Skip to Content

Government Surveillance

Yes, the NSA Worried About Whether Spying Would Backfire


It can be tough to imagine what exactly was going through the minds of National Security Agency officials when they decided they could secretly collect American citizens’ private data in bulk. On stage at Yahoo’s Digital Democracy conference in Des Moines, Iowa this week, the NSA’s former general counsel, Matt Olsen, attempted to explain.

Unfortunately, judging by the outrage Edward Snowden’s revelations inspired across the country—including among government officials like Senator Rand Paul, who spoke at the conference earlier that day—it seems the NSA didn’t calibrate quite correctly. Gregory T. Nojeim, a senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology who joined Olsen on stage said as much. “I don’t doubt that there were discussions,” he said, “I just think they came out the wrong way, and the reason things are coming out the wrong way is because of excess secrecy.”

Click here for full story.