Local Connection: US Spygate - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Connection: US Spygate

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By: Rick Blangiardi

It has been just a few weeks since the Guardian newspaper in Great Britain reported that the National Security Administration had collected telephone records of millions of Americans who had not been suspected of crimes.

Next came disclosures in the Washington post that the NSA, under a program called prism, was collecting e-mails, photos, videos and social-networking data from big internet companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and others.

Civilian contractor Edward Snowden came to light as a leaker who let the world know of these developments and it turns out snowden worked and lived here for a brief time.

What has been lost in all the hype is that the NSA has never had the right to listen into our phone calls. To do so would require a warrant that specifically mandates a high burden of suspicion and the guarantee that all other investigative methods of getting the information had already failed.

What the NSA is getting is large amounts of records of numbers called, the times and dates the calls have been placed and for how long. Those numbers are plugged into larger databases of suspicious numbers that could make a connection to communications linked to terrorism.

Call me naïve but it seems that the collection of data is probably worth the cost of averting dozens of terrorist attacks, as NSA chief Keith Alexander asserted earlier this month. Nobody likes to be snooped on, but in this case, it may be very well worth the risk.

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