Revelations this week that the National Security Agency has been running an extensive domestic surveillance program involving companies like Google, Facebook and Apple has caused many Americans to ask what's left of their privacy. Guest host Tess Vigeland speaks with James Fallows, national correspondent with The Atlantic.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Saturday said media reporting this week about government surveillance activities amounted to "reckless disclosures" that could hand terrorists a playbook to foil detection.
He said the surveillance measures are legal and said the reporting lacked full context:
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The news that the National Security Agency is collecting reams of telephone data and tracking Internet behavior has alarmed civil liberties groups. President Obama believes U.S. citizens have no need to worry.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: One of the things that we're going to have to discuss and debate is how are we striking this balance between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about privacy, because there are some tradeoffs involved.
Even in an era of stark political polarization, there are still some issues that can draw Americans together and scramble the normal ideological fault lines.
Recent revelations about the Internal Revenue Service and the National Security Agency are among them.
Unlike the debates over Obamacare or President Obama himself, which tend to be more litmus tests for party affiliation than anything else, the reactions to reports about overreach by the Internal Revenue Service and the National Security Agency have brought normally warring partisans together.