CIA, FBI Launch Opportunistic Call to Expand Surveillance After Paris Attacks

Posted Nov. 25, 2015

MP3 Interview with Nate Cardozo, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, conducted by Scott Harris


After the tragic terrorist attacks that killed scores of Parisians across the City of Light, there have been calls by some U.S. politicians, government officials and conservative pundits to reverse reforms that have recently been enacted to rein in America’s mass surveillance programs initiated under the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act. CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey and New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton have been critical of the reforms initiated after former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed to the world the extent of warrantless surveillance targeting millions of Americans.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has introduced legislation that would delay implementation of restrictions on bulk collection of phone metadata that were included in the USA Freedom Act passed with overwhelming bipartisan support last June. Under that legislation, the government’s authority to collect telephone metadata will end this year on Nov. 29.

Another area of controversy that's come into focus after the Paris attacks is the easy access consumers now have to encryption programs from companies including Apple and Google. Law enforcement officials want these companies to build in a back door to their programs that would allow intelligence agencies to decode encrypted messages. But critics contend that such a back door would make those devices and software more vulnerable to hacking by criminals and spies. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Nate Cardozo, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who criticizes officials now calling for expanded surveillance in the aftermath of the Paris attacks as "cynical politics at their absolute worst."

For more information, visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation at

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