Dec 19, 2013

Panel says curb NSA’s worst excesses in wake of Snowden

The panel appointed by Barack Obama to forestall criticism of the NSA's global surveillance has called for major change to intelligence collection and an end to some of the NSA's worst behaviours.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The break-up of the National Security Agency, an end to its collection of information on Americans’ communications, a scaling-back of its surveillance on foreign citizens and leaders and an end to the agency’s worst anti-encryption practices are some of the recommendations released by a review panel appointed by United States President Barack Obama to address revelations of systematic mass surveillance and lawbreaking by the NSA.

The report by the panel, established by the Obama administration in an effort to forestall mounting fury at revelations of the NSA’s surveillance by whistleblower Edward Snowden, was released early this morning. The panel was composed of long-serving counter-terrorism official Richard A. Clarke, former CIA deputy director Michael J. Morell, legal academic and American Civil Liberties Union adviser Geoffrey R. Stone, legal academic (and “nudge” theory advocate) Cass R. Sunstein and privacy expert Peter Swire. The report does not mention Snowden by name, although it recommends improving and making whistleblower processes more accessible.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

14 thoughts on “Panel says curb NSA’s worst excesses in wake of Snowden

  1. The Pav

    Here is the justification, as if any was needed, for the ABC/Guardian’s actions

  2. Alex Whyte

    >The panel urges an end to automatic NSA collection of all internet and telephone metadata in favour of a mandatory data retention regime

    >NSA’s extensive work in undermining encryption and exploiting software bugs to access the world’s internet communications systems

    So the data will be collected and NSA and its successors will continue to access it.

  3. dcparker

    I agree that this supports Snowden’s and his journalist associates’ work; however I think it is hardly fair to describe Obama as the architect of this “Surveillance State; he has certainly inherited an thus far, has not curbed, it; the architect was Bush Jnr. The combination of this report, the judgment by the conservative judge you mentioned and the pressure from business will hopefully give him the cover he needs to make the major changes recommended

  4. The Pedanticist

    I would probably even go so far as to say the architect of the (US) surveillance state was J. Edgar Hoover.

  5. Mishpocheh

    Does anyone seriously believe that the Fox in charge of the henhouse, Obama, will ratify any of those recommendations?

    It will be more of the same dressed up in drag.

  6. Take A Letter Maria

    It goes way back before J Edgar Hoover. Even Lao Tzu in the classic Tao Te Ching warned about govt’s incessant intrusion into people’s lives. Lao Tzu was a high ranking official who decided the only way to beat them was to completely withdraw to the mountains and live a life of separateness. But then again, even Nimrod wrote the book on surveillance.

  7. Brendan Jones

    > The panel appointed by Barack Obama…
    __________________ ^ Well there’s your problem…

    Obama has set the dogs on Snowden, but Obama has violated the US Constitution itself. How much more serious can you get?

    On the campaign trail Obama referred to himself as a “a constitutional law professor” so he can’t claim ignorance. Yet there is no penalty for him violating it; After years of accumulated abuse it’ll eventually weave it’s way to the US Supreme Court who will say “So don’t do that then.” What sort of a deterrent is that?

    So what does happens when you give a left-leaning spokesmodel unfettered power and no accountability?

    SCOTUS J Brandeis on Absolute Power: “The objections to despotism and monopoly are fundamental in human nature. They rest upon the innate and ineradicable selfishness of man. They rest upon the fact that absolute power inevitably leads to abuse.”

    That aligns with ANU Peter Lamour’s finding that crime depends on the circumstances an individual finds themselves in, rather than their innate character.

    When the US founding fathers wrote the Constitution they wisely recognised the dangers of a despotic government, having just fought a war with one. The problem the US faces today is that despots ignore the law.

    PS. The US 4th Amendment against intrusive government recognised: “[the King of England] has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people.”

    … Reminded me of the Australian Public Service 😉

  8. Max Andrews

    The state does n’t really need surveillance. The state can just order a national census and kill every male child under the age of two. Just imagine the glee from the feminists.

  9. AR

    Perhaps the foam-flecked apoplectics at shout-back radio will now accuse Congress of being treasonous as they did here a few weeks back?

  10. Yclept

    As if there will be any real change or protection for whistleblowers. All we’ll see is window dressing as they work out better and more efficient ways to disappear the whistleblowers.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details