In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 21, 2014 / 23 Tammuz, 5774

The NSA's data dragnet in clearer focus

By Cathy Young

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | More than a year after the initial revelations about the National Security Agency's data-collection program exposed by fugitive ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the debate sparked by the scandal rages on. Is Snowden a patriot or a traitor? Is surveillance an essential tool for protecting national security, or the epitome of intrusive government? How much surveillance is too much -- and who decides?

So far, here's what we can conclude.

Broad sweep

Surveillance programs have a broad sweep and do not adequately protect the innocent. A recent investigation by The Washington Post based on Snowden's files shows vast numbers of bystanders were caught in the dragnet due to contact with surveillance targets. Emails were intercepted and stored. Some say Snowden, not the NSA, violated these people's privacy by giving the files to the media; but the storage of such data, with no national security relevance, is problematic by itself. Even if absent of government-sanctioned abuses, the data could be obtained by a hacker, or used by a rogue employee for blackmail or other nefarious purposes.

Valuable tool

Data collection is a valuable national security tool. The same Post article that lays out strong evidence of surveillance overreach also notes that the programs uncovered important intelligence materials, leading (among other things) to the capture of at least two terrorists and the prevention of cyber-attacks. Largely overshadowed by these revelations was a report from the independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, released on July 1, which affirmed that the foreign data collection was legal and effective (but the board recommended changes that would reduce unwarranted privacy intrusions).

Liberty concerns

Surveillance defenders tend to be cavalier about liberty concerns while opponents tend to be cavalier about security concerns. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has dismissed the Post's recent revelations by pointing out that "we're at war with radical Islam." Atlantic columnist Conor Friedersdorf has dismissed the terror threat as "an infinitesimal chance" of being killed, invoking comparisons to far more numerous deaths from routine accidents. But there are many reasons that terror attacks -- particularly on a mass scale -- have an impact far beyond individual risk of death or injury. To change that would require changing the human psyche. A few successful attacks with major casualties would almost certainly create a civil liberties disaster far beyond anything the NSA has done to date.

No political abuses

It is very unlikely that NSA surveillance has been abused for political purposes. Some right-wing blogs have speculated that the Obama administration has used the program to target the opposition or even blackmail Supreme Court justices; there were similar rumors on the left in the Bush era. None of the material released so far corroborates this. A new article by Snowden associate Glenn Greenwald raises questions about prominent American Muslims being targeted for spying. But this is less about surveillance techniques than religious profiling, a troubling issue complicated by the fact that some U.S. Muslim groups have had extremist ties.

Regardless of Snowden's motives, methods or ethics, the current examination of national security policies is important. Unfortunately, as with most political debates today, each side is prone to demonizing the other: NSA defenders are caricatured as would-be authoritarians, its opponents as "useful idiots" for America's enemies. We could start by acknowledging that both sides have valid goals and concerns -- and moving toward better security with better safeguards.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Cathy Young is a regular contributor to Reason magazine, Newsday and Real Clear Politics, where this first appeared. Comment by clicking here.

© 2013, Cathy Young. This originally appeared in Newsday.