SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The National Security Agency may soon reveal more details of its secret surveillance program following word from tech giants about the number of user data requests by the government, according to the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the NSA will release on Monday a list of specific terrorist attacks foiled by its PRISM secret surveillance program. Last week, NSA Director Keith Alexander told a Senate panel that caution needed to be taken on what information is released.
Following last Friday’s disclosure by Facebook that it received up to 10,000 requests for user data during the second half of 2012, Apple said it received it received up to 5,000 requests. The companies however were not permitted to disclose which government agencies were requesting that data.
“I do think it’s important that we get this right and I want the American people to know we are trying to be transparent here, protect civil liberties and privacy but also the security of this country,” he said.
Christopher Swift, adjunct professor of national security at Georgetown University, said the public shouldn’t just focus the number of plots the PRISM program has thwarted.
“When Americans look at this issue, they should be looking at whether it’s legal, whether it’s effective and whether it’s wise. And if two of those questions are ‘yes’ ore if three of those questions are ‘yes,’ I think we are in safe space,” he said. “But if one of those questions is ‘no’ or two of those questions are ‘no,’ then we definitely have a need for national involvement and greater congressional oversight.”
Google, so far, has not released any information on raw data grabs by the government. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company questioned the value of such disclosures without the government to release more details on classified requests.
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