We need the NSA. Without the NSA, we would have many more 9-11s. (I find it amazing that the NSA was never even mentioned in the 9-11 Commission Report. Where were they?) There are terrorists who hate us and, without the NSA, we would be their prey.
The National Security Agency and its Canadian counterpart carried out spying operations during the G8 and G20 summits in Toronto, according to a new report.
CBC News reported Wednesday that the NSA, which “closely coordinated” operations with the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CESC), used the American embassy in Ottawa as a command post for the six-day spying operation, which lasted while President Obama and 25 other heads of state were on Canadian soil.
A spokesman for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said “We do not comment on operational matters related to national security” when reached late Wednesday by the Associated Press.
A spokeswoman for the CSEC said they could not comment on the operations of Canada or its allies.
“Under the law, CSEC does not target Canadians anywhere or any person in Canada through its foreign intelligence activities,” the spokeswoman, Lauri Sullivan, said. “CSEC cannot ask our international partners to act in a way that circumvents Canadian laws.”
The report is based on documents purportedly leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and does not specify targets of the operation. However, the report does cite a leaked document listing the summit’s main agenda items and stating the agency’s mandate as “providing support to policymakers.”
The documents also note, “The intelligence community assesses there is no specific, credible information that Al Qaeda or other Islamic extremists are targeting” the summit.
A Canadian civil liberties group, OpenMedia.ca, quickly objected. “It’s … clear this spying was aimed at supporting U.S. policy goals during a highly contentious summit,” executive director Steve Anderson said in a statement to the AP. “This is sure to cause huge damage to Canada’s relationships with our other G-20 partners.”
Every time it seems possible that Americans might take away any of the NSA’s powers to subvert the Fourth Amendment we are assured that it is all necessary for our “security.” But it is quite obvious that the NSA with all its funding is only partly even concerned with such things. Spying on an economic summit subverts the entire reason for having these summits. They are built on trust, but that trust, as far as the NSA is concerned, is largely a fiction.
The United States did not just become a superpower due to its superior economy or technology. It became a superpower because it took an ethical position in the world. It put out rhetoric about freedom and the rule of law. If that rhetoric is revealed to be nothing more than a scam for us to gain power in the world, we are going to lose our standing.
The NSA cannot be trusted to really protect America’s interests because it is in America’s interests to preserve (or perhaps, recover!) America’s reputation. We have no reason to believe the NSA is any more honorable than the IRS has been revealed to be, or that they are any more necessary for national security than the TSA’s molestation checkpoints.