Last night’s Munk Debate on “be it resolved state surveillance is a legitimate defense of our freedoms” did not see drones circling above Toronto, Canada. With one possible exception, no heated fight between Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and former constutional lawyer now blogger at The Intercept, Glenn Geenwald. As expected, former CIA Director Michael Hayden made a fool of himself by frankly denying that there is mass surveillance by NSA, and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian remained colorless.
Dershowitz’s insistence on motives, or lack thereof, for mass surveillance was probably one of the more intelligent attempts to answer the above question with “yes”. He, as expected too, challenged Greenwald who made the point that the terror attacks of 9-11 were the pretext not only for state mass surveilance a decade later. But also invading and destroying Iraq, putting people in prison without charges, torture them in Guantanamo, and to spy on everybody’s email and telephone calls was or is a pretext, not motive, to prevent terrorism. “Collect it all, sniff it all, know it all, process it all, exploit it all,” as can be found verbatim in NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden (who made a short appearance as a preproduced video snippet was brought in, and published by Greenwald. But that has actually not prevented a single case of terrorism, based on official assessments.
“NSA’s collect it all doesn’t mean they collect it all, trust me! ,” Michael Hayden’s final appeal. Con won with a 4% margin change, 59 vs. 41%.3 May 2014 @ 6:52 pm. Last modified May 3, 2014.
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