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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Much Ado About Nothing

After all the hype and the public "outcry" about the NSA program, it seems that the government has, indeed, built protections into the programs at the same time as protecting our country.

This IS an AP report, so take it with a grain of salt.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board received a long-awaited briefing on the secret program last week by senior members of the National Security Agency.

Two of the five board members told The Associated Press on Monday they were impressed by the safeguards the government has built into the NSA's monitoring of phone calls and computer transmissions and wished the administration could tell the public more about them to ease distrust.

"If the American public, especially civil libertarians like myself, could be more informed about how careful the government is to protect our privacy while still protecting us from attacks, we'd be more reassured," said Lanny Davis, a former Clinton White House lawyer.

Alan Raul, a former Reagan White House lawyer and the board's vice chairman, said the group "found there was a great appreciation inside government, both at the political and career levels, for protections on privacy and civil liberties."

"In fact, I think the public may have an underappreciation for the degree of seriousness the government is giving these protections." said Raul, author of a book on privacy and civil liberties in the digital age.

Pointing out the obvious, so many have criticized the program, without any proof that it was violating any civil liberties.... will they now apologize or simply ignore the fact that our government has done everything possible to protect us AND protect our privacy also?

To give credit where it is due, the Wapo piece also acknowledged Lanny Davis's pleasant surprise.

One member, Lanny J. Davis, a White House lawyer in the Clinton administration, said in an interview that he was "pleasantly surprised" by the privacy protections built into the program. He declined to discuss the program in detail because of secrecy restrictions.

"I was astonished at the extent to which they are all concerned about the legal and civil liberties and privacy implications of what they were doing," Davis said. "It was a constant theme of concern, awareness and training way beyond what I expected."

Davis said the briefings convinced him that the program had been carefully constructed from the start. "It was clear that as they thought about it, they put it together in a way that minimized problems to the best extent that they could," he said.

Now lets see if the Dems and the left side of the aisle acknowledges the same thing....that maybe, just maybe, the administration was able to enable a "tool" and protect our privacies at the same time.