Episode #59

This NSA spying stuff: why it matters. A lot.

The fight against PRISM has begun.
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The NSA vs the ACLU: one side knows everything. The other has read the Constitution very carefully. Winner gets bragging rights. And shapes the course of history.

On today's show, we interview the ACLU's Ben Wizner about his organization's new lawsuit, launched just a few hours before the interview, demanding that the Obama administration bring its surveillance practices in line with the law and the Constitution. Then we talk to Margot Kaminski of Yale Law School, pulling back the lens to look at the broader fight—from the courts to Congress to corporate America. 

If you're not fired up yet, listen to this episode to understand the stakes. And if you're fired up and ready to go, but don't know how to help, tune in to find out how to join the fight.

Originally posted on June 12, 2013

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Show Notes

Whew. There's a lot to cover here, so let's get cracking.

  • For some interesting background reading, past guest Irin Carmon has a great article in Slate on the role documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras played in the NSA leaks. She worked with Glenn Greenwald to produce the now-famous interview with Edward Snowden, and it's well worth a read.



  • The original NSA slides on PRISM have to be seen to be believed. Breathtakingly broad–and breathtakingly ugly. Naturally, one wag has already offered to redesign them.

  • The ACLU is stepping in and personally filing suit against the Obama administration. Past lawsuits have largely been dismissed on procedural grounds: the program was classified, and the plaintiffs (like the ACLU) therefore weren't able to prove they were harmed. That all changed.

  • Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), accompanied by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mark Begich (D-AK), Al Franken (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), have introduced a bill to declassify important FISA court decisions–an important step.

  • This may come as a surprise to some of you, but the NSA's PRISM has come clean with a public Twitter account. Pretty chilling stuff:



  • There's a WhiteHouse.gov petition you can sign to urge the Obama administration to pardon Edward Snowden, the source of the leaks. If you think the United States is stronger for this leak, please consider signing it.

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