tv Inside Story Al Jazeera January 16, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EST
high wind warnings in the northern plains. ♪ ♪ this is al jazerra america live from new york city i am tony harris with a look at today's top stories, more criticism for the catholic church over its handling of the priest sex abuse crisis. today a u.n. committee grilled vatican officials over allegations these protected pedophile priests at the expense of victims. and they conceded the church needs to do more to deal with the scandal but denied accusations of a cover up. secretary of state john kerry your honors the syrian opposition today to join next week's peace conference in geneva. this after al jazerra obtained a leaked letter that says the syrian government has agreed to attend the upcoming talks. the goal is to install a transitional government to help end the country's war. president obama is meeting with more than 100 college university
presidents today trying to make sure that low income students have an equal shot at getting for nba to college and succeeding once they get there. and police in california have charged three men with setting off a massive wildfire near los angeles. take a look at these live pictures. you can see the smoke there. this is the wildfire that's happening right now in glendora, california. investigators believe it started when a burning scrap of paper blew out of a campfire. the flames spread for more than 1700 acres and destroyed two homes. the fire still burning as you can see here. i am tony harris "inside story" is next on al jazerra america. ♪ ♪ ever get the feeling somebody is watching you? well, somebody probably is. would it make any difference to you if there were rules? you knew what they were, and everybody followed them? the nsa surveillance and you that's the "inside story."
♪ ♪ hello i am ray suarez. however you feel about edward snowden and what he did, there is one thing that can't be denied. he opened up the world of national security agency surveillance to public scrutiny. in the years after the september 11th terrorist attacks. government officials and elected officials have asked themselves and each other, sometimes even the rest of us, what does the united states have do to protect itself from conspiracy and attack? what works to thwart terrorist plan something what fits with our legal system, traditions, our liberties and expectations of privacy? and can you steer a path that passes all of those tests? edward snowden's theft and release of classified
information has led to a national did h debate, a commisn report and soon to come a presidential response. after months of straddling the lines between privacy advocates, big internet firms and his own intelligent services, president obama will share his plans for the national security agency friday. according to a recent report from the new york times, three suggestions from a presidentially appointed review panel may be endorsed. including limiting government access to bulk telephone data. by tightening clerk to his people only two steps removed from suspects. and limiting how many years that data is available. privacy safeguards for foreigners, essentially codifying previous practices, and calling for a six-month study by the director of national intelligence on further action. and adding a public advocate to the court. meaning an independent advocate would be assign today monitor the secret foreign intelligence surveillance core.
other key recommendations which may not get the president's nod of approval including bulk data being held by telecommunications firms instead of the ns actual. phone companies complain that the responsibility could turn in to a liability and the intelligence community says it would be inefficient. court warrants for records, which would have required what are called national security letters before obtaining information, the intelligence communcommunity says that's inefficient. tuesday members of the review panel spoke in detail to a senate judiciary committee about some of the recommend changes such as a bulk data collection. >> our judgment was that the government should not have possession of this information. because if it does, there is always the possibility of someone coming along down the road, seeing this is a great opportunity to get political dirt on an individual. >> committee chairman democratic certainty patrick lachey agreed there was more to the issue than national security. >> we are really having a debate
about what are americans fundamental relationship with their own government. the government exists for america, not the other way around. >> former deputy cia director said he believed section 215 of the patriot act, which deals with the collection of telephone metta data was essential. >> i believe that 215 carries the potential to prevent attacks and that's why i think it needs to continues. >> and republican senator lindsey graham of sacramento soa asked the panel sarcastically if privacy should really be a top priority when it comes in national security. >> do you believe as a group we are at war with radical islam? >> the debate was one of many since edward snowden revealed the agency's secret domestic counter terrorism activities next year. nsa director keith alex addresser insists the programs are critical to modern day
national security? in recent years these programs together with other intelligence, have protected the u.s. and our allies from terrorist threats across the globe to include helping prevent the terrorist -- potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11. >> there are major differences among members of congress about what to do. how to enhance privacy while continuing to protect the united states. no matter what the president decides, many of the proposed changes cannot happen without an act of congress. ♪ ♪ for more on what to expect from congress, we are joined now by senator martin heinrik. he is a democrat from new mexico and a member of the senate intelligence committee. senator heinrik welcome to "inside story." >> it's grade to be here, ray. >> i am sure by now you have seen the report liberty and security in a changing world. what do you make of it? >> well, let me first say that i view my job as trying to protect
both the security of american citizens, but also their liberty. and i think that's what this report was really trying to get at. it lays the groundwork for suggest significant rea reforms including ending the bulk collection of data from innocent americans. we'll just have to see if the president is willing to take that step. >> now, it's a 300-page report and some of the recommendations are highly detailed. and have written in to them the spirit of understanding that not everybody believes that when the nsa erases something it's really erased. can the public have some confidence that data isn't going to continue to be collected anyway if they are order the to stop? >> i think it's very difficult to make that case. in particular because of the edward snowden event. i mean, that was all data that was supposed to be protected, supposed to be secret, and yet now it's all over the internet
and in the public dough main, i think that's why so many americans are uncomfortable with the -- our intelligence apparatus hold this is data that really belongs to innocent americans. >> you are one of a number of senators that have taken a great into sportsnet in this issue you. are there some recommendations you thought didn't go far enough? >> well, we'll have to see what the president actually suggests we do tomorrow. but i think in addition to the administration taking executive action, this really is something that we need to fix in a legislative way. we need to have this conversation, because i think if you look back at the last few years before these revelations, none of us would have suggested that this was actually how the patriot act was being immateria. ed. we havbeing implemented. we have our jobs cut out for us and it needs reform. >> it's interesting you saying
handled in a legislative fashion. this is notoriously a part of our national life that you can hardly talk about in open sessions. committee hearings go in to closed session to his get down to the nitty-gritty. can you write a law about something that you can't even say ou out loud? >> i think you can. it really comes down to trying to stay true to the incredible job that the framers of constitution did when they wrote the 40 amendment to the contusion. -- fourth amendment to the congresses talks they fountain the balance of protecting both liberty and security. we have straight from that and i think it's time to make a bit of a course correction. >> for a long time in our national life, elected officials have felt very comfortable saying we've got to turn the screws. we have to get tougher. whether it's mandatory minimum sentences or lengthening sentences for minor crimes or so on. are you ready as an elected official to go both to your own public in new mexico and to the people at large in the united states and say, it's time to back off on some of these things
when wait in this wings night be the next attack? >> i think what we need to do is really focus like a laser beam on the terrorists, on people who we have real suspicion of. where liberties kick in is if you are an american citizen with no cloud of suspicion over you, you should believe that your government is not viewing you as a potential terrorist. and that is where we need to get this balance in a better place, and i think we'll actually be much more effective prosecuting terrorists if we take all of our resources and focus them like a laser on the people who are actually the problem here. >> there are many americans who don't consider themselves as you say, connected to terrorists at all. but unti untin tensionally in tr lives they have spoken to people or associated with people in the places they live in the places they work and the places they study, who have spoken to somebody who has spoken to somebody who has spoken to
somebody and suddenly they are caught up in that same net because of the kind zonessal digging that this date collection does, how do you get it right? how do you make the balance between people who are, in fact, as you suggest, unwetting and people who are associates? >> you have to be able to investigate and move quickly. the war end process has served us well for hundreds of years, need to be faster but there needs to be that level of suspicion before the government starts to surveillance innocent americans and certainly the government shouldn't be holding data on millions of american citizens. i think the potential there for abuse is just too great. >> can we indemnify the companies collect this is data on behalf of the united states. they are worried in part in the
government says we are not holding it, you hold onto it in case we need it. that people that want to bring lawsuits will come after them. >> i think the issue of how we hold the data is really an engineering problem. something that is fairly straightforward to solve. there are a number of ways we can approach that. but the important thing is most americans today don't think that the government should be holding vast amounts of data about them. if there is no cloud of suspicion over them. and the american people, including my constituents back in new mexico, they understand that something is out of balance here. and they expect us to do something about it. and they expect us to be effective at preventing and prosecuting terrorism which it occurs. i think we can do both of those things. i just don't think we have gotten the balance right in the last few years. >> let's talk a little bit more about balance. because from left, right, and center over the last couple of
weeks you have heard about a need to greater transparent at this. but when you talk to people in the intelligence establishment they are kind of allergic to transparency because it comprises the techniques and approaches they use for watching people and for connecting the dots as we were told we weren't very good at about a decade ago. how do you get transparency without showing too much? >> well, i think you need to base the legislation on certain principles, make sure that we stay true to the constitutional principles that were articulateed in the fourth amendment and stay away from describing sources and methods, that's something that we have to do in our oversight of the intelligence community each and every day. it's not easy. but it's necessary in a democracy. we have hundreds of thousands of people who work in the intelligence community in this country, they are fantastic employees they do great things for this country.
but these issues need to be decided on a policy basis, i think the leadership has -- has really gone too far in terms of thinking that everything out there associated with with an innocent american's use of their cell phone is fair game. i tried to pass an amendment in the intelligence committee scaring it was prohibited for us using the locational data associated with your cell phone and yet that was turned down. most americans look at that and say, are you turning my cell phone in to a tracking device. i think we just need make a course correction here. and make sure that we focus on the places where we can really make a difference and get to terrorists before they can commit terrorist acts. >> would it help if you and the president and people who are involved in data collection did a better job of talking to the public about the whys and the hows of these surveillance techniques? rather than turning it in to a
binary question, do we watch -- do we not watch. do we collect, do we not collect. talk a little bit more to the public so that the public can make an informed choice about what needs to be done and what really keeps them safe and what doesn't. >> i think we need to have a transparent conversation about what is -- what the principles are that guide these policies. i think it's very difficult when you get in to sources and methods that tends to compromise our ability to do the necessary surveillance that we have to do of very real terrorists. and so i think that we can write legislation that stays true to our constitutional principles that protects our liberties and our security, but doesn't show our enemies the sources and methods that we use to protect the american people. >> senator, thanks for joining us from capitol hill. >> it was my pleasure. >> we are going take a short break and when we come back, we are going take you inside the
♪ ♪ welcome back to "inside story." i am ray suarez. in reports to the president on the nsa called liberty and security in a changing world, a review group issued 46 recommendations, tomorrow we'll find out which ones the president says he'll act on. and joining us now in the studio is jeffrey stone from the university of chicago school of law. professor stone was one of five members of the review group that wrote the report, great to have you with us. >> thanks for inviting me ray. great to see. >> you was this tougher than you had expected getting in to it? >> it was extremely tough. i spent basically three days every week in d.c. and we were in a secure facility. because we all had top secret security. we were meeting 10, 12 hours a day even when i was back in chicago the only time i could work on it was in the fbi secure facility so i couldn't work it on at home or in the office so it was very tough. very demanding.
i learned a tremendous. a great experience. >> a lawyer you familiar with the reasonable person stand standard and how in law we sometimes talk about this theoretical person when they look at a situation and what their common sense reaction would be. did you try to bring that head to looking at the work of our nation's security apparatus? >> absolutely. but part what have made this experience i think both so personally rewarding, but also i think so valuable, is that the president appointed five people with very different background, very different experiences, very different bases of expertise, different values and threw us together without a chair and said independent think about this, be rigorous, tell me what you guys think. and when it began, i have to say, i mean, given the fact that some of these people like mike who was former acting director of the cia and richard clark, former member of the national security council and i am a member of the acau national
advisory council, this isn't going to work. we are so far apart. and what was amaze big this experience is that we worked hard together. talked to each other, developed a respect for one another and were you man news in every one of our 46 recommendations and i never thoughted be possible. >> famously barack obama who you have known for a long time when he was just a new candidate said it was a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide. since then, since he's now at the dashboard he as some different views about it. did you find yourself calling in to question some of your own cherished beliefs in these questions? >> i wouldn't put it that way. i learned a great deal than i didn't know before. reflect that go through my values and understandings i changed my views on some things, as all of us did. because it was a great learning
experience. and both in terms of learning information, hearing from, you know, european union, hearing from the head of the nsa, cia. fbi. senate and house intelligence committees, verizon and google and wide range of views, and taking that all in, meant you had a much richer, deeper picture. so i don't think it changed my fundamental views but changed how those views applied in this very complicated world. >> what are the main take aways for a public that frankly isn't going to read the 300 pages, what are the main things that they should understand about what you would like the nsa to do? >> first of you all it's a good read and i highly recommend it? >> actually it is a good read. >> i think the main things to take away are that, number one, there are real threats out there. and the nsa and other components of the intelligent community protect this in a very real way and we should not take it for granted. it's critical. number two, i would say it's
important for people to understand that the nsa is not a rogue agency. it's not acting illegally it's not like the 960 1/9/60s and '70s if there is a fault there it is in the authorities given and the way they have been structured not with the nsa's implementation of them. that surprised me. it was counterintuitive to me but i came way completely convinced of that. number three, the authorities as they have evolved need to be revised. that's what has happened overtime is that we have given a little more focus to the attention of keeping the nation safe and not adequate focus to the questions of restraining how we do that in ways that don't unduly trample on civil liberties and on rights of privacy. what our report basically says is we can keep the nation safe and do it in way that's much
more respectively of our cull tulle. it's possible to do and something we have to do. >> professor stone we are going toying a short break when we come back we'll delve in to the new world of tech nailing and how it comply came and makes more powerful the role of surveillance in a modern state. you are watching "inside story." of the rain forrest >> we haven't seen something actually build them... >> it's been really frustrating >> it's a spidery clue that has our team of scientests stumped... join our journey to peru... then, it looks like chicken, tastes like chicken, >> that's good.... >> but it's not... the foamy inovation that's making hardcore meat eaters happy. >> techknow on al jazeera america
daunting. it's in longer one guy listening to one phone being tapped in a conversation between two people. it's machines that can vacuum up pill i don't knows of pieces and of data and sometimes you don't know what you have. >> the complications are on both sides. on the one hand those people that would do us harm has access to that technology and facilitates profoundly their ability to communicate with one other in ways that are impossible historically. that's one side of it the. other side is the capacity to up tried a privacy is enormous. if you take the simple example of gps location, so in the past if the polight wanted to follow you they had to have somebody follow you, that's inning inning efficient, takes dim, it's difficult and you don't do it. gps allows the government to follow all of us all the time. a critical goal should be to preserve a core of prove reu sim
what arprivacysimilar to that oe contusion. we have to rein in technology to assure it serves our end but doesn't destroy spry seu. >> nice to hear geoff stone site samuel. >> i did intentionally. >> if the president as is said is zeroing in on a few of your many proposals, what you guide him to the most important things that you would like to see done as a result of your work? >> no my view the most important ones are ending the government's possession of the telephone metta data. as the accept tour said earlier i think that's absolutely critical to strike that balance between using the data in ways in which are appropriate but preventing the kind of abuse that could be disastrous, i think that's number one. number two, i think is the need for greater judicial involvement
in some of the activities of these agencies. they are now given authorities to do things without a judicial order. and we feel very strongly that getting a jew additiona judicias critical k search warrants need to be brought in to this field as well. in you can three is transparency and accountability. to the extent things need to be classified, they need to be classified. but an awful lot today is kept off the table out of pub lil' pc discourse which can be brought in to the public discourse. >> can the public advocate be made to work? a lot of miss givings have been expressed publicly about that proposal? >> this is simple, it's straightforward, it's uncomplicated and it's sensual. fundamentally our legal system is a system of sad a ahead reu r yell presentations of arguments. the fisa court doesn't have that. occasionally they decide a question of a considerable moment on which you need both sides presented and there has to be a civil rights privacy
advocate in there making the argument on the other side of the government. that's sea essential. >> thanks for joining me. >> my pleasure. >> we'll be covering the president's nsa speech and have more on the collect "inside story." al jazerra america's the stream is also covering the story and on their program tonight they'll be joined by journalist glen greenwald as a special gift. you'll remember he is the journalist that broke the edward snow 10 story. you can join the conversation and send questions to glen green what walled at #andgreenwaldt. that brings us to the end of this edition of "inside story." thanks for being with us. in washington, i am ray suarez. ♪ ♪