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Post Discussion on NSA and Surveillance
Created by John Eipper on 04/15/14 12:40 PM

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Discussion on NSA and Surveillance (Alan Levine, USA, 04/15/14 12:40 pm)

Many thanks to John Recchiuti (15 April) for calling attention on WAIS to the debate I hosted on the NSA that was shown on C-SPAN last night. I thought it was a great debate, worthy of national attention (and, thereby, of WAISers', too). The debaters were General Michael Hayden, former head of the NSA and CIA among other illustrious posts in his forty-year career of public service, and Barton Gellman of the Washington Post.

To link my debate to Massoud Malek's post of earlier today, Massoud notes that the Washington Post today received a Pulitzer for its NSA coverage. Gellman, one of the speakers in my debate, was the lead Post reporter in its Snowden coverage. For Gellman, this is his third Pulitzer Prize, receiving his other two for coverage of the 9/11 attacks and for the vice presidency of Dick Cheney. Gellman was one of the few people directly approached by Snowden and given all the NSA documents. He discusses in the debate how he decided to publish what--he chose to keep much info secret--and how he stores the NSA documents, among many other things.

I was asked last night who won the debate. The answer is that we have here two excellent representatives for different concerns both of which are highly valued by Americans: privacy and security. Neither was dogmatic. Both understand the need for both privacy and security. Both make a good case. I hope the debate might help people think about where they might draw the line.

Anyone interested in seeing the other debates and programs I have hosted in my capacity as Director of the Political Theory Institute at American University, can go to the Institute's website. Many of the debates, including people such as Camille Paglia, Bill Kristol, Bill Galston, and Johnathan Rauch, can be watched from there:


JE comments: I commend Alan Levine for this excellent work, and for making the debates available to all.  That's very Hiltonian!  I'm going to watch the Paglia debate as soon as time permits.

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