Three Guiding Principles for Reforming the NSA

Over at the Amer­i­can Prospect, I have a long piece about what we need to think about for reform­ing the NSA.

Even today, when con­gress­men and sen­a­tors com­plain that the nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus is too large or too pow­er­ful, they are derid­ed as weak, lov­ing our ene­mies, and wish­ing for Amer­i­ca to fail. Hill staffs are ter­ri­fied to remove lan­guage autho­riz­ing aggres­sive secu­ri­ty mea­sures, because if an attack does sneak through their boss­es will be ham­mered in the press, pos­si­bly even thrown out of office. An event as ran­dom and unpre­dictable as two Amer­i­cans using com­mon house­hold goods to bomb a marathon sparked blan­ket cov­er­age con­demn­ing the FBI for not read­ing their minds and fail­ing to con­nect obscure dots.

The pre­vi­ous decade of ever-expand­ing secu­ri­ty for increas­ing pow­ers has hit a ceil­ing of pub­lic acceptance—the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty has reached the lim­its of pub­lic trust. If the gov­ern­ment wants us to trust it with the pow­er it has, then it has to behave in a trust­wor­thy way with it—no more secret courts, no more secret laws, and no more secret legal mem­os autho­riz­ing sum­ma­ry exe­cu­tions. So far, it has not.

Read the rest over at the Prospect.

Joshua Foust used to be a foreign policy maven. Now he helps organizations communicate strategically and build audiences.

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