How to Manage the NSA’s Public Image

For Medium this week I wrote about the break in public trust between the government and the rest of us.

There is a big difference between “no oversight” — the current charge du jour in the NSA debate — and “oversight I find inadequate.” Without further details, we cannot say for certain whether the oversight the NSA and other agencies are subjected to is sufficient or not. Absent confirmatory evidence that there are strict safeguards in place — “trust us” does not work when officials have been caught lying — all that is left is a deep seated dislike at the depth and breadth of surveillance being conducted regardless of the law.

If the FISA Court rejected more requests, the public would likely feel better about the review process — even though it would indicate that the government had been making a higher number of improper requests, it would lend the impression that the court serves as a check on government power. Right now, the conventional wisdom has solidified around calling the FISA Court a rubber stamp, regardless of whether that’s true.

Read the rest over at Medium.

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