Reports that the NSA is collecting extensive phone and Internet data from U.S. citizens have ignited a debate about privacy versus security among government officials and American citizens. Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, weighs in on the controversy.
“If we’re gonna have a debate about privacy versus security let’s have it in the open," Harpe says. "Let’s have some oversight of the National Security Agency and let’s have some oversight on the part of Congress. We in the public need to oversee our Congress much better because they’re not doing their job so far.”
Harper adds that collecting all the data from every American’s phone calls “can’t possibly be useful for link-based investigation.”
The United States government has reportedly obtained a top secret court order requiring Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of Americans to the National Security Agency on a daily basis. CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Tom Fuentes weighs in on the gravity of the order.
“It's a blanket order so that you could go back at another time and look specifically at a particular phone number or group of phone numbers to see if it appears that there’s some type of a group connection,” Fuentes says. “And it will raise questions as to whether the government should have that kind of blanket coverage ahead of time without suspicion about a particular number.”
The former FBI Assistant Director adds that it would be helpful to go back to Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s phone records “and look at who did he call, who called him, even locally within the United States, and go back through a certain period of time.”
The White House is reacting to a report claiming the government has obtained a top secret court order making Verizon turn over the telephone records for millions of Americans.
This comes just as President Obama has selected embattled U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to be his new national security advisor, replacing the outgoing Tom Donilon.
CNN Chief Political Correspondent and host of “State of the Union” Candy Crowley weighs in on the developments on “Starting Point” this morning.
In just a few hours President Obama will deliver a major national security speech now that his administration is acknowledging that the U.S. killed four Americans in drone strikes. The admission was made in a letter to Congress on Wednesday. "We expect the president to announce new restrictions on how those controversial drone strikes can take place," Lothian says.
As Congress continues to struggle over the spending cuts and tax increases necessary to avoid the looming fiscal cliff, the former Governor of New Jersey, Christine Todd Whitman, argues that decisions on the fiscal cliff could have a surprising impact on national security. Whitman, President of the Whitman Strategy Group, joins "Starting Point" Wednesday to take a closer look at how national security could be hurt by the fiscal cliff if Congress fails to act.
Whitman argues that after Sandy it has become increasingly clear how infrastructure affects national security. "It makes it even more important that our representatives here in Washington actually step up and say – we have our important things that we believe in very deeply and we're not going to give up on the very basics – but we understand we have a bigger job and that bigger job is to ensure that the United States is on a good, strong fiscal path because that affects everything," she says.
"When the United States falls as it has in the last five years from number one to number seven in competitiveness, that hurts us," Whitman explains. "It hurts us domestically and internationally, and that's part of national security."
Here's a wake-up call for the United States: The shortcomings in America's education system could be affecting our national security. According to a new report from the Council on Foreign Relations, they've been able to make a number of connections between our schools and the country's safety.
This morning on "Starting Point," StudentsFirst CEO and former D.C. Public Schools chancellor Michelle Rhee explains why failing education in the U.S. is a security risk. She says "everyone has a state in education" and unless we make changes quickly the whole nation could suffer the consequences.