Blogs: Paul Pillar

The Latest on Non-Nefarious Iranian Behavior

Tribal Beliefs and American Political Parties

Safeguarding Privacy, Inside and Outside Government

Paul Pillar

As someone who once worked in places elsewhere in the intelligence community that used NSA's product, including using that product to monitor and analyze international terrorism, I can appreciate how the procedures for minimizing information having anything to do with U.S. persons can sometimes involve hassles. Maintaining the current procedures is not an insult to intelligence officers outside NSA. NSA really is the expert on such matters. Respect for the right balance between privacy and security is worth a few hassles for those who work in the other agencies.

The senior administration officials who will make final decisions on this subject should consider carefully not only direct effects on privacy but also the possible indirect effects of their decisions on larger debates about what the government should and should not be allowed to collect. If they fail to consider those effects, they risk seeing changes that are intended to give government analysts more to work with, including in finding the next terrorist, becoming counterproductive by strengthening the case of those who want to give the analysts less to work with.

Paul R. Pillar is a contributing editor to the National Interest. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a nonresident senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/National Security Agency. 

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Building on the Syrian Truce

Paul Pillar

As someone who once worked in places elsewhere in the intelligence community that used NSA's product, including using that product to monitor and analyze international terrorism, I can appreciate how the procedures for minimizing information having anything to do with U.S. persons can sometimes involve hassles. Maintaining the current procedures is not an insult to intelligence officers outside NSA. NSA really is the expert on such matters. Respect for the right balance between privacy and security is worth a few hassles for those who work in the other agencies.

The senior administration officials who will make final decisions on this subject should consider carefully not only direct effects on privacy but also the possible indirect effects of their decisions on larger debates about what the government should and should not be allowed to collect. If they fail to consider those effects, they risk seeing changes that are intended to give government analysts more to work with, including in finding the next terrorist, becoming counterproductive by strengthening the case of those who want to give the analysts less to work with.

Paul R. Pillar is a contributing editor to the National Interest. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a nonresident senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/National Security Agency. 

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Foreign Policy and Presidential Politics as a Team Sport

Paul Pillar

As someone who once worked in places elsewhere in the intelligence community that used NSA's product, including using that product to monitor and analyze international terrorism, I can appreciate how the procedures for minimizing information having anything to do with U.S. persons can sometimes involve hassles. Maintaining the current procedures is not an insult to intelligence officers outside NSA. NSA really is the expert on such matters. Respect for the right balance between privacy and security is worth a few hassles for those who work in the other agencies.

The senior administration officials who will make final decisions on this subject should consider carefully not only direct effects on privacy but also the possible indirect effects of their decisions on larger debates about what the government should and should not be allowed to collect. If they fail to consider those effects, they risk seeing changes that are intended to give government analysts more to work with, including in finding the next terrorist, becoming counterproductive by strengthening the case of those who want to give the analysts less to work with.

Paul R. Pillar is a contributing editor to the National Interest. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a nonresident senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/National Security Agency. 

Pages

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