The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

November 4, 2013

EDITORIALS: NSA's embarrassment; Anti-smoking laws

NSA's intelligence gathering is not very smart

New Castle, Pa., News

It’s hardly a secret that nations gather intelligence on each other. That’s true of friends and adversaries. No matter how close nations are, they have competing interests. Even intelligence gathered among friends is useful in developing strategies in key areas.

But intelligence gathering takes various forms. It can involve combing through official testimony, picking up gossip at cocktail parties and, it seems, listening to the cellphone conversations of other world leaders.

European nations are in an uproar over reports that the U.S. National Security Agency monitored the cellphone conversations of various leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It seems that Merkel’s cellphone was tapped for years, until the activity was halted earlier this year.

The embarrassing revelations are among the leaks from Edward Snowden, a former employee of an NSA contractor now living in Russia. Information that Snowden obtained from the U.S. government has been seeping out, revealing a vast intelligence gathering system by the NSA that gobbles up data from cellphones, email accounts and other sources.

Despite the NSA's repeated assurances of privacy, Americans simply do not know how extensive its data mining efforts are. Every time we turn around, we learn its reach is far broader than was let on previously.

Some NSA defenders argue that spying among countries is to be expected. But what would be their reaction if a European ally was caught tapping the phones of President Obama and congressional leaders?

Espionage is a reality, but a risk/benefit assessment of monitoring the cellphone of Germany’s chancellor would suggest that it’s something to avoid. After all, we doubt that Merkel is part of a terrorist cell.

Does the protection of America’s security demand that her conversations be monitored? Anyone who answers "yes" should consider what’s happening now. As a result, European nations are debating a suspension of  intelligence agreements with the United States. They worry that the NSA is seeking economic data to give America a trade advantage, using claims of anti-terror concerns as a cover.

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Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • D.G. Martin Read others’ views to be better informed, decide for yourself

    “I don’t read The Washington Post. That is not where I get my ideas.”

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon This isn’t medical marijuana

    As state legislators debated allowing the use of an extract from marijuana plants to treat seizure disorders over the past couple of weeks, it was evident that social conservatives – there are many of them in the General Assembly – felt a tinge of unease about it, even as almost every one of them voted yes.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • We need your help

    Hurray for the Albemarle City Council. Council plans to battle N.C. Department of Transportation’s ranking of all 13 projects in Stanly County to the bottom of their priority list. Council is setting up petitions in various city buildings for citizens to sign.

    July 28, 2014

  • Council asks veterans to seek office

    The terms of office for the leaders of the Stanly County Veterans Council ended June 30. A call is being sent to veterans council members requesting candidates for the four elective offices of the council. A meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the DAV building. All council members are urged to attend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Mike Walden The gains and gaps in our economy

    Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

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