The Intelligence Gathering Debate


02 Aug 2017 04 Sep 2017

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There has been a lot of terrorism attack patterns and behaviors since the 1990s. This prompted change from most of the organizations on a global platform in as far as how they handled intelligence. The September 11 terrorism attack on the USA soils prompted a heavy presence of change in the security measures taken to protect the country.  The events brought to light in the fact that there are many threats facing the country as technology continues to advance. It also brought to light the impact that the events had on operations and intelligence in USA. It's important to have constant and up to date intelligence in order to counter terrorism. As the USA congress reckoned in its report on national commission on terrorism, good intelligence is always the best weapon against terrorism. This means that there needs to be firm policies and dedicated leaders so as to ensure a safer future for coming generations (Karmon, 2009).

The intelligence agencies like the NSA, are responsible for providing the most sensitive information that would help enhance security measures for a country. Mostly, there never seen and they have sources everywhere. This ensures success on their missions even though they are never reported. Once they succeed, they ensure vigorous prosecution, proper convictions and safety.   Chris Anderson Invited Edward Snowden to a debate on TED talk to talk about the revelations that earned him many titles from traitor, whistleblower and even hero. In the past, there was little knowledge as to how far intelligence agencies would go to protect the country as they say. Snowden brought to light how human privacy had been breached. This information questioned whether the existing government was a government for the people. It also raised questions on how safe personal information from bank accounts to phone calls and also email transactions was (Snowden, 2014).

Snowden was working for the NSA in Hawaii as the system administrator. He would gain access to sensitive classified files which in time he would share to the media journalists. This was due to disturbance that the revelation had caused him. He believed that the NSA did a lot of good things to assist the community, some of which were necessary but also needed limitations. He believed that for some drastic measures to be taken the public had to be made aware and also asked for approval. Being that he knew things that he shouldn't have, the only way to protect himself was to expose what he knew to the journalists. Similarly, he got the information out to the American people. Section 215 of the patriot act, allows for access to metadata. This means that warrantless wire taping, mass surveillance and recording of phone calls can be done. However, that requires court approval. In the years after the September 11 event, a lot of metadata were done secretly. Also a lot of different technology companies were brought into the fishy programme, commonly referred to direct access (Snowden, 2014).

Most of this programs were operated without warrants and thus most of the American people information was been looked into by many farms. This was a total invasion of privacy and obstruction of law by the same people who claimed to protect it. This was and is a potential threat to most Americans as information and data can be easily manipulated. This moves by the NSA not only managed to cause distrust amongst American people towards the government, but also managed to destroy existing and future working relationship with other countries. So, as much as the government claims to have the best interest for the country, Americans have had to pay a price that they shouldn't have (Snowden, 2014).

It also question the congress' responsibilities. They acted unconstitutionally. Snowden clearly won the debate because, for one most of the obtained information hasn't helped in protecting the country against terrorism and two, he helped the Americans to be more aware of the current and the future running governments.


Karmon, E. (2009). The Role of Intelligence in Counter-Terrorism. Taylor Francis Online, 1.

Snowden, E. A. (2014). How we take the internet. TED, 1.


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