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International New York Times

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A Toothless NSA? Not Under Obama! (Die Welt, Germany)

 

"September 11, 2001 would probably have been prevented if Congress hadnít radically curtailed the power of the intelligence services after Nixon. These memories run deep. Few things are as devastating to a U.S. head of state as the charge of having put Americaís security at risk. ... For German and Latin American observers with memories of the Gestapo, the Stasi, and military dictatorship, these are dramatic developments. From a U.S. perspective, however, the drama doesn't come close to approaching the criminal activity of the CIA and FBI in the 1960s."

 

By Torsten Krauel

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Translated By Stephanie Martin

 

January 19, 2014

 

Germany - Die Welt - Original Article (German)

President Obama says America will stop spying on allies: Does anyone believe this? Does Chancellor Angela Merkel?

 

RUSSIA TODAY NEWS VIDEO: Edward Snowden joins Freedom of the Press Foundation, Jan. 15, 00:05:42RealVideo

Those expecting Barack Obama to abolish the NSA or pull the teeth of the intelligence services are disappointed by the presidentís speech. That is in the nature of things. The War of Independence against colonial power Britain only succeeded because of a few lucky acts of espionage. In 1942, the war of two fronts against Japan and Germany was only won by America, unarmed as it was in its first year of war, because it was able to read Japanís radio traffic.

 

And September 11, 2001 would probably have been prevented if Congress hadnít radically curtailed the power of the intelligence services after Richard Nixon. These memories run deep. Few things are as devastating to a U.S. head of state as the charge of having put Americaís security at risk.

 

Obama didn't respond to the criminal action being taken against politically-unpopular Americans, as Congress did after Richard Nixon. Yet Edward Snowden did indeed uncover extensive levels of data retention, as well as the coerced cooperation of major Internet companies. He did reveal high-handedness, such as the likely eavesdropping of then-opposition leader Angela Merkel - in all likelihood in order to create a profile of the next German chancellor.

 

The NSA is not the Gestapo

 

For German and Latin American observers with memories of the Gestapo, the Stasi, and military dictatorship, these are dramatic developments. From a U.S. perspective, however, the drama doesn't come close to approaching the criminal activity of the CIA and FBI in the 1960s.

 

As a result, Obamaís reform proposals are milder than those after Nixonís resignation. While unjustified, large-scale U.S. data retention wonít be completely abolished, it will be considerably restricted. Data that remains from previous surveillance actions may no longer be used without a court order.

 

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Some of the recommendations are modeled on Europe's data protection laws, while others are aimed at satisfying groups, the votes of which Obama doesnít want to lose in the midterm congressional elections. However, a radical restructuring of the intelligence agencies will not be forthcoming. With the NSA shielded and still indispensable to America, the fractious Congress would not even be able to agree on the issue.

Posted By Worldmeets.US

 

Despite some excesses, the main purpose of the eavesdropping is to defend the country against terrorists who want to kill people like flies and without batting an eye, would use a nuclear bomb to that end. Happily, such a scenario has yet to occur, but that doesnít mean one can entirely stop taking precautions. On this question, Barack Obama is absolutely clear.

 

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Posted By Worldmeets.US Jan. 19, 2014, 8:39pm