Everyone Is Happy About the Surveillance Debate

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Here is James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, talking about the disclosure of NSA surveillance programs by Edward Snowden:

I think it’s clear that some of the conversations this has generated, some of the debate, actually needed to happen.

And here is FISA judge Dennis Saylor, ordering the government to conduct a declassification review of court rulings related to the NSA’s phone records program:

The unauthorized disclosure in June 2013 of a Section 215 order, and government statements in response to that disclosure, have engendered considerable public interest and debate about Section 215. Publication of FISC opinions relating to this provision would contribute to an informed debate….Publication would also assure citizens of the integrity of this Court’s proceedings.

And, of course, here is President Obama shortly after the first Snowden disclosures:

I welcome this debate. And I think it’s healthy for our democracy.

It’s unanimous! Everyone thinks that Snowden’s disclosures have generated a useful and much needed debate. So when do we actually get to have this debate?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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