Opinion: We need transparency on domestic spying
July 23rd, 2013
09:44 AM ET

Opinion: We need transparency on domestic spying

By Al Franken, Special to CNN

Last month, when Edward Snowden began leaking highly classified documents to the press, many Americans were shocked by what they read.

I don't blame them. For years, the architecture of the programs designed to keep us safe have been a secret to all but a few members of the intelligence community and select legislators. The companies that were involved in these programs were under strict gag orders. And while members of Congress had the opportunity to be briefed on these programs, it would have been a crime, literally, for us to have talked about them publicly.

As a result, when Snowden's leaks became public, Americans had no way of knowing the scope of these programs, their privacy protections and the legal authorities they were operating under. It was just Snowden and his documents on the one side and the government on the other, saying "trust us."

Editor's note: Al Franken represents Minnesota in the U.S. Senate and is a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party.

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Filed under: Edward Snowden • Edward Snowden • NSA • Opinion • PRISM
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      Capitalism depends upon capital. When nobody in the world had money we sold consumer products,albeit with cheap loans, to ourselves. Now the rest of the world has money, and we don't have so much, where do you think we make and sell our products now. By the way, Capitalism knows no borders or nationalities.

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  30. Portland tony

    Whose friggin opinion? “We need transparency on domestic spying’. Then it wouldn't be spying would it......Jeez?

    July 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  31. franklovesfl

    "We need transparency on domestic spying' - how ludicrous. How can you spy if you tell everyone how and where you are spying? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of spying? Isn't that the opposite of spying?

    Why don't we just ask everyone if they are an enemy of the state? If we ask NICELY they we tell us, won't they????

    July 23, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  32. Chet

    Charge Clapper with perjury if you are interested in transparency. Failing to charge Clapper sends the message that it is OK to lie under oath to Congress and the American public. There can never be transparency when these agencies are permitted to lie under oath to Congress and the American public.

    July 23, 2013 at 11:53 am | Reply
  33. Navyvet8192

    Transparency is the one thing that this government will never allow. You can't have common folk running around with actual knowledge like that. Common folks can't be trusted with that kind of knowledge. The government needs to control what information you get exposed to, to keep you safe and secure. The government has to protect you not only from "Them",... but from yourselves too. They'll decide what you really need to know, and they will funnel it through the appropriate channels and news outlets. So rest easy,... You already know what you need to know.

    July 23, 2013 at 11:45 am | Reply
  34. Jeff Burdick

    Isn't the irony too laughable? The NSA considers Snowden a traitor for violating their privacy, and most Americans consider him a whistleblower for exposing NSA violations of our privacy. So happy one-month birthday at the Moscow Airport Edward to Snowden!! Is perhaps your grand plan to digitize yourself Tron-style to escape this Putin spring trap? Here's a spoof news story on how that could possible work. Very funny: http://bit.ly/17AWDSL

    July 23, 2013 at 10:45 am | Reply
  35. California

    This administration is the most ANTI-transparent administration in history.

    July 23, 2013 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • George patton

      Quite true California, quite true. Another promise Obama reneged on in his 2008 Presidential campaign like so many others!!!

      July 23, 2013 at 10:43 am | Reply

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