Although President Obama did not say that the NSA’s activity will be shut down or will be greatly limited, he did say that there will be key reforms. One key reform regarding NSA activities is that the NSA will stop spying on America’s allies. As we have reported earlier, America was put into a particularly embarrassing situation when it was revealed that the NSA was tapping the mobile phone of the Prime Minister of Germany. Talk about rubbing your friends the wrong way.
It looks like the United States is learning from such public relations disasters and President Obama has laid down some key guidelines regarding what the NSA will and will not do. Of course, if you read between the lines, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the meat and potatoes of what the NSA is doing ? which is grabbing large scale data of all communications in the United States and all over the world ? will change fundamentally. Many supporters of this snooping activities point to the fact that maybe 9/11 could have been prevented if the NSA was in business around that time. Although that is quite a bit of a stretch because, as the 9/11 Commission report mentioned, there was intelligence regarding the 9/11 attacks. The problem was that the FBI and other related agencies weren’t talking to each other. So, even if the NSA’s wide-scale snooping can actually detect terrorist plots, it is still anyone’s guess if that information will get to the right agencies to foil such terrorist activities.
Be that as it may, Obama’s willingness to at least dial back some of the NSA’s tremendous reach may provide some level of comfort to people. However, if you have been paying attention to our coverage of the NSA, it seems that its reach is so wide and its impact is so deep that there might need to be more fundamental changes for people, the world over, to truly regain their peace of mind.