米情報機関改革 「盗聴」で問われた監視体制

The Yomiuri Shimbun January 23, 2014
U.S. surveillance system questioned as a result of widespread wiretapping
米情報機関改革 「盗聴」で問われた監視体制(1月23日付・読売社説)

How should national security and privacy protection be made compatible with each other? The effectiveness of the U.S. intelligence and surveillance system is being questioned.

U.S. President Barack Obama has recently announced a reform plan for his country’s intelligence gathering activities by the National Security Agency.

The plan includes policies of reinforcing oversight of intelligence collection, enhancing the transparency of such activities, and of not wiretapping, in principle, the phones of leaders of nations that are U.S. allies and friends.

The NSA’s primary duties are to monitor telecommunication data. As a result of classified U.S. documents being taken by a former Central Intelligence Agency employee, however, the NSA was revealed to be involved in widespread bugging and the collection of a vast amount of phone and Internet data. This has drawn strong criticism both at home and abroad.

The revelations of the collection of phone and e-mail data from leaders of foreign countries, including U.S. allies such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have developed into a diplomatic issue.

The latest reforms spelled out by Obama are reasonable for Washington to recover the trust of the international community.

Needless to say, the discontinuation of U.S. intelligence collection from foreign leaders does not mean they will no longer be monitored by foreign intelligence. Allied nations are required to establish their own counterespionage system.

The vast amount of phone data collected within the United States and kept by the NSA included records of telephone numbers and the dates of phone conversations. Lawsuits have already been filed by people who claim the U.S. intelligence program collecting phone data from U.S. citizens was excessive.

Wiretapping to continue

It was reasonable of Obama to unveil a policy of not having phone conversation data kept within the government and instead commissioning it to an outside organization to prevent the collected data from being abused.

On the other hand, Obama has made clear that wiretapping activities will continue as part of the NSA’s intelligence activities.

It cannot be denied that wiretapping has become more important in preventing terrorism and cyberattacks since the terror attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Obama should be praised for making clear his determination to continue U.S. intelligence activities, if only with certain rules established for privacy protection.

The massive data collected by the U.S. intelligence organizations also contributes to the national security of foreign countries.

The future task for U.S. intelligence organizations, such as the NSA, could be the prevention of such incidents as the leakage of classified documents by the former CIA employee, which prompted the Obama administration to reform the intelligence program in the first place.

Some people in the United States say the former CIA employee should be treated as a whistle-blower, rather than a criminal. It should be reviewed whether there are weaknesses in the U.S. intelligence and security system itself.

Japan, which exchanges information with U.S. intelligence organizations, also needs to protect top secret data. The development of a relevant framework under the special state secret protection law should be the first step forward to that end.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 23, 2014)
(2014年1月23日01時52分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2014-01-25 07:49 | 英字新聞

<< シリア国際会議 和平への道筋は... 「ギョーザ」判決 中国産食品の... >>