William Safire: A way to balance liberty and security

Must Americans wait until intrusive general searches mushroom into scandal, weakening America’s ability to collect information that saves lives? Congress should debate this Pentagon report, exercising foresight, rather than years from now, in the high dudgeon of hindsight.

So says William Safire of this recently released Pentagon report. I’ll have a look round the net for it. As for Safire, he seems to favour more wiretaps and surveillance, I just wonder whether it will do any good. Is not al-Qaeda well versed in encrypting documents, and using various simple, but highly effective techniques to avoid surveillance?






3 responses to “William Safire: A way to balance liberty and security”

  1. Dick O'Brien avatar

    Actually, a lot of what’s been alleged about al Qaeda’s electronic communications has yet to be proven. For example, allegations about its use of steganography (hiding coded messages inside pictures etc.) were widespread, yet no evidence was ever found of it. In fact, most of the time, the group seems to be very lo-tech, with those involved in Sept 11th sending email from public libraries using services such as hotmail.

  2. Gavin avatar

    I read several articles, and seen some programmes, that talked about the use pre-sep11 of PGP and other encryption techniques, in emails and internet chat rooms –

    Perhaps since Sep 11, as surveillance has increased, they will be forced to use encryption methods more often – and may prove to make surveillance all the more difficult

  3. Dick O'Brien avatar

    Well, the stuff about hotmail and public libraries came from the FBI investigation following Sept 11th.

    Using something like hotmail isn’t as idiotic as it sounds. With the amount of traffic going through big services like this, it might be very easy to get lost in the crowd. It leaves law enforcement agencies having to track individuals and their use of particular machines.