Terror Threat Shakes Up NSA Debate, Unites Some Lawmakers

A checkpoint leading to the closed U.S. embassy compound in the Yemeni capital Saana on Saturday. Mohammed Huwais /AFP/Getty Images

A checkpoint leading to the closed U.S. embassy compound in the Yemeni capital Saana on Saturday. Mohammed Huwais /AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration’s weekend decision to close diplomatic posts from Central Asia through the Middle East and into North Africa has led to applause from “rattled lawmakers in both parties,” The Washington Post writes.

They’re praising the administration’s response to what lawmakers say is some of the most serious intelligence since before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that terrorists are planning strikes — most likely in the regions where diplomatic posts were closed, but possibly elsewhere.

“The administration’s call to close these embassies … was actually a very smart call,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said on CBS-TV’s Face the Nation.

“It’s a very credible threat, and it’s based on intelligence,” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., said on ABC-TV’s This Week. “What we have to do now is the most important issue, is protect Americans throughout the world.”

As we reported Sunday, the State Department has extended the closings, through next Saturday, at 19 locations: Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Sanaa, Tripoli, Antanarivo, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Khartoum, Kigali and Port Louis. Posts in nine locations were to reopen Monday. They are: Dhaka, Algiers, Nouakchott, Kabul, Herat, Mazar el Sharif, Baghdad, Basrah and Erbil.

The terror threat has not only brought together some lawmakers, it has also affected the discussion about National Security Agency surveillance programs.

On Monday, NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston noted that after weeks of debate on Capitol Hill about whether National Security Agency surveillance programs should be curbed — debate sparked by the secrets spilled by “NSA leaker” Edward Snowden — “the subject has changed 180 degrees” to a discussion of how effective the programs may be.

As The Hill writes, the “weekend terror threat … has opened up a new front in the debate over the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs. A handful of lawmakers – most of them long-time national security hawks — took to the Sunday news shows to declare the NSA programs a success, and credit the controversial surveillance methods, first uncovered when former contractor Edward Snowden divulged details to The Guardian, as directly responsible for uncovering a potential terrorist attack.”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Read original article
Terror Threat Shakes Up NSA Debate, Unites Some Lawmakers

Recent headlines

  • Computer problems for some - extended coffee break for others: Some employees of the Dept. of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Financial Services Division in the State Office Building in Juneau drink coffee near their disabled computers March 22, 2017. The workers, who chose to not be identified, said that some computers were working while others were not as a result of a statewide technical problem within the state's system. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

    Software update locks thousands of state workers out of computers

    Roughly 6,000 state workers were unable to log in to their computers, affecting two in five executive branch workers.
  • The top of the Raven Shark totem pole lies in Totem Hall at Sitka National Historical Park. (Photo by Emily Russell/KCAW)

    After 30 years, Raven Shark pole back in Sitka

    The totem pole is an icon of the Pacific Northwest. The carved art form showcases clan stories and family crests in museums around the world. After more than 30 years in the Anchorage Museum, a century-old pole from Southeast has made it back to Sitka, where curators are prepping a permanent home.
  • Longtime leader Rosita Worl to leave Sealaska board

    One of the Sealaska regional Native corporation’s longest-serving leaders is stepping down. Rosita Worl says she will not run for another term after 30 years on the board.
  • U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaks to reporters in one of the Senate’s more ornate rooms. (Photo by Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

    Murkowski at odds with Trump’s call to end NEA funding

    President Donald Trump’s budget outline calls for eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA has been a frequent target of Republicans, but U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski supports the endowment, and Tuesday she won the 2017 Congressional Arts Leadership Award.
X