"When people hear framing like that and when they understand the true breadth of these programs, they do become truly outraged," he said.
The full accounting of the government's online monitoring efforts need not be a threat to national security, as the agencies running those programs will surely contend.
"Since it's been revealed that the government is already accessing this data, I don't think there are any additional national security ramifications in simply confirming at a high level that the program exists," Irving Lachon, director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for New American Security, told CSO.
"Admitting that they're doing this is not a problem because the bad guys now know that we're doing it, and they probably assumed that we were anyway," he said. "It's probably not a good idea to get into the specific details of what exactly what has been collected because there could be some national security implications in that."
Richard Stiennon, chief research analyst with IT-Harvest, said a full accounting of what's going on shouldn't jeopardize national security. "If there were a threat to national security we would have already experienced it."
"We already know that the NSA is onÃ'Â a massive information surveillance campaign-- rather successfully, evidently," he said. "So no additional harm could come from some additional transparency."
Some additional transparency could help repair the harm that's been done by the affair to the nation's international reputation. "They've done much, much more harm to the standing of the United States as a free and open society," Stiennon said. "They have to address that, as well as do the job of tracking down terrorists."
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