The Instigator
charliel
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Thyanchor
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

the benefits of domestic surveillance conducted by the nsa outweigh the harms

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/30/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,220 times Debate No: 39701
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (0)

 

charliel

Con

NEG
NSA. The national security agency"s goal is to protect our country from both foreign and domestic threats. They have been doing this through hacking, and snooping on emails, text messages, phone calls, and computer searches.
Resolved: The benefits of domestic surveillance by the NSA outweigh the harms.
My partner and I strongly negate the resolution for the following reasons:
Contention 1: The NSA is a waste of money.
The cumulative increase in expenditures on US domestic homeland security over the decade since 9/11 exceeds one trillion dollars. It is clearly time to examine these massive expenditures applying risk assessment and cost-benefit approaches that have been standard for decades. Thus far, officials do not seem to have done so and have engaged in various forms of probability neglect by focusing on worst case scenarios; adding, rather than multiplying, the probabilities; assessing relative, rather than absolute, risk; and inflating terrorist capacities and the importance of potential terrorist targets. We find that enhanced expenditures have been excessive: to be deemed cost-effective in analyses that substantially bias the consideration toward the opposite conclusion, they would have to deter, prevent, foil, or protect against 1,667 otherwise successful Times-Square type attacks per year, or more than four per day. Although there are emotional and political pressures on the terrorism issue, this does not relieve politicians and bureaucrats of the fundamental responsibility of informing the public of the limited risk that terrorism presents and of seeking to expend funds wisely. Moreover, political concerns may be over-wrought: restrained reaction has often proved to be entirely acceptable politically. http://themonkeycage.org... by JOHN SIDES
Contention 2: The NSA is not critical in helping stop terrorist threats. The head of the National Security Agency (NSA) admitted before a congressional committee this week that he lied back in June when he claimed the agency"s phone surveillance program had thwarted 54 terrorist "plots or events."
NSA Director Keith Alexander gave out the erroneous number while the Obama administration was defending its domestic spying operations exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. He said surveillance data collected that led to 53 of those 54 plots had provided the initial tips to "unravel the threat stream."
But Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Wednesday during a hearing on the continued oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that the administration was pushing incomplete or inaccurate statements about the bulk collection of phone records from communications providers.
"For example, we"ve heard over and over again that 54 terrorist plots have been thwarted by the use of (this program)," Leahy said. "That"s plainly wrong," adding: "These weren"t all plots and they weren"t all thwarted."
Alexander admitted that only 13 of the 54 cases were connected to the United States. He also told the committee that only one or two suspected plots were identified as a result of bulk phone record collection. http://thestateweekly.com... by Noel Brinkerhoff
Contention 3: The NSA violates first amendment rights.
The US government, with assistance from major telecommunications carriers including AT&T, has engaged in a massive illegal dragnet surveillance of domestic communications and communications records of millions of ordinary Americans since at least 2001. Since this was first reported on by the press and discovered by the public in late 2005, EFF has been at the forefront of the effort to stop it and bring government surveillance programs back within the law and the Constitution Also in July, 2013, EFF filed another lawsuit, First Unitarian v. NSA, based on the recently published FISA court order demanding Verizon turn over all customer phone records including who is talking to whom, when and for how long " to the NSA. This so-called "metadata," especially when collected in bulk and aggregated, allows the government to track the associations of various political and religious organizations. The Director of National Intelligence has since confirmed that the collection of Verizon call records is part of a broader program. In addition to making the same arguments we made in Jewel, we argue in Unitarian First Unitarian v. NSA that this type of collection violates the First Amendment right to association. https://www.eff.org...
Thyanchor

Pro

I accept the challenge.

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I strongly stand on the affirmation of the resolved—The benefits of domestic surveillance by the NSA outweigh the harms.

In order to clarify the round, we offer the following framework: The government exists to protect and maximize the social welfare of the governed. As such, the resolution should be evaluated based upon the success of the government’s attempt to maximize the welfare of society as a whole. Moreover, to best evaluate this standard you should prefer real world impacts to theoretical or hypothetical ones because it allows us to actually compare the benefits and costs.

Contention 1: With a real treat such as terrorism, the NSA is necessary in order to increase United States security.
Where the citizens of the United States live in a world where they are always threatened by terrorism, whether they know it or not, they must be able to rely on the government and government programs as an source for security. Steve Emerson, on August 15, 2013, explain the actuality of the threat of terrorism. "In 2004, captured Al-Qaeda operative, Sharif al-Masri told interrogators that Al-Qaeda seeks to acquire nuclear materials in Europe and move them to Mexico, and from there, across the border into the United States...the Obama Administration is on record as stating that Al-Qaeda continues to try to acquire nuclear weapons technology and know-how." When our citizens are put are risk, the United States government must always protect them to their greatest extent. In certain situations such as this one, security outweighs the need to the ultimate enforcement of rights. In 2006, Robert Bloom explains "the surveillance satisfies the Fourth Amendment and its requirement for reasonableness because the balance of the governmental interest in protecting against a terrorist attack outweighs the resulting intrusion on privacy interests." The NSA specifically makes it clear that they do not use surveillance domestically to target citizens, but to protect the privacy of them. As concluded by the Supreme Court, it is justifiable in these certain scenarios for rights to be infringed upon. This way, this is determined in the balancing test of government interest and personal intrusion.

Contention 2: As we prove terrorism is a threat, the NSA aids in improving our security and preventing terrorism.
The NSA program cracks down on terrorism by tracing suspicious activity and communication related to these violent organizations. Although it may not be blatantly clear how much terrorism these programs have stopped, they certainly have served as a deterrent. Therefore, our privacy is protected, unless we are engaging with terrorists. Moreover, without pools of information about activity in the United States, we cannot connect foreign Intel to the intel on our homeland. Marc A. Thiessen, on June 10, 2013, explains that "If you want to connect the dots and stop the next attack, you need to have a "field of dots." That is what the NSA is collecting. But it doesn't dip into that field unless it comes up with a new "dot"—for example, a new terrorist phone number found on a cellphone captured in a raid. It will then plug that new "dot" into the "field of dots" to find out which dots are connected to the new number. If you are not communicating with that terrorist, your dot is not touched. But the NSA needs to have the entire field of dots so it can unravel the network connected to that terrorist." Therefore, the NSA needs this information from domestic surveillance and moreover, have even thwarted more than 50 incidents of potential terrorism. The Heritage Foundation explains on June 18, 2013, "more than 50 incidents of potential terrorism were stopped by the set of programs under scrutiny. They emphasized that they were working to declassify these incidents so they could be shared with the American people. Heritage research has noted 54 foiled terrorist plots since 9/11. Given that we know of only three that were not stopped by intelligence, this means that the NSA programs might well have played a significant role in thwarting dozens of uncovered plots. With this, terrorists know they can't communicate by phone and email now, making it harder to be a terrorist, while also acting as a deterrent to joining terrorist activity. Logically, the system works, and the reported results match up with disruptions in terrorist activities.

Contention 3: While it is shown true that security outweighs the need for rights, the morality of these actions extend.
Simply, there needs to be a balance between liberty and security. It is impossible to have absolute liberty or absolute security. Richard A. Epstein, on June 18, 2013, explains, "No amount of government ingenuity will guarantee the American people 100 percent security, 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience...answering a burst of more heated responses from left and right alike to the "news" that for years the National Security Agency has been collecting metadata about Americans' phone calls and certain foreign Internet communications." But, in the instance that you have absolute liberty, terrorism will be impossible to stop. Richard A. Epstein continues, "The question is: Are the means chosen reasonably adapted to the stated ends? Any effort to squelch all government abuse will result in a field day for terrorists and criminals. It is never easy to set the right balance of government power versus individual liberty given that we have to contend with two kinds of error—letting terrorists and criminals escape or infringing upon the rights of innocent individuals." Upsetting this balance will further disrupt the balance of justice in America. But on top of this, while the Con may argue that we infringe upon rights, however this is simply wrong. Roger Pilon explains, "In domestic and foreign affairs, the basic function of government is to protect our liberty, without unnecessarily violating that liberty in the process. The text of the Fourth Amendment grasps that essential trade-off by allowing searches, but not "unreasonable" ones." Therefore, when looking at this round, you need to understand that liberty violation is trivial compared to the national security benefit.

For those reasons, I urge a vote for the con side.
Thank you.
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~ThyAnchor
Debate Round No. 1
charliel

Con

I would like to start off my second round by referring to my opponents contentions.
In my opponents first contention, they stated that " Where the citizens of the United States live in a world where they are always threatened by terrorism, whether they know it or not, they must be able to rely on the government and government programs as an source for security." This is an unreasonable claim, because the government is not protecting Americans. An example of this is the Boston bombing on April 15, 2013. The NSA, and other parts of the government knew the Tsarnaev brothers had been in touch, and working with terrorist groups, however they did not stop the attack from happening. America should not put billions, if not trillions of dollars into a program that does not work.
Now i will focus on my opponents second contention they contention. I would like to point out that my opponent contradicts him/her self. They first stated "it may not be blatantly clear how much terrorism these programs have stopped,". they then went on claiming something drastically wrong in the same contention saying "Heritage research has noted 54 foiled terrorist plots since 9/11" This is false information that the Chief of the NSA Alexander lied about. I will now refer back to my contention 2 to prove i am right, and that 54 attacks have NOT BEEN FOILED BY THE NSA. In my second contention i said"NSA Director Keith Alexander gave out the erroneous number while the Obama administration was defending its domestic spying operations exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. He said surveillance data collected that led to 53 of those 54 plots had provided the initial tips to "unravel the threat stream."
But Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Wednesday during a hearing on the continued oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that the administration was pushing incomplete or inaccurate statements about the bulk collection of phone records from communications providers.
"For example, we"ve heard over and over again that 54 terrorist plots have been thwarted by the use of (this program)," Leahy said. "That"s plainly wrong," adding: "These weren"t all plots and they weren"t all thwarted."Alexander admitted that only 13 of the 54 cases were connected to the United States. He also told the committee that only one or two suspected plots were identified as a result of bulk phone record collection. http://thestateweekly.com...... by Noel Brinkerh." This proves that many of the points my opponent made were invalid, and his/her second contention proves nothing.
I will now move on and focus on my opponents third contention. They bring up the fact that ""In domestic and foreign affairs, the basic function of government is to protect our liberty, without unnecessarily violating that liberty in the process." This proves nothing because the resolution clearly states "the benefits of domestic surveillance conducted by the nsa outweigh the harms", not domestic and foreign, so this argument is invalid also.
However, i do agree with my opponenton their last statement. "For those reasons, I urge a vote for the con side."
Thyanchor

Pro

Thyanchor forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
charliel

Con

charliel forfeited this round.
Thyanchor

Pro

Sorry for my absence in the second round.

Opponent's First Contention
I do concede that the NSA is costs a large amount of money, HOWEVER this amount of money is completely reasonable. Since my opponent doesn't specify the amount of money in his case, we can't evaluate his entire contention. But, for the sake of amusement, I will provide a response for him. Simply, the NSA is still important in preventing attacks by helping to thwart terrorist plans. Eric Schmitt, from the Star Tribune, explain on September 29, 2013, "News reports in early August revealed that the United States intercepted messages between Ayman al-Zawahri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden as the head of Al-Qaida, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the head of the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, discussing an imminent terrorist attack" With this, you need to do a simple cost-benefit analysis. It could cost us billion of dollars to run the program, but how much assistance has it provided on the war on terror? Apparently, a lot. (Look at my third contention) There's simply no clear bright line as to how much they need to save the world from terrorism. Voting for the PRO in today's round will have guaranteed results with an extensive program that is preferable.

Opponent's Second Contention
Simply, cross apply my entire second contention with his. However, if you, the judge, need more information on my side, I will provide it. Logically, you can see that these terrorists know they can't communicate by phone and email now, making it harder to be a terrorist, while also acting as a deterrent to joining terrorist activity. However, the benefits of stopping terrorism doesn't only stay domestically. CBSNews, on June 15, 2013, explains , "Top U.S. intelligence officials said that information gleaned from two data-collection programs run by the National Security Agency thwarted potential terrorist plots in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries" This thwarting of terrorism goes on internationally, and sets the precedent there without even using the surveillance as much internationally.

Opponent's Third Contention
For this contention, you can simply cross apply my ENTIRE CASE with it. My first contention explains how it is constitutional due to weighing security over the privacy of others in order to protect our citizens. My second contention explains that we need the NSA to protect us. My third contention explains that we need to find the balance between privacy and security, which we already have with the NSA in place. But, even if you don't buy my own contentions, I provide with more evidence of why we need the NSA and that its benefits will outweigh the harms. In order to overcome the issues of terrorism and fear, we must uphold the ideals that are worth fighting for. Robert Bloom explains, "The Constitution, of course, is not a suicide pact,' but it does provide the wax and rope to block and bind the passions and fears of the moment. If this nation is to sail past the Sirens' song of terrorism and fear, it must do so with renewed dedication to our first principles and to the liberties and democratic ideals that make our society worth the fight." Additionally, the NSA weighing the individual liberties of citizens over security was critiqued in the congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks. Siobhan Gorman explains, "The 2002 congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks criticized the NSA for holding back information, which NSA officials said they were doing to protect the privacy of the U.S. citizens. 'NSA did not want to be perceived as targeting individuals in the United States'" So, as concluded by the Supreme Court, it is justifiable in certain scenarios for rights to be infringed upon. The way this is determined is the balancing test of government interest and personal intrusion.

Opponent's Response to C1:
Showing that terrorism is still a threat explains that the NSA is still needed in order to combat it. In the case of the Boston Bombing, I conceded that the NSA knew about this. However, this was only one incident. One incident does not bring down an entire organization. A government shutdown does not destroy government itself. The government program knows of this terrorism and now works to protect against it, therefore my first contention still stands. If terrorism was not an issue, why, in today's society, is it still a hot topic? Therefore, terrorism is still a threat and still a key part in today's round. My first contention still stands.

Opponent's Response to C2:
His entire response to my second contention comes from a complete misinterpretation of evidence. It may not be blatantly clear how much terrorism the programs have stopped to the CON, since they will be arguing against it. That is the main purpose of this argument. Then in order to clarify this, I provide the Heritage Foundation research. Now, when he responds with the Chief of NSA admitting about the number of terrorist attacks, of course he would do this. The NSA works in conjunction with the FBI and the CIA, the ones with the actual fire power and know how on how to go about countering terrorism. The NSA provides them with the information, without the information they would not know where to go or what to do. So, of course the NSA ITSELF didn't foil all these terrorist attacks. I do thank the CON for providing more support for me by conceding that we do combat terrorism in the last part of his response.

Opponent's Response to C3:
Misinterpretation of evidence again. The main point of the warrant is to explain the IN DOMESTIC AFFAIRS. You can completely the drop the "foreign affairs" and the warrant would still make sense. Also, domestic means conducted in the United States (for my opponent). Our domestic surveillance does influence the outside world anyways so his attack on my third contention is meaningless. My third contention still stands.

Conclusion:
I apologize for my mistake at the last part of my case saying "con" instead of "pro". It was late at night. However, the reasons you should be voting for PRO today is blatantly clear throughout my case. We need to be weighing lives in today's round. Since the NSA is protecting the lives of Americans, the PRO wins off of that immediately. However, if you don't buy that, an extra reason why the PRO should win is because my entire case contradicts my opponents and all of my contentions still stand. My opponent cannot generate any offense off of his case anymore and therefore, I must win the round. But, EVEN if you don't buy that reason, if you, the judge, values lives over money, you must be voting for PRO in today's round. Lastly, I thank my opponent for a good round.

Vote PRO!
Thank you.
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~ThyAnchor
Debate Round No. 3
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