NSA Leak: Massive Government Surveillance Condemned as Unconstitutional and Threat to a Free Society

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Posted June 12, 2013

Interview with Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, conducted by Scott Harris


Revelations about the U.S. government’s covert surveillance apparatus has been the focus of attention in American media and the around world since the British Guardian newspaper and the Washington Post released previously unknown details of the massive collection of phone and Internet communications. The disclosure of this top secret information, sent to Guardian journalist and civil liberties advocate Glenn Greenwald, was made by Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and recent employee of the government defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

It was Greenwald who first broke the story about the National Security Agency’s program that secretly collects phone data from millions of Verizon customers. The Guardian published an order by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court which granted the government unlimited authority to obtain the data of phone calls made within the U.S. and between the US and nations abroad for a three-month period. Through information provided by Snowden, a second story soon broke detailing the NSA’s Prism program, which collects data directly from the servers of the nation’s nine largest Internet companies, including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Facebook.

Obama administration officials and legislators serving on congressional intelligence committees, assure the public that the government’s data mining programs are legal, subject to checks and balances and necessary to prevent future terrorist attacks on America. But critics declare that President Obama has institutionalized the worst aspects of President Bush’s warrantless surveillance program, with little meaningful oversight and open to serious abuse. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, who explains her alarm and opposition to the government's massive domestic spying program.

Heidi Boghosian is author of the book, “Spying on Democracy.” Find more information on the National Lawyers Guild at NLG.org.

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