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Well Edwards -- in the former federal intelligence employee who leaked the information about the National Security Agency surveillance program on Americans.
Told the south China morning post that he's neither a traitor or a hero.
He says he's just an American.
But that hasn't stopped the debate here at home so is snow wouldn't -- hero.
Bill -- is a former NSA official with more than thirty years in the agency.
He became -- whistle blower and resigned in 2001.
After the program that he created for foreign intelligence gathering.
Was turned inward on this country.
Stephen yanks is a former deputy assistant to Vice President Cheney for national security affairs.
And CEO of DC international advisory.
He spent the first five years of his career at the National Security Agency.
Gentlemen glad to have both of you here.
And do you want to start with.
I don't think this is released so much about Edwards Snowden.
As it is about the programs and their value -- the country and whether or not they violate.
At a constitutional rights of Americans but I do want to ask in your view is Edward Snowden.
A good guy or a bad guy.
Well I certainly think that what he's done as as expo in exposing these programs is that is really great public service.
This kind of what I refer to or think of is unconstitutional activity by the government needs to be addressed it by the public.
Openly and so we can as a as a country decide whether -- whether or not we want our government to do this kind of activity after all.
Collecting this kind of knowledge about the citizenry is a very dangerous thing for the government to.
Half and -- left I want to just bring it to you left the NSA back in 2001.
Because you thought that there were some things happening even then this was twelve years ago.
That crossed the line what line did it cross and in what what was it the final straw being you said that's it I'm done.
But well that.
It was because they started collecting billing data from that Telekom -- the one I knew it was initially participating was AT&T.
And they were giving over on the order of 320 million records every day of US citizens talking to other US citizens.
Well given the power of that metadata that allowed you to reconstruct their entire calling community therefore you would know who's doing what with whom you know.
And so you could begin to reconstruct.
The Tea Party that the any kind of organization you want.
And then begin the fifth -- whose central to that organization or not and target those accordingly.
Steve how valuable is this information first of all in its collection.
And how damaging is it that.
Edwards Snowdon has revealed that at least the parameters of the program.
Well my my assumption is that that that data is extremely valuable in the work that the intelligence community is trying to do.
But it's not entirely their decision to make about what scope they have.
To gather and pursue leads here in the United States.
That's something that's completely dependent upon what the judicial branch of government says with a legislative branch of government says and exercising oversight.
What one of the questions is that -- it's so valuable how come it didn't stop Boston why didn't have anything to do with the underwear bomb -- -- -- -- The shoe bomber.
And beauty of Fort Hood little rock and there are so many instances.
Indeed it had nothing to do with stopping -- so why are we collecting all this data.
And if it's so valuable.
How come to this day we still haven't said that Fort Hood is terrorism and I think those are legitimate things to to be asking our government.
Tell us why we need this data it it doesn't seem to be working all that well Faris right now.
-- fair enough I think it is never going to be a good cool.
Two could detect ongoing or forthcoming attacks what it hasn't been when properly used and we could possibly find out it hasn't been properly is.
Is after something has happened after a Major -- is -- then.
With proper court authorities people can go back and analyze this data to find out.
If someone acted alone or if there had been a pattern a communications that could lead to a broader network.
Is this post hoc kind of utility that it can be most powerful in the hands in the right hands with the right.
Let me pose this question to both have you and -- -- start what you mentioned and I -- -- -- Let's just say that if if this 29 year old is not even a government employee he's a contract.
And he's not a high level official if he can get his hands on this and extract it.
Then obviously there's a lot of people who could get to this information what gives us any confidence at all.
If somebody doesn't decide to manipulate the next presidential election but.
Digging up all the phone records the Internet records every photo that every presidential candidate has had an essentially.
Blackmail everybody and completely control on election.
Or what what to comfort me here.
They'll let me start with you and -- -- -- -- and answer period.
Well -- -- that's that's basically that the fundamental problem with government having all of this knowledge about the population.
I mean one of the things that troubled me with the testimony that's coming to congress about the IRS activity.
By attacking your -- targeting individuals one individual is giving testimony -- said that they were asked the question by the IRS is what is your relationship with -- with this other person.
And they gave -- -- Well how do they know there's a relationship well if you if you look into the metadata this program you know all those relationships.
So the real question is how does the IRS know about that relationship.
I think they need to answer that because it looks to me like that's a part of this program -- A result -- that they're taking knowledge and and re directing it in that.
In a political way to target organizations that they don't particularly care for.
Our state I'd like to response to the same because I do think it's fundamentally even more important than.
You know who Edwards -- is it's who else out there -- this information what could they do anything.
Willing to do a tremendous amount with -- but they're really two pillars on which this kind of a program must arrest or probably has to be discontinued.
One is trust and the other is targeting.
In the current environment any notion of trust in the federal government gathering.
And respecting the information it has is blown there's going to have to be some major effort to restore trust.
The NSA is very different from the IRS but this whole -- -- -- general notion of trust in what the government is doing is frankly lost at the moment.
Targeting is really where the current environment has failed miserably.
In making sure there were using the tools we have to to look more narrowly at people who are real threats in real challenges.
That's an unacceptable is just take -- giant vacuum cleaner and hold onto an infinite amount of information.
Which technologically we now can do.
We have to have targeting an order for people that trust -- for this to work if you drown yourself and information than Boston bombers and other people.
Basically hide in plain sight.
All right well.
-- -- -- I don't think there's a whole lot of stuff on me that just in case there is I don't want them hold onto it okay.
I've tried -- David you're gonna rejoin us in a few minutes but first.
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