The NSA Report: Liberty and Security in a Changing World

The NSA Report: Liberty and Security in a Changing World

The NSA Report: Liberty and Security in a Changing World

The NSA Report: Liberty and Security in a Changing World


"We cannot discount the risk, in light of the lessons of our own history, that at some point in the future, high-level government officials will decide that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private information is there for the plucking. Americans must never make the mistake of wholly 'trusting' our public officials."-- The NSA Report

This is the official report that is helping shape the international debate about the unprecedented surveillance activities of the National Security Agency. Commissioned by President Obama following disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden, and written by a preeminent group of intelligence and legal experts, the report examines the extent of NSA programs and calls for dozens of urgent and practical reforms. The result is a blueprint showing how the government can reaffirm its commitment to privacy and civil liberties--without compromising national security.


On August 27, 2013, the president announced the creation of the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. the immediate backdrop for our work was a series of disclosures of classified information involving foreign intelligence collection by the National Security Agency. the disclosures revealed intercepted collections that occurred inside and outside of the United States and that included the communications of United States persons and legal permanent residents, as well as non-United States persons located outside the United States. Although these disclosures and the responses and concerns of many people in the United States and abroad have informed this Report, we have focused more broadly on the creation of sturdy foundations for the future, safeguarding (as our title suggests) liberty and security in a rapidly changing world.

Those rapid changes include unprecedented advances in information and communications technologies; increased globalization of trade, investment, and information flows; and fluid national security threats against which the American public rightly expects its government to provide protection. With this larger context in mind, we have been mindful of significant recent changes in the environment in which intelligence collection takes place.

For example, traditional distinctions between “foreign” and “domestic” are far less clear today than in the past, now . . .

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