The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and NSA reporting provided an overwhelming benefit to US public

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/25/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,384 times Debate No: 57155
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (2)




Edward Snowden"s release of top-secret NSA documents and their subsequent publication by journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras provided an overwhelming benefit to the US public, specifically the information regarding secret and invasive programs used by the National Security Agency as well as the substantive civil liberties issues raised as a result.


I shall assume--as per standard DDO conventions--that first round is for acceptance. With the understanding that I will be arguing against the resolution, I accept. I thank Pro for this debate and await his opening arguments.
Debate Round No. 1


Prior to the disclosures by Greenwald and Poitras, little information existed about the NSA other than official statements. A few samples:
BOUNDLESS INFROMANT: A NSA program demonstrating the "NSA counts all the telephone calls and emails collected every day from around the world with mathematical exactude. Snowden had placed these files so prominently not only because they quantified the volume of calls and emails collected and stored by the NSA" literally billions each day" but also because they proved that NSA chief Keith Alexander and other officials had lied to Congress. Repeatedly, NSA officials had claimed that they were incapable of providing specific numbers" exactly the data that BOUNDLESS INFORMANT was constructed to assemble." (1)
Prism: A program used to collect the data directly from the world"s largest internet firms including familiar names like Google, Facebook, and Apple. Slides from an NSA PowerPoint presentations for intelligence officers can be found retrieved here (2,3,4)
PROJECT BULLRUN: A collaboration between the NSA and its British counterpart "to defeat the most common forms of encryption used to safeguard online transactions"" (5)
"EGOTISTICAL GIRAFFE , which targets the Tor browser that is meant to enable anonymity in online browsing; MUSCULAR, a means to invade the private networks of Google and Yahoo!." (6)
SIGNIT: The aim to collect, store, and exploit all signals intelligence around the world"this is not targeted at criminals or potential threats by other countries or terrorist but everyone.
XKEYSCORE: A program that requires no court approval to access emails, chats, as well as access your computer monitor in real time with as little information as an email or IP address. (7)
There are a couple responses people against these releases use: first, who cares; second, we already knew something like this existed; third, this information is harmful to national security or puts the United States and its citizens at risk. One reasonable take is what I would call the George Carlin or Bill Hicks defense which is that politicians, businessmen, and those in power have always been corrupt or in the language of Deadwood characters "no good, downright cocksuckers." Many well-informed people adopt this position and I am sympathetic to this attitude but it does not negate the benefit of the reporting or the information revealed in the disclosures. Another variation of the "who cares" argument says I have nothing to hide. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Eric Schmidt advocated for this position (8,9). Zuckerberg is so devoted to openness and transparency he bought the four homes adjacent to his to ensure his own privacy. Schmidt, equally consistent "insisted on a policy of not talking to reporters from CNET, the technology news site, after CNET published Eric Schmidt"s personal details" including his salary, campaign donations, and address, all public information obtained via Google" in order to highlight the invasive dangers of his company." (10)
Prominent figures and many other people state they do not care that the government or business can peer into every piece of information about them. If this is the case why are powerful factions and influential figures so adamant about protecting their own privacy at all cost? For average people, few people are sincere in their belief. If they are then please provide me with their social media and email passwords, medical records, record your phone calls for for me to listen to, and copies of your hard drive. I have no malicious intent, no criminal record; I just want to know about people that have nothing to hide and are willing to hand it over to government and business.
US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis express a different attitude in 1928 about privacy and fundamentals values of the US constitution:
The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man"s spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone.

Argument two is the position of the government in the initial wake of Snowden revelation but quickly moved to position three as anyone whose examined or looked into the actual documents.
The third argument has been the favored position of the government but they have so far failed to provide one single example of how these disclosures have harmed national security or put US citizens at risk. Plus, this misses the point since the reporting provides a clear picture that the motivation of the NSA has less to do with combating terrorism and enemies of the United States but as Greenwald writes in No Place to Hide "great quantities of the [NSA] programs manifestly had nothing to do with national security. The documents left no doubt that the NSA was equally involved in economic espionage, diplomatic spying, and suspicionless surveillance aimed at entire populations." (11)

1. Greenwald, Glenn. No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Kindle Locations 1607-1610).

5. Greenwald, Glenn (2014-05-13). No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Kindle Locations 1629-1631).
6. Ibid.
8. Mark Zuckerberg interview with Michael Arrington at TechCrunch in San Francisco, January 9, 2010.
9. Eric Schmidt interview with Maria Bartiromo, CNBC, December 29, 2009.
10. Greenwald, Glenn (2014-05-13). No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Kindle Locations 2319-2321).
11. Greenwald, Glenn (2014-05-13). No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Kindle Locations 1632-1634).


In this round I shall present my case, and then next round I shall offer rebuttals.


As Pro is making the claim, he bear the BOP. Additionally, Pro must show the benefits provided by leaks of NSA programs to be "overwhelming," meaning "extreme, great". [1] Therefore, if Pro can show some benefits, but those benefits are marginal or mediocre at best, Pro has failed to uphold the resolution.


C1: Oversight is Effective

The NSA "is subject to oversight by both Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. If the effort were being operated without due regard for privacy, the other branches of government could push back. For the most part, they apparently have approved of what's gone on." [1] Domestic surveillance is not "a program that has been hidden away or off the books. In fact, all three branches of government play a significant role in the oversight...the judiciary, through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court plays a role...The executive branch conducts extensive internal reviews to ensure compliance. And Congress passes the laws, oversees our implementation of those laws, and determines whether or not the current laws should be reauthorized and in what form." [2] ""The Government is prohibited ... from indiscriminately sifting through the data. The data-base may only be queried for intelligence purposes by NSA analysts where there is a reasonable, articulable suspicion, based on specific facts." If the government wants to take a closer look, any data gleaned must be associated with people or phone numbers already identified and approved by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In 2012, the letter revealed, the court approved fewer than 300 "query terms" that would allow intelligence analysts to pursue a phone call further. These protocols are overseen by the Justice Department and intelligence officials, and congressional intelligence committees are briefed regularly. "Thus, the program has been approved and is rigorously overseen by all three branches of the Government."" [3] "Over the years, a series of compliance issues were brought to the attention of the FISA court by the government. However, none of these compliance issues involved significant intentional misuse of the system. Nor has the Board seen any evidence of bad faith or misconduct on the part of any government officials or agents involved with the program." [4]

Due to the effectiveness of oversight regulations, the leaks, which supposedly were designed to promote transparency and thus oversight, seem like redundancies at best, and harms at worst.

C2: Surveillance Programs a Beneficial

Sub-point A: Domestic Terror as a Major Threat

"Second, the scale of damage that 21st-century terrorists can inflict is far greater than anything that their predecessors could have imagined. We are no longer dealing with threats from firearms and conventional explosives, but with the possibility of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear devices and biological and chemical agents. The damage that such attacks could inflict on the nation, measured in terms of loss of life, economic and social disruption, and the consequent sacrifice of civil liberties, is extraordinary. The events of September 11 brought this home with crystal clarity...In the years after the attacks of September 11, a former cabinet member suggested a vivid analogy. He compared "the task of stopping" the next terrorist attack "to a goalie in a soccer game who "must stop every shot,"" for if the enemy ""scores a single goal,"" the terrorists succeed. To make matters worse, ""the goalie cannot see the ball"it is invisible. So are the players"he doesn"t know how many there are, or where they are, or what they look like." Indeed, the invisible players might shoot the ball "from the front of the goal, or from the back, or from some other direction"the goalie just doesn"t know."" [5]

Sub-point B: Surveillance Works

"Given the clandestine and unpredictable nature of terrorism...resources may not be effective unless they are accompanied by mechanisms for detecting and preventing future threats. Reliable intelligence is an essential tool. Experience shows that, as long as the other components function as they should, success in the state's counter-terrorism campaign is directly proportional to the emphasis placed on the gathering and analyzing of reliable information...when intelligence is insufficient or inadequate, the terrorist group...will not hesitate to exploit this advantage by escalating its campaign of insurgent violence. In 1976...the Italian Government decided to dismantle the special anti-terrorist units it had created only a few years earlier...Terrorist attacks, which until then had been diminishing in frequency, immediately began to pick up and did not ease again until the early 1980s." [6] "At least 60 Islamist-inspired terrorist plots have been aimed at the U.S. since the 9/11 attacks. The overwhelming majority have been thwarted thanks to timely, operational intelligence about the threats. Congress should not go back to a pre-9/11 set of rules just to appeal to populist sentiment. Congress and the White House have an obligation to protect our liberties and to safeguard our security--in equal measure." [7]

Sub-point C: More Intelligence May Have Mitigated 9/11

"if the phone records program had been up and running in 2001, it might have alerted the government that Khalid al-Mihdhar, a major al Qaeda operative from Saudi Arabia who was on NSA and FBI watch lists, was in San Diego, making calls to an al Qaeda safe house in Yemen. That information might have been a giveaway that the plan had "gone operational." Instead, the NSA sleuths tracking terrorists thought al-Mihdhar was overseas. He was one of the five hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77, where 189 people (including the hijackers) were killed when it crashed into the Pentagon." [8]

C3: Leaks were not Beneficial

Sub-point A: Wikileaks which doesn't always redact names or key details from its documents, has done harm to the U.S. security apparatus:

"Tese massive leaks undermine the relationships we have with almost every country with which we have relations. Even though the cables involve lots of truth telling, no population wants to see its laundry hung on the front page of the world"s leading newspapers..It undoes some of the progress made after 9/11 to push information out of agency silos and share it widely across the government. That was why the State Department, with the support of the Pentagon, created the Net-Centric database, from which the cables were leaked." [9]

Sub-point B: Wikileaks harms Scholarship

"Governments do not respond to security breaches by surrendering themselves to the fates. American foreign-policy bureaucracies have and will continue to respond to WikiLeaks by clamping down on the dissemination of information.
That means more compartmentalization, to make sure that someone like Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst suspected of disclosing documents to WikiLeaks, can't download classified files from multiple agencies. It means that more cables will be classified, reducing the number of people who can access them and delaying their release to the public. Most important, a lot less will be written down. State Department officials will opt for telephones over e-mail. As a result, future data dumps from WikiLeaks or its imitators are less likely. The cumulative effect of these measures will make it much harder for political scientists and diplomatic historians to piece together how decisions were made." [10]

Sub-point B: Generic Security Harms

It stands to reason that now that foreign governments know more about how our surveillance programs are run, they will be better able to counter those programs, thus undermining the benefits outlined in C2, without actually boosting any gains in oversight.


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I also would like to apologize to any formatting errors due to C/Ping from word. Thank you for this debate.
Debate Round No. 2


Let me start by introducing evidence that proves the defenses and sources are all either categorically false, meaning objectively untrue or irrelevant to the debate. The Patriot Act gained approval by congress soon after 9/11, it is not true oversight exist in the NSA. Moreover, every few Congressional leaders have access to the NSA documents or programs or the legal interpretation of the FISA Court. See Alan Grayson"s op-ed in The Guardian he says unambiguously, even members of the house are unable to obtain document, he writes:
" I've requested classified information, and further meetings with NSA officials. The House Intelligence Committee has refused to provide either. Supporters of the NSA's vast ubiquitous domestic spying operation assure the public that members of Congress can be briefed on these activities whenever they want. Senator Saxby Chambliss says all a member of Congress needs to do is ask for information, and he'll get it. Well I did ask, and the House Intelligence Committee said "no", repeatedly. And virtually every other member not on the Intelligence Committee gets the same treatment." [1]
Grayson goes on to add:
Edward Snowden's revelations demonstrate that the members of Congress, who are asked to authorize these programs, are not privy to the same information provided to junior analysts at the NSA, and even private contractors who sell services to foreign governments. The only time that these intelligence committees disclose classified information to us, your elected representatives, is when it serves the purposes of the "intelligence community". [2]
Alan Grayson is a member of the house but the Intelligence Committees surely has full, unfettered access to NSA activities, operations, and procedures, right? No, again not true, not even the highest ranking members of the Senate.
The chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Diane Feinstein, a long time defender and champion of NSA programs and surveillance called for a full review of the NSA spying on US allies, including German chancellor Angela Merkel. Feinstein released in a statement:
"A total review of all intelligence programs is necessary" so that lawmakers "are fully informed as to what is actually being carried out" by the nation's spy agencies. [3]
So, it is true a few congressional leaders have access to these programs, primarily members on intelligence committees, but how can anyone argue that any resemblance of oversight exists, especially when the highest ranking members of the Senate Intelligence Committee is quoted in public that even she is often mislead or intentional not informed on NSA intelligence.
By the way, your source the Las Vegas Sun mentions this, and even provides another instance of the NSA bypassing congressional oversight, to whom? Diane Feinstein the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
In addition, Mike Udall and Ron Wyden, both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee knew about these programs but under current law the even members of congress are barred from disclosing information to the public. Here is a Washington Post piece on both that issue as well as a information that FISA court decisions are interpretations of the law are kept secret. [4]

To your other points about these programs saving lives or preventing terrorism like in the instance of 9/11 is also false. First 9/11 was in no way due to failure, here is the New York Times discussing the now infamous Bush National Security report issued on August 6, 2001:
On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning"s "presidential daily brief" " the top-secret document prepared by America"s intelligence agencies " featured the now-infamous heading: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal. [5]

I can"t think of a better case to illustrate that the pre-9/11 intelligence gathering system working appropriately, prior to the invasive and indiscriminate collection programs of the NSA. Not only that but as Ron Wyden and Mike Udall release a joint press release stating clear and without reserve these programs do not and will not thwart attacks like 9/11. Here is what Mike Udall and Ron Wyden wrote in a press release found on Udall"s senate website:
"After years of review, we believe statements that this very broad Patriot Act collection has been "a critical tool in protecting the nation" do not appear to hold up under close scrutiny. We remain unconvinced that the secret Patriot Act collection has actually provided any uniquely valuable intelligence. As far as we can see, all of the useful information that it has provided appears to have also been available through other collection methods that do not violate the privacy of law-abiding Americans in the way that the Patriot Act collection does. We hope that President Obama will probe the basis for these assertions, as we have." [6]

The rest of Cons arguments are irrelevant. Where in the premise of the debate did I mention WikiLeaks? Julian Assange released the Iraq and Afghanistan War logs several years about, and Glenn Greenwald defended them but WikiLeaks worked with the New Times and others. So I cannot figure out why you would bring up WikiLeaks. By the way, according the Pentagon"s internal investigation of WikiLeaks they concluded it could find a single case where someone was harmed by the leaks. [7]
Moreover, if you examined my earlier citations, what makes the NSA programs as invasive and indiscriminate is due to the fact they don"t require any oversight. NSA contractors were able to access anyone online activity, for whatever purpose they desired, including but not limited to instances where analyst spending their time tracking the online activity of girlfriends to make sure they were not cheating. [8]
So far my opponent contribution has been either found to be false or irrelevant to the debate. You do not have to take my word that Glenn Greenwald reporting from Edward Snowden"s releases, this has been the judgment of congressional leaders, journalist, major newspaper, as well as the other most well-known whistle blower Daniel Ellsberg"but don"t take my word for it, here is what the Pulitzer Prize judges said after awarding Glenn Greenwald"s reporting a Pulitzer for Public Service:
The Pulitzer judges wrote that the Post had won "for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security."

They wrote that the Guardian had won "for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy."

[1] Alan Grayson, Guardian:
[2] Ibid.
[3] Diane Feinstein rebuke of the NSA foreign intellectual programs here:

[4] Washington Post piece on current restrictions on senators and secret FISA as well as Patriot Act interpretations:

[5] New York Times report on the Bush intelligence report one month before 9/11 attacks:

[6] Press release from Mike Udall"s official Senate page:
Pentagon official talking with NBC revealing the WikiLeaks website has so far found no evidence that the disclosure harmed U.S. national security or endangered American troops in the field, a Pentagon official told NBC News on Monday.

[8] Story on NSA analyst using their position to stalk girlfriends:
Quotes from judges on the Pulitzer panel that award Greenwald a Pulitzer for Public Service


Thanks to Pro for this debate!


Pro provides a laundry-list of programs in which the NSA engages in data collection. There are three easy responses to make here:

1. Pro is unable to demonstrate how many U.S. citizens are impacted, and how many suffered violations of their rights. Without being able to quantify how many Americans are actually impacted, it is impossible for Pro to meet his BOP of showing an overwhelming benefit.
2. The NSA's collection abilities are overblown. “The Internet carries 1,826 Petabytes of information per day. In its foreign intelligence mission, NSA touches about 1.6% of that…However, of the 1.6% of the data, only 0.025% is actually selected for review. The net effect is that NSA analysts look at 0.00004% of the world's traffic in conducting their mission—that’s less than one part in a million. Put another way, if a standard basketball court represented the global communications environment, NSA's total collection would be represented by an area smaller than a dime on that basketball court.” [1]
3. These programs have lead to actionable intelligence. “There’s no denying that PRISM’s mining of emails and other Internet messages has produced a mother lode of useful information. An internal NSA document leaked by Snowden described the program as ‘the most prolific contributor to the President’s Daily Brief’ and the NSA’s ‘leading source of raw material, accounting for nearly one in seven [of all the intelligence community’s secret] reports.’ More to the point, PRISM has often contributed to the collection of actionable intelligence used in the fight against terrorism. Even Wyden, the NSA’s strongest congressional critic, acknowledges as much. He and his ally on the surveillance issue, Senator Mark Udall, said in a joint statement last summer that ‘multiple terrorist plots have been disrupted at least in part because of information obtained under Section 702.’” [2]

The two examples of Schimdt and Zuckerberg are more rhetorical points than substantive arguments. As for the claim that the NSA's programs are irrelevant to national security, these claims are patently false. Firstly, Greenwald as a clear bias in that he wishes to create the most sensational news story possible--he is predisposed to want to make the NSA seem more abusive or Orwellian than it actually is. Secondly, the leaks made by Snowden and other have had serious, deleterious impacts on U.S. national security.

"Most of the estimated 1.7 million classified documents that officials say Snowden copied from NSA computers involve U.S. military operations...'As a result of these disclosures, terrorists and their support networks now have a better understanding of our collection methods and, make no mistake about it, they are taking counter measures.'" [3] The gist of this idea is that while most news stories about the leaks focus on eavesdropping and espionage activities conducted by the NSA, these stories neglected to address the far more numerous leaks that disclosed operational intelligence and tactical information that could be used by terrorist organizations to thwart U.S. security efforts on the ground.

In fact, the Snowden leaks, "'tipped off our adversaries to the sources and methods of our defense, and hurt US allies helping us with counterterrorism; cybercrime; human and narcotics trafficking; and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.'" [4] Intelligence organizations have even observed changes in terrorists' activities designed to make it more difficult for them to be surveilled. [5] With such practical changes being implemented, the safety of nations that are prime terror targets such as the U.S. are now placed in greater jeopardy due to these leaks.


Pro cites Alan Grayson to rebut my first contention. Grayson made his reputation as anti anti-Iraq War advocate, and as positioned himself as someone who rejects what he sees as government hawkishness. [6] He is someone who is likely to be incredibly biased against the NSA, whose mission is to provide actionable intelligence on foreign targets who posed threats to American security. His reports should thus be viewed as less credible than that on my sources, which include an impartial newspaper analysis and a review by the non-partisan Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

Moreover, Pro does concede that the members of the Intelligence Committees are privy to much of the information needed to review these programs. That committee is free to make recommendation to the rest of Congress regarding the adoptability of these surveillance programs. As for the remarks Pro makes regarding Sen. Feinstein, her comments are not as grave as Pro makes them out to be. Keep in mind that the NSA's mission is to spy on foreigners; any organization whose Congressionally-approved mandate includes this directive is likely to spy on allies as well as enemies, because even allies can withhold useful or important security information.

Finally, Pro totally drops my evidence about the success of FISA, so this type of oversight stands un-rebutted in this debate.

Pro entirely misunderstands my 9/11 argument. I agree that the Bush administration was aware that Bin Laden was "determined to strike in U.S.," but that they could have know when that attack was about to occur had they had better intelligence. My source underscores that, had more surveillance been available, security agencies in the U.S. would have been more likely to know that the 9/11 plan had gone operational. So, Pro's argument is non-responsive to my point. Yes, the Bush administration knew that terrorists wanted to target the U.S., but better intelligence may have told the administration when and where the attack was going to take place. My point stands: better intelligence would have reduced the chances that 9/11 would've occurred.

I also cited earlier in this round evidence of how Udall and Wyden concede that surveillance has led to actionable intelligence, helping ensure the security of the U.S.

Other points that Pro has dropped: (1) terrorism is a major threat, (2) reliable intelligence has had empiric success in preventing terror (e.g. Italy), and (3) that 60 terrorist plots were thwarted through actionable intelligence acquired by surveillance programs.

Regarding wikileaks, insofar as wikileaks engages in "NSA reporting," it is Pro's ground. Pro has to defend leaks of NSA information not simply from Greenwald and Snowden, but from any entity reporting on the issue. It's all fair game. And yes, wikileaks does report on the NSA's activities. [7] Thus, my third contention is entirely dropped. This brings up two key points in my favor: (1) a harm to security and to people involved in ensuring security (names not redacted, etc.), and (2) a harm to scholarship.

Ultimately, Pro has failed to address the impact the leaks have had on security in the U.S. Even most Americans agree that those leaks did more harm than good to U.S. security. [8] Dropped evidence and further analysis in this round only confirm that the leaks were harmful in terms of insuring the safety of the U.S. and its residents.


Pro has conceded that he bears the sole BOP (he failed to address this point.)

1. Pro has failed to show how many Americans have actually been impacted by these leaks in a positive way, and so Pro cannot demonstrate an "overwhelming" benefit--which is his BOP in this round.

2. Oversight mitigates Pro's impacts. Even if you believe these leaks called attention to government abuse, Pro has not once shown during this entire debate how these leaks have changed government for the better. Furthermore, existing oversight mechanisms like FISA have at least some level of effectiveness in curbing abuse, therefore reducing any potential benefits Pro make attempt to link into.

3. Pro drops the arguments about a harm to scholarship. While small, this evidence further chips away at the scope of the benefits Pro may attempt to link into, by showing how they generate ancillary problems.

4. Leaks have damaged U.S. Security. Terrorism is a massive threat, as Pro has conceded. Therefore, imperiling our defense against and ability to cope with this danger--as these leaks have done--is harmful, not beneficial. This is really where Pro's case falls apart, as the evidence I have provided within this round shows.

Thus, Pro has failed to meet his BOP. Please VOTE CON. Thank you!


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Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Anonymous 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: While it may be difficult to hammer down precisely what constitutes an "overwhelming" benefit to the US public, it's reasonable to assume that any benefit that is overwhelming would at least do more good than it would cause harm. If PRO can not at a minimum demonstrate that (by his own doing or by CON's preventing him as such), then he cannot win this debate. While PRO charts the extent of certain NSA programs that are in place and offers a series of reasons why those programs are bad, the good that stems from the public's being aware of them does not outweigh, as CON argues, the harm that such a leak dealt to US security. A neat debate to read, and one which CON wins.
Vote Placed by phantom 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had to prove the leaks were not just overall beneficial but overwhelmingly beneficial. This increased his burden significantly as all Con had to do was mitigate his argument to the point where the extent of the benefit was not extreme, even it were beneficial. I don?t think Pro accomplished this at all. First, he didn't do a good job explaining how the leaks specifically affected the American people in a positive way. Furthermore, as Con noted, the minority of the leaks disclosed espionage activity. Most actually disclosed operational information; the leaks impacted global security in a negative way. Con also brought up the benefits to security that NSA brings forth. Overall, an "overwhelming benefit" was definitely not shown in this debate, nor an overall benefit at that.

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