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United States

NSA Director, Congress and Monitoring 542

Thanks to Bruce Schneier for pointing out the testimony from NSA Director Michael Hayden, in which he talks about how the NSA worked pre-9/11 and post. And, as Bruce pointed out "...[he] tells Congress that they can best help him by going back to their constituents and finding out where the public wants to draw the line between liberty and safety."
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NSA Director, Congress and Monitoring

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  • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:16PM (#4618623) Homepage
    > where the public wants to draw the line between liberty and safety

    Just dont ask me after a traumatizing event. I might say some things I regret down the road.
    • by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:20PM (#4618655)
      >> where the public wants to draw the line between liberty and safety

      >Just dont ask me after a traumatizing event. I might say some things I regret down the road.


      agreed, but the breath of fresh air I'm seeing is that the NSA is actually 'asking' where to draw the line.
      • This is true. I certainly didn't intend for my post to construe criticism. I just wanted everybody to keep in mind that when you're asked to make important decisions in circumstances that represent less than 2% of your 'normal' circumstances, you would be wise to keep the timing angle in mind.

        You make a good point, though.
      • Just dont ask me after a traumatizing event. I might say some things I regret down the road.

        It's been over a year and most of the important changes to the intelligence committees haven't taken place yet. Exactly how long do you want to wait?

        While I agree with basic sentiment, the problem is that action is required now.

        • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:01PM (#4619017)
          "While I agree with basic sentiment, the problem is that action is required now."


          Why? I see no reason. The FBI's success rate at stopping Islamic terrorists up till 9/11 was pretty commendable. They slip up once, and all of a sudden it's a green light to let the Federal Govt do what it pleases. I don't buy. Can things be improved, perhaps, but there is only so much one can do about "security" when billions of dollars couldn't put a dent in the drug trade.

          Quite frankly, I'm not willing to one iota of freedom for the illusion of security. If my mind is not free, I will NEVER be secure.

        • by thoolie ( 442789 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:03PM (#4619061) Homepage
          You know, i really hate this question. You can't be right, if you are to private you are unamerican, if too open, you are against human rights.

          Honestly, i wouldn't care if the NSA, CIA, FBI wanted to snoop on to what i do, just don't let me know about it. Don't report the little things that i (and everybody else) does. Don't report my downloading the latest Pearl Jam, don't get me in trouble for not reporting the 50$ i got from grandma, and don't report my anit-"insert word here" setiment. If I am talking about blowing up the planet, seriously, then do something.

          As it is said, you have nothing to worry about if you are doing nothing "wrong". But, face it, we all do SOMETHING that the government wouldn't like us to do.

          I know that if that was to hapen, things would change and we would tunt into an evil 1984 government with people not having and privacy. It is just so hard to not say that someone should be watching someone........

          If you ask me about this a couple of hours from now, my opinion will more than likey be changed! ;-)
          • Mod this up. Excellent point.

            The worry is that information intelligence agencies gained can be used against minor crimes like someone with a secret drug habit, or speeding, or whatever.

            I'm very much for privacy as a basic civil right. But I think we have to ask the difficult question of what privacy is. And that hasn't been asked.

        • While I agree with basic sentiment, the problem is that action is required now.

          What sort of action? Bars on our windows, armed militiamen at every street corner, and a federal database of everything each person says from birth to death??? Anything less than this is just shades of the same situation and would still fail to address the real issues.

          The fundamental problem with the fear about "terrorism" is based in our own society. It is basically an extension to the trend to fear our own damned neighbors; wierdo nuts from the middle east are just a special case. Why is it that we are so untrusting that simply walking down a city street at night can be nerve-wrecking. I really think "terrorism" is the least of our troubles.
        • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:27PM (#4619310)
          "While I agree with basic sentiment, the problem is that action is required now."

          Um... no. If you do nothing but demand "action," you get nothing but silly knee-jerk bills like the USA PATRIOT Act. You get what you ask for.

          What really needs to be done is better enforcement of existing laws. The 9/11 terrorists got into the county with what are shining examples of faulty visa applications. They shouldn't have been in the country to begin with!

          They attack, thousands die, thousands more just like you scream for "action," and all sorts of new laws get passed to make us "safer."

          Less than a month after the creation of our "new, safer America," a homicidal Jamaican teenager gets in on an equally lousy visa application (faulty by the old standards as well as the "newer, better" ones) and participates in a shooting spree throughout the DC metropolitan area.

          How much more "action" are you going to demand until you start demanding the correct action?
    • by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:34PM (#4618807) Homepage
      True. And that's why any agency, of whatever stripe and in whatever country, should ask this not just once, but repeatedly, constantly getting feedback on where their _real_ taskmasters (ie. we) feel the line should be drawn. The role of the politicians are twofold: interpret and explain the issues as construed by these agencies to the public, and in turn interpret and present the meaning of the responses to the agency policymakers. This, by the way, really is the true role of politicains for any other issue as well.

      And before people fly off the handle, the truth is that most politicians and most government authorities really do want what is best for the public; the problem is far more often one of execution, ability or knowledge, rather than deliberate and wanton disregard for the public in favour of special interests. Of course, it's the really bad apples that naturally grab the headlines, while those basically doing a decent job are rarely mentioned.

    • > where the public wants to draw the line between liberty and safety

      "Give me liberty or give me death." -Patrick Henry, 1775
    • The NSA guy actually makes a pretty good point that the current regulations came from another traumatizing event: Law enforcement running mild counter terrorism domestically with regard to antiwar and black nationalist movements during and right after the vietnam war. The Vietnam war + Watergate was very tramatic and the result was legislation and regulation which weakend law enforcement.

      I wish these issues could up in some normal time like 3 years ago when nobody was traumatized in either direction. The problem is then nobody cares.

  • don't believe it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tps12 ( 105590 )
    The NSA is probably the most secretive organization in the world, after the Freemasons and the Elks. I'd be very surprised if this "interview" is anything but a very well-crafted propoganda campaign. Take everything he says with a large spoon of salt. Regardless of what they say about liberty, these people are not elected, so they have no incentive to protect your rights. Treat them as the enemy, and be ready to defend yourself when they come to haul you away for thoughtcrimes.
    • by GoofyBoy ( 44399 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:31PM (#4618768) Journal
      these people are not elected, so they have no incentive to protect your rights.

      Realisticly, do the people whom are elected do have a overwheming incentive to protect our rights?
      • If they want to get re-elected, yes. Assuming, of course, people actually like their rights.
        • Have you heard about Huey Long back in the 30's? Probably the greatest threat to individual liberty there was and was very popular amongst the electorate. Don't assume that voters think about things the way we do.

          The mere fact that campaign finance reform was necessary tells us that people are so ill informed and so easy to manipulate that the amount of money spent on ads controls how people vote.

    • by Proaxiom ( 544639 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:39PM (#4618837)
      Ridiculous. The police aren't elected either, do you think they have no incentive to protect your rights? Do you treat the army as an enemy because Generals don't obtain their posts democratically? Try to tell a court judge you won't accept his judgment because you didn't vote for him.

      While you do not elect them, they are a government agency and they ultimately report to elected officials (indeed, this report is written for a Senate committee).

      I am not an American, but I have met and worked with many fine people employed by the National Security Agency and I believe they are a great credit to your country. They are actively protecting you from real threats, and they have no secret agenda to destroy your freedoms.

      In that light, the question posed here is entirely appropriate. There is a compromise between freedom and security, and the NSA is exactly right to ask the government to decide where the compromise should end up. And rest assured, it will end up where the American people say it should end up.

      That may or may not give you some comfort. The decision-making capabilities of the American people can be questionable at times.

      • The decision-making capabilities of the American people can be questionable at times.

        Oh, you mean like this? [cnn.com]

      • The decision-making capabilities of the American people can be questionable at times.

        Everytime I think about these things, I'm reminded of the basic theme to Star Wars. When will the citizens of the US vote for GWB to be our supreme and all-powerful tyrant?
      • by dogfart ( 601976 )
        Ridiculous. The police aren't elected either, do you think they have no incentive to protect your rights?

        Absolutely. This is why many citizens have called from police review boards responsive to elected officials. Consider, for example the Red Squads of the Los Angeles Police Department [amazon.com]. Established outside the review and control of elected officials, the LAPD has seen itself as an elite "government within a government", to the point of keeping files on elected officials.

        You are damn right I don't trust unelected and unaccountable police officials!

    • The NSA is probably the most secretive organization in the world, after the Freemasons and the Elks

      Something tells me you are forgetting an organization.

      Lets be philosophical, shall we. The most secretive organizations in the world you (read: your average person) probably don't even know about, or its something people 'joke about'.
    • "The NSA is probably the most secretive organization in the world, after the Freemasons and the Elks."

      Why not throw in the Illuminati while you're at it? Or what about their connections to Kevin Bacon?

      Hell, at least they're not Scientology...

      "these people are not elected,"

      Just because you didn't elect them directly doesn't mean:

      1.) They weren't elected at all
      2.) That you don't have indirect control over them

      While you don't see NSA employees on your ballot, you do vote for the people that democratically select their higher-ups (not to mention their funding). If you have problems with the NSA, you need go no further than your local Congresscritter.

      If the fact that Congress was able to "convince" the CIA to stop overturning foreign governments every other week in the 50's and 60's isn't enough to convince you of the chain of command, I don't know what will. Hell, I'm more comfortable with Congress deciding the NSA higher-ups than the members of the Electoral College deciding the president. At least members of Congress try to pretend there are things more important to them than political parties...

      "so they have no incentive to protect your rights."

      They do if they expect to see their paychecks.
  • I'd have thought (Score:5, Interesting)

    by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:19PM (#4618640)
    that the average American would want the line between liberty and safety drawn right at the national borders of the USA.

    Ie the rest of the world is unsafe and the USA has liberty.
    • by mr_z_beeblebrox ( 591077 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:29PM (#4618736) Journal
      Ie the rest of the world is unsafe and the USA has liberty.

      Isolationism will bring even less security. We begin to ignore what other countries are doing etc.... They have a larger excuse for their hatred and a larger window of opportunity to plan things unnnoticed.
      • by Iguanaphobic ( 31670 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:33PM (#4618793)
        Isolationism will bring even less security. We begin to ignore what other countries are doing etc.... They have a larger excuse for their hatred and a larger window of opportunity to plan things unnnoticed.

        Invade. Create new states, appoint governers and rule with an iron fist. The emperor will be pleased.

      • Re:I'd have thought (Score:3, Interesting)

        by be-fan ( 61476 )
        Actually, I think a lot of people are mad *because* we intervene too much. We do political jiggering in the Middle East (keeping non-Democratic governments in power in the process) just so we can have oil. We're fucking up some foreign countries real good, and in 100 years, the oil will be gone anyway, and they'll still have civil chaos because of the stuff we're doing now. At that point, we're all (us and them) screwed.
        • by mr_z_beeblebrox ( 591077 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:58PM (#4618990) Journal
          Actually, I think a lot of people are mad *because* we intervene too much. We do political jiggering in the Middle East (keeping non-Democratic governments in power in the process) just so we can have oil.

          This is a very common American mindset,"If we are not isolationists, then we must be interventionists". We need to realize that their is more than a right and a left there is a middle ground. As someone who lived in foreign countries I will tell you that yes intervention was scorned but aid was not. Aid can influence when it is not forced to, Also, there are other forms of involvement. Were we "just minding our business" by not attending any of the major environmental treaties of late? Would the world have seen us as "intervening too much" to sign on in Tokyo? We need to take a role in stewardship of the international environment (seas, polar landscapes etc....) and stop only influencing what directly influences Wall Street. That is really partly what your point was, I just wanted to add mine to it.
    • You didn't think (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MacAndrew ( 463832 )
      Sheesh, where do folks get goofy ideas like this? Travel, see the world! There are a thousand places I'd rather be than one of the scarier parts of Boston, Chicago, New York, DC (and yes I've often been to or lived in these places). It says something about how the rest of the world is mostly OK, and much of our world sadly is not.

      And, anyway, "security" here includes security from one's own gov't -- one of the fundsmental concepts the Revolutionary War was fought over, and the Bill of Right designed to address.
      • It says something about how the rest of the world is mostly OK, and much of our world sadly is not.

        You mean you were able to LEAVE those places?

        You don't know how good you've got it if you think even the worst parts of the USA have got the worldwide crown for "crappy living sitation." No, we're not perfect--but there are some FAR worse places in the world to live.
  • Maximum Liberty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bareman ( 60518 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:19PM (#4618647) Homepage Journal
    Counting on the government for saftey is like counting on them to spend your tax dollars wisely.

    I choose Maximum Liberty. Please draw the line there.
    • Re:Maximum Liberty (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ichijo ( 607641 )
      "...[he] tells Congress that they can best help him by going back to their constituents and finding out where the public wants to draw the line between liberty and safety."

      Why choose between liberty and safety? I agree with Franklin, who said the person willing to trade liberty for security deserves neither.

      Anonymity would make a better trade. It was never guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution in the first place.

    • Re:Maximum Liberty (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mr_z_beeblebrox ( 591077 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:32PM (#4618785) Journal
      I choose Maximum Liberty. Please draw the line there.

      As a former paratrooper I thank you kindly. Many americans (military and civilian) traded their safety and even their lives for our continued freedom. The war on terrorism promotes the heroism of cowardice "I boldly tell the FBI what my neighbor says in confidence....because I am scared of the roughly couple dozen Al Qaeda reps that the President says MIGHT be in our country." That is a sad, sad statement.
    • Counting on the government to do anything well is asking a lot.

      Expecting the government to attempt to provide for your safety against the depradations of others is correct, however.

      The single most important purpose of government is to protect its citizens against crimes local and afar.
  • Thats it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TerryAtWork ( 598364 )
    Lets /. the government now, I'm sure that's a felony...
  • by TWX_the_Linux_Zealot ( 227666 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:23PM (#4618677) Journal
    Write to your senators. Write to your representative. Hell, write to your governors and state legislatures, just make it clear that you're not in favour of further restrictions on our rights.

    Senators can be found here:

    U.S. Senate Home [senate.gov]

    Representatives can be found here:

    Representative Member Directory [house.gov]

    If you do this, you have some form of say in our government, or at least a chance at influence. Don't waste it.
  • Staying unsafe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bhsx ( 458600 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:23PM (#4618680)
    With millions of cargo shipments coming in and thousands of planes in the air daily there's no way to secure it. The plans we've come up with seem similar to Microsoft's plans for 'Security'... i.e. The US governement seems to be securing their position rather than securing the people. I'd rather live in fear of terrorism than fear of the US government, something that's becoming more fearful everyday.
    • With millions of cargo shipments coming in and thousands of planes in the air daily there's no way to secure it.

      Simple. Turn it all off. No international trade at all. Quickly, the economy would slow to the point where oil is no longer required to make it run, therefore freeing the military budget to actually perform socially useful things. Standard of living for everyone in the country would actually increase. Of course the income of the top 2% of the country would drop significantly, but hell, we could live without them and their United Defense shares anyway.

      • by Dannon ( 142147 )
        Quickly, the economy would slow to the point where oil is no longer required to make it run

        I'm mentally picturing a society with no oil. I could live with it. But then, I grew up doing things like backpacking and hiking, and I enjoy a good walk. With winter coming along, though, it's a good thing I live in the south. Still, without the international commerce, I'd miss Korean and Thai food, and so much for my hopes of getting a game cube.

        Standard of living for everyone in the country would actually increase.

        Well, yeah, the average might rise. Of course, those who can't fend for themselves without grocery stores, or who are medically dependent on oil-based products and ambulances, that population will drop significantly, but hell, we could live without them. No need to be concerned with their standard of living if they aren't living.

        Not trying to troll or flame you here, Iguana, don't get me wrong. Just holding up a broken mirror to your vision. I'm generally an optimist, but I've gotten into the habit of taking every idealist situation and asking myself, what's the worst that could happen.

        I keep picturing another time the industries in the United States nearly stopped international trade, and the economy *very* quickly slowed down, back in the 1930's....
        • No flame taken. My comment was merely a tongue in cheek reply to the notion of securing the borders to terrorists. Parallel thought to throwing out the baby with the bathwater, the freedoms for security, along those lines.

          I too was raised in an area where a simpler way of life was possible. The oil thing: US has enough to look after everything if you take out transportation. So medical, plastics etc. would continue quite comfortably for a long long time.

    • No, play safe. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bobzibub ( 20561 )
      There are some easy ways to be safe in an interdependent community: pay close attention to your government and get them to try and be a force for good in the world.

      1) Instead of bombing attacking Iraq for oil (come on, you don't honestly expect the rest of the world to believe its a terrorist thing do you?) why not actually encourage democracy in the Middle East? Sure there will be some Islamic governments elected. Let them run things for a bit to deflate them. It has been said by a late Quebec politician that "when one is in opposition, one can speak poetry, but when one is in power, one must speak prose." Let the fundamentalists speak prose for a while. That'll allow their voters to see the backwards bumkins they really are.

      If you absolutely insist upon bombing Iraq, state that you could live with Iraq's next government joining OPEC and pledge that no US owned oil industry interests will be allowed to profit from Iraqi reserves (That goes for you too Cheney! ; ) ). Only then will most of the world know that the Administration is sincere. (Like that is going to happen.)

      2) Try giving some aid to help out the little guys in under developed countries instead of supporting brutal regimes which happen to be friendly to your economic 'interests'. Sure you can cow-tow governments, but you can't cow-tow people living under those governments, and those people hating the US government has been your problem of late. Continuance of this policy just helps the recruitement efforts for Al Qaeda and other organizations like it. US supported Egypt (a "friendly") will round up more fundamentalists in the name of a "war on terror", torture them, and eventually release them as well adjusted citizens without a care in the world. Egypt's government has helped create this froot loop: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/WorldNewsTonigh t/WTC_zawahiri0101002.html

      The USA doesn't give much aid to the poor in the world in terms of its wealth. And one third of that budget goes to Isreal to buy helicopters, tanks, etc. The Isreali government is not the "kinder gentler" sort--not that the PLO or Hamas is... But when non-US news casts show the results of helicopters firing missles at a car full of Hamas dudes on a crowed street, everyone knows that Apache(TM) helicopters--"Made in the USA". Whether you agree with the Isreali actions or not, this imagery speaks louder than any US government commercial could to Muslims. In order to extend the image of the US being a "promoter of democracy, peace and freedom" outside your borders, your government should learn when to "take the toys from the boys". Not simply for the symbolism, but also for the practical well being of the world, and for your own citizens too.

      3) Take a stand. Take a stand for democracy in China. Trade is important but not everything. Don't pander to the Russian government for their vote on the security council by giving them a free ride on their war in Chechnia. They are brutal to the Chechins who want their own state, and always have. Not saying taking hostages is a great thing either. duh.

      4) If Americans truely believe in democracy, they cannot simultaniously believe that the US government's foreign adventurism can be represented by the wishes of foreign citizens. These people do not vote on the policies that affect them and so their well being is not a major consideration. Nobody asks average Iraqis whether they are "better off now than in the last four years". Not the Iraqi government for obvious reasons, but not the US government either. They're screwed either way.
      How to change that? Participate in the international community when others want help, not just when you want help. There have been a bunch of international agreements which the US has been absent from the table: Agreements on child soldures, land mines, non-proliferation of nuclear materials, international courts, Kioto. The US has not been at the table with most other civilized countries, but suddenly GB wants the UN's help to legitimize it's war efforts, saying the UN will be a League of Nations if it allows Iraq to ignore the UN!!!! Well, kettle black pot calling. George shoulda been there two years ago. Not like the UN is far away.

      It isn't that the US is a modern Roman Empire or a Nazi Germany. It is simply that the US uniquely has such an opportunity to make the world a better place and in so doing, earn a good name for itself. Sadly, it appears to be squandering this opportunity because it can't get out of it's 50s thinking: play this state against that state and we'll come out ahead. Al Qaeda has begun to think out of the box and shown that individuals--not only states--can have tremedous destructive power. As a countermeasure, shouldn't the US learn to think outside of the box to help improve the lot of the unlucky individuals in the world, not simply the wellbeing of their puppet governments?

      Improving the security of US citizens in the world cannot be viewed as simply a military affair. Nor can it be improved simply by espionage as the NSA would have people believe. It is not closing off your borders to someone who happens to be born in Syria.

      It is largely because the US is being seen as the power that helps prevent you from voting for the future leaders in your own country, as in Saudi Arabia. Or being buddy-buddy with the state that shells your house as in the refugee camps in Palistine. Or pals with the Russian government that deports your village to Siberia as in Chechnia. Or financier of the government that tortures you for your regigious beliefs.

      Rationally none of this justifies killing people, but if it was your country, family, village or you, you might not be rational anymore.

      So improve your image in the world by improving yourselves. This is how to be safe.

      Cheers,
      -b

      Oh, sorry, is this Kuro5hin? ; )

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:23PM (#4618682)
    1 Eliminate civil liberties making security

    2

    3 FREEDOM! :)
  • Not good enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:25PM (#4618700) Journal

    [he] tells Congress that they can best help him by going back to their constituents and finding out where the public wants to draw the line between liberty and safety

    This is not good enough. Because liberty is a more abstract concept than security, people tend to choose security on the principle that only criminals have something to hide ... until their liberty is eroded to the extent that it causes them problems, by which time it is too late to go back.

    • Ooops. There's a hidden assumption in the parent that liberty=privacy. Many people (myself included) would argue that this assumption is incorrect.

      Liberty and privacy do have an impact on each other, but they are not synonymous.
  • Freedom (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Henry V .009 ( 518000 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:26PM (#4618714) Journal
    Governments all around the world have been using the horrible events of September 11th to take away the rights guaranteed their citizens. It is not true, though, that giving up our rights actually makes us more secure.

    Every time someone looks at the United States and wrongly believes that we live under a despotic and evil government, the world becomes a bit more dangerous for Americans. The sort of person who thinks that the United States is a horrible place is far more likely to be supportive to the insanity of radical-Islamist terrorism.

    On the other hand, every time someone looks to the United States and envies our elections, our freedoms, our optimism, that is a victory in the war on terrorism. And with enough victories like that, I think that the world can truly become a safer place.
  • by Omega ( 1602 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:27PM (#4618726) Homepage
    Why does the NSA have to ask for a line between safety and liberty? Why can't we have both [aclu.org]?

    I know that violating people's civil liberties including taking away their right to speech, privacy and due process makes it easier for law enforcement, but aside from being unconstitutional, it's also bad policework.

    If you racially profile your suspects, then the Timothy McVeighs slip through. If you tap everyone's phone, then you become bogged down in terabytes of data -- most of which is useless. If you suppress the speech of the hate mongers and racists, then you don't know who is a hate monger or racist.

    Civil liberties aren't just respectful of constitutional and human rights, they also help law enforcement do their job right. So don't ask for a line to be drawn. Try playing by the rules instead.

    • Jesus Christ, this is probably one of the most intelligent comments I've seen posted on Slashdot...

      You said it perfectly, Omega
    • by mesocyclone ( 80188 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:58PM (#4618991) Homepage Journal
      Why does the NSA have to ask for a line between safety and liberty? Why can't we have both

      The NSA isn't asking you to choose one or the other. It is asking how much liberty do you wish to sacrifice in order to gain how much safety.

      And contrary to the rest of your post, there is *always* that tradeoff in the real world.


      I know that violating people's civil liberties including taking away their right to speech, privacy and due process makes it easier for law enforcement, but aside from being unconstitutional, it's also bad policework.


      Wait... it makes it easier to do their job, so it is bad policework? That doesn't follow.

      If you racially profile your suspects, then the Timothy McVeighs slip through.

      Nonsense. If you racially profile, you enhance your odds of catching criminals. There is a reason that every BOLO I have ever heard (and I have heard a lot of them) list the race of the suspect. And in terms of a more general profile, where you don't exactly know the suspect, it still makes sense. Not racially profiling is like making a spam filter that ignores certain words because it is politically incorrect to do so.

      In other words, it is a dumb strategy from a law enforcement viewpoint.

      If you tap everyone's phone, then you become bogged down in terabytes of data -- most of which is useless. If you suppress the speech of the hate mongers and racists, then you don't know who is a hate monger or racist.

      Civil liberties aren't just respectful of constitutional and human rights, they also help law enforcement do their job right. So don't ask for a line to be drawn. Try playing by the rules instead.

      This is utter balderdash. Civil liberties in general impede law inforcement. Otherwise, we wouldn't need to enforce civil liberties against law enforcement, because they would have no desire or need to violate them.

      The important issue, which at least the head of the NSA understands (unlike some posters here) is which civil liberties does one reduce (not eliminate) in trade for what sort of protection. This is a valid question. In fact, it is the fundamental question of all government: what freedoms do you take from your citizens in trade for what benefits do you give them?

      After all, government ONLY works by removing liberties. This is something that those who favor big government should keep in mind. It isn't only safety that people trade for liberty; they are also all to willing to trade economic freedoms (typically the economic freedoms of others) for their own economic gain (or the economic gain of others).

      Government is necessary in the real world. Government only works by removing liberties. The US government is contrained in its removal of liberties by a constitution, although the interpretation of that constitution is a matter of constant controversy.

      Therefore the only interesting issue is how much the government can and should infringe on liberties. Anything else ignores reality.
      • by nosilA ( 8112 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @04:21PM (#4619772)
        Nonsense. If you racially profile, you enhance your odds of catching criminals.

        No, you don't. I hate to beat the sniper drum because people are making such a big deal out of it, but it is true that the snipers were observed near the scene of several of the shootings by the police, but not noticed because the police were on the lookout for white separatists, and black muslims don't fit that profile.

        Had no such profiling been done and they had instead simply compared license plates or people, they may have caught on to them earlier. Or maybe not, but clearly having the contrary profile in that case did not make their job any easier.

        -Alison
  • the question is.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MoceanWorker ( 232487 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:27PM (#4618729) Homepage
    CAN we draw a line distinguishing safety and liberty?

    Through liberty.. there will always be safety.. in the sense that.. someone (the government) will always control our liberty.. and at the same time a government will do all it can to protect its country, even if it includes hindering our liberty.

    If one were to go around chanting anti-american remarks and burning the flag, by the Constitutional law.. they have every right to do that, but our government will see it as a threat and most likely arrest the individual.

    Unfortunately, freedom and safety are both two very strenuous issues when being discussed together, but as far as "the line" goes.. I personally don't think a line can be drawn..
    • If one were to go around chanting anti-american remarks and burning the flag, by the Constitutional law.. they have every right to do that, but our government will see it as a threat and most likely arrest the individual.
      >>>>>>>>>>>
      If I recall correctly, you can't arrest someone if they have the right to do something. And last I remembered, making anti-american remarks and burning the flag was still Constitutional.
      • If I recall correctly, you can't arrest someone if they have the right to do something. And last I remembered, making anti-american remarks and burning the flag was still Constitutional.

        right.. and if you actually reread my post.. you will see i had wrote ".. by the Constitutional law.. they have every right to do that"

        and I know they can't be arrested for it.. but.. i'm saying that the government themselves would see it as a threat and arrest them.. believe me.. the government will find many different absurd reasons to arrest you.. just as long as they get ahold of you..
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:28PM (#4618731) Journal
    ""...[he] tells Congress that they can best help him by going back to their constituents and finding out where the public wants to draw the line between liberty and safety." "

    Why don't you just intercept their constituents' phone calls, email, web traffic, faxes, pages, and all other forms of electronic communications, and then you'll know exactly what they want.

    Oh.. wait..

  • by haplo21112 ( 184264 ) <haplo AT epithna DOT com> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:28PM (#4618732) Homepage
    They crossed it about 5 minutes later when the Patriot Act passed. And don't kid yourselves, it has been said the patriot act is supposed to be somewhat limited and a temp measure....Yeah Right a Temp measure like the Federal Income Tax was supposed to be when it passed...

    Honestly I scared...of all of the things going on...Homeland Security is a term that scares the hell out of me....
    • Too bad it doesn't scare more people. I can't believe how many people think that TIPS, the Department of Homeland Security, and the US Patriot Act are good things. I've also met several people that think they aren't enough. Now that REALLY scares me.
  • . ....Anyday.

    I'll take my chances here, just so long as every time they hit us here, the miserable filthy rat bastards that plan, finance and harbor these immoral vermin get it back 100 times over.

    Use all the daisycutters and hellfires you need, we'll make more.

    .
  • Would the constituents be the people of the US, the businesses of the US, or both? The goals of businesses are different from people: businesses don't want individual privacy because it hinders their ability to market.

    Since Congress has to answer to both, I wonder if they are the best group to answer Director Hayden's question. Perhaps this is an executive decision.
  • wrong attitude (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MattW ( 97290 ) <matt@ender.com> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:31PM (#4618759) Homepage
    This is like saying that we need to draw the line between electricity use and pollution. Wrong. We need to innovate. The answer to a security issue isn't to take away freedoms to make it easier on us; the answer is to use more advanced methods to maintain privacy and liberty AND enhance security.

    While the question is phrased that way -- liberty vs safety -- it's the only question we can answer. If we say: liberty is inviolate, now how else do we protect people? Then that question may be answered instead.
  • by TrollBridge ( 550878 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:32PM (#4618771) Homepage Journal
    Not to troll (as I know the name implies) but why is everyone here whining about the restrictions on our freedom that our legislators are imposing on us, when most of you (Americans, anyway) probably didn't even vote this past Tuesday.

    I voted. I voted for Libertarian candidates because I, like many people here, believe that the less intrusive government is, the better.

    Writing letters and making phone calls only goes so far. No matter how many letters or phone calls legislators receive, it's still the same person who ignores them. The real solution is to get these people out of office and elect people who are more likely to give our concerns a voice.

    So the next time you feel that our legislators truly aren't looking out for our interests, get your ass out of your chair and vote.

    • I voted for Libertarian candidates

      I vote without regard to political party because, like many people here, THINK FOR MYSELF!

      Think for yourself next election, just because someone got on the ticket for a particular party doesn't really mean jack. Did you see the guy on the daily show that was on the ballot as a libertarian candidate even though the libertarian party didn't support him at all?

      AND! Only vote if you know what you are voting for. Ignorant voters are more a bain to democracy than non voters. So you don't know who is running for congress in your district? Don't vote for your favorite party, turn the page and go to the next race and don't vote for anyone in that race.

      Stupid voters suck! Immigrants probably have a better knowledge of how our government works than natural born citizens because they have to take a test about it to become a citizen. There should be a test on the basic principles of our government and the constitution required in order to vote. How can you vote if you don't know how your own government even works!

    • by spun ( 1352 ) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [yranoituloverevol]> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:13PM (#4619155) Journal
      Libertarian's ideal of 'less government' seems to include doing away with all environmental and public safety laws that might get in the way of corporations turning a profit. No more pesky anti-monopoly laws, either.

      Fire and police departments would be privatized. Can't afford protection? Too bad, social darwinism says you don't deserve to live, anyway.

      Water and electricity would certainly be cheaper if they were completely unregulated monopolies, right?

      Libertarianism in a nutshell: I've got mine, screw the rest of you.
      • Libertarians In A Nutshell - As a party, Libertarians support the political philosophy of "libertarianism." This philosophy states that you, as an individual, know best how to live your own life. Not the government.

        Obviously, you don't know a whole hell of a lot about Libertarianism or you wouldn't make such sweeping generalizations about us (yes, I am one) and our ideas. Not all Libertarians believe that we can one day just scrap police and fire protection, get rid of the entire governmental structure and leave people to fend for themselves. We don't want to destroy the world as we know it and replace with entirely privatized options. It's this kind of FUD that keeps the party down.

        The LP wants to:
        # Substantially reduce the size and intrusiveness of government and cut all taxes.

        # Let peaceful, honest people offer their goods and services to willing consumers without a hassle from government.

        # Let peaceful, honest people decide for themselves what to eat, drink, read, or smoke and how to dress, medicate themselves, or make love, without fear of criminal penalties.

        # The U.S. government should defend Americans and their property in America and let the U.S. taxpayer off the hook for the defense bill of wealthy countries like Germany and Japan.

        Stick to posting about topics you know. www.lp.org [lp.org] would be a good start to your reading.
  • My real concern puts the issue about where to draw the line between security and liberty off to the side: I'm more concerned about the United States being effective once we decide to act.

    We're too concerned about the "world opinion" from nations we barely respect or who have historically been shown to be liars.
  • Interesting quote (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zeda ( 415 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:36PM (#4618814)
    An excerpt:
    "During that session I even said without exaggeration on my part or complaint on yours that if Usama bin Laden crossed the bridge from Niagara Falls, Ontario to Niagara Falls, New York, U.S. law would give him certain protections that I would have to accommodate in the conduct of my mission. And now the third open session for the Director of NSA: I am here explaining what my Agency did or did not know with regard to 19 hijackers who were in this country legally."

    It seems then, that the safest place for a terrorist to hide would be in US.

  • What an incredibly brilliant thing to tell congress. Because we as Americans, and the west, have to decide what is the acceptable level of risk of simply living.

    This not only applies to issues pertaining to the west's battle with Islamism, but also applies to all of the socialist safety nets governments feel they must create for us.

    And particularly in America it applies to the economic destruction wreaked on us by trial lawyers. (Read Chocolate) [slashdot.org]

    There are so many physical risks and dangers in this world and we'll never be able to crush, legislate and/or sue them out of existence.

  • by sakeneko ( 447402 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:39PM (#4618839) Homepage Journal
    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
    -- Benjamin Franklin

    I personally think Michael Hayden stated the issue he faces, and we all face, extremely clearly, and thereby did us all a favor. I also think Benjamin Franklin drew the line where it needs to be drawn -- do not sacrifice essential liberty at all, and especially not for temporary safety.

    The task we face is to determine which liberties are essential. I'd start with the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and especially the First and Second Amendments. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of conscience and expression. The Second Amendment guarantees that individual citizens, rather than the government, hold the balance of power.

    I'd also point to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments as important. We must not carelessly and capriciously deny due process to those whom we suspect. Historically, when we have, we've done no good -- for the others or ourselves. (Remember the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII?)

    Does anyone see anything important I've missed?

    • Yeah.
      The 9th and the 10th which pretty explicitly limit federal powers to those granted to it by the people, while reserving those not explicitly graned to the states and the people.

      Unforuntately, the 9 idiots on the bench have effectively destroyed both of these amendments, and are doing a bangup job on the 4th.
    • by OwnedByTwoCats ( 124103 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @04:33PM (#4619887)
      You only missed your fourth amendment right to not have your home torn apart in a search whenever someone in power decides that it's time to put you back in line.

      Or your fifth amendment rights to not be hounded by the prosecution, and tried innumerable times on (possibly the same) bogus charge.

      Or your sixth amendment right to be tried promptly, or to face your accusers and their accusations, or be able to call witnesses in your defense, or ask for the assistance of a lawyer.

      Or your seventh and eighth amendment rights.
  • by lildogie ( 54998 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:44PM (#4618883)
    Draw the line between liberty and safety where it was on September 10, 2001.

    It was not lack of security infrastructure that "allowed" the 9/11 attack. We had the infrastructure in place.

    The hostile conspiracy had been testing the vigilance (or lack thereof) of the airport security screenings to _measure_ their complacency.

    The hostile conspiracy was using techniques to keep their plans secret that would still work even if the present levels of internet monitoring and envelope steaming had been in place.

    We have not really gained security. Observe that the perpetrator of the Anthrax letters still hasn't been identified, much less caught. Observe that the 2nd worst attack on U.S. territory, in OK City, was perpetrated by a U.S. citizen who used a rented panel truck. Safety still is just as illusory as it was before 9/11.

    What has changed is that we've sacrificed liberty (or had it sacrificed for us) to create the image of security, without any real gains in security. Heavens, even Ashcroft admitted that U.S. agression abroad would probably increase our risk of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Security is not the objective. Control is the objective.

    Draw the line between security and safety where it was before. We'd spent 35 years of hard civil liberties work to keep the words "national security" from being carte blanche for the abuse of our civil rights. Now we've got to regain that progress all over again. We _will_ regain it, even if it takes another 35 years to relearn the lessons.
    • We'd spent 35 years of hard civil liberties work to keep the words "national security" from being carte blanche for the abuse of our civil rights. Now we've got to regain that progress all over again. We _will_ regain it, even if it takes another 35 years to relearn the lessons.

      Isn't that the exact problem our educational system is supposed to help us avoid? In 35 years, we'll have a new generation of politicians and voters. If they can't learn the lesson now, by the time they learn it they'll be dead or out of office.
  • by dormat ( 155823 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:45PM (#4618888) Homepage
    Give me liberty or give me death. That seems pretty straight forward to me. If I have to die because I have freedom, so be it. I'm not gonna give it away, just so I can be "safe" and comfortably numb. That's where my line is drawn.
  • by DuBois ( 105200 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:46PM (#4618896) Homepage
    Is it possible that one widely disregarded factor in what happened on 9/11/2001 was that none of the passengers on those four flighs were allowed their pre-existing self defense rights, in complete and utter disregard of the 2nd Amendment?

    Is it not possible that, having already made the decision for security over liberty back in the 1970's when the tools of self defense were banned from aircraft (and post offices, and schools, I might add), these formerly free United States had become a haven for terrorists without any help from the NSA?

    Didn't anybody ever watch "Red Dawn?"

  • by shadowsong ( 132451 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [rajasehs]> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:47PM (#4618909)
    "I then gave the NSA workforce a challenge: We were going to keep America free by making Americans feel safe again."

    This could be interpreted a number of ways, but it seems as though he realizes the biggest threat to civil liberties comes from scared citizens.
  • "...[he] tells Congress that they can best help him by going back to their constituents and finding out where the public wants to draw the line between liberty and safety."

    Intelligent life found in the US government! Quick, lets vote him into presidency before he gets away!

    Disclamer: I am in no way infering that the current president is not intelligent...
    yeah...
    >.>

  • Themself are one, do draw a line would be to destroy both.

    Don't tell me I'm naive. I'm not.

  • http://intelligence.senate.gov/0210hrg/021017/hayd en.pdf

    Intelligence.senate.gov

    Isn't that an oxymoron?

  • ... did the abrogation of other people's rights become a matter of polling one's constituents? Look semitic? Practicing muslim? Now being searched and fingerprinted is official policy. Check out the wrong books at the library? Official policy to notify the authorities.

    I don't give a tinkers damn that my neighbors said this treatment was okay, even if they outnumber me. A constitutional republic is not about two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.
  • climate of fear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gordona ( 121157 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:12PM (#4619148) Homepage
    We, in the US, live in a climate of fear that has been nurtured by our government and the media for a very long time. We have ignored many of the problems in nations throughout the world and focused on being the toughest MF'er on the block. As king of the heap, we have to protect our position. In order to do that we have to justify it to the American people by daily demonstrating the need for that protection--that everyone is out to get us. It becomes a catch-22 situation. The need for security and the means of ensuring that security creates an ever increasing need for more security. Of course, ultimately, our rights must suffer.
  • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:23PM (#4619266) Homepage Journal
    First we should start by questioning the assumption that loss of liberty even will buy us safety.

    This needs to be done, on a point-by-point basis for each and every liberty that is being compromised. In engineering decisions there's always 'nice to have' and 'must have'. There are also times when the customer is asking for the wrong thing, and you can give a different solution that satisifes him even better than what he'd asked for. As far as I can see, current liberty/security tradeoffs appear to be a shopping list, without effectiveness review or modifications.
  • by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:27PM (#4619301) Homepage

    ...[he] tells Congress that they can best help him by going back to their constituents and finding out where the public wants to draw the line between liberty and safety.

    Whoa, they have to ask Disney AND the oil industry? Unprecedented!

    (PS: It's a joke. Please don't tap my phone line.)

  • Liberty vs. Safety (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Scratch-O-Matic ( 245992 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @04:31PM (#4619869)
    I find this remark very interesting, because a great American once said this:

    "Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    That man was Ben Franklin, and his words are more true today than ever before.

    I couldn't resist. Go easy on me.
  • by Alethes ( 533985 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @06:19PM (#4621142)
    The level of freedom a society can handle is directly proportional to the level of self-discipline they maintain. If there is no self-discipline, the society will impose third-party discipline, whether that be the state or the neighbors, thereby eliminating the freedom of the undisciplined, and, frequently at the expense of the rights of the disciplined.

    The government and media recently have turned this debate into a balance between security and freedom, but the reality is that a society can very well have both as long as the members are willing to discipline themselves without the need of an intervening society that is attempting to protect itself from a genuine or supposed threat.

    The other part of this equation, then, is that the society consists of self-disciplined individuals who want to ensure that the line between security and freedom is not being redrawn in the face of conjectured threats or threats that do not affect the disciplined. If an undisciplined segment of the society wants to attempt a powergrab, then it will be by manufacturing and exaggerating threats so that the disciplined are willing to redraw the line needlessly.

    The undisciplined fraction in society is like a flea on a dog's tail, and the disciplined class is more often than not, chewing its own tail to the bone in an effort to rid itself of the menace.

The only difference between a car salesman and a computer salesman is that the car salesman knows he's lying.

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