An armed police officer stands guard on a road near the Curtis Culwell Center where a provocative contest for cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad was held Sunday, May 3, 2015, in Garland, Texas. The contest was put on lockdown Sunday night and attendees were being evacuated after authorities reported a shooting outside the building. (AP)

An art show featuring cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Two would-be killers gunned down. Free speech – hate speech – where’s the line?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
On Pointers Share Their College Senior Thesis Topics
Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A collection of On Point staffers share their own memories of college thesis research and writing from back when it mattered to them.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 01, 2015
Friday, May 1, 2015

What happens when we change show topics last minute, and also what happens when a New York Times headline seems to accuse Kristie Alley of being responsible for the infamous George Washington Bridge lane closures.

More »
4 Comments
 
How To Help The Survivors Of Nepal’s Devastating Earthquake
Friday, May 1, 2015

Where and how to contribute aid to the relief effort in Nepal.

More »
5 Comments