Democracy and Security: The Current Debate on Reforming U.S. Intelligence
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The revelations of Booz Allen Hamilton contractor Edward Snowden regarding the activities of the National Security Agency (NSA) at home and abroad have focused more attention on the issue of reforming intelligence in the U.S. than at any time since the last major reforms of the 1970s. Whereas in the 1970s the focus was mainly on the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, this time it is the NSA, which, due to a high level of secrecy, was until recently commonly known as “No Such Agency”. Snowden’s revelations have received both praise, with appeals in the U.S. and abroad f or him to be granted amnesty, or even be awarded the Nobel Peace prize, and condemnation with him being characterized as a traitor and spy. In order for the reader to understand the general issue of reform of U.S. intelligence, I will first call attention to three key characteristics of the intelligence process in any democracy, and then analyze reform in terms of the institutions and processes that would be central to any reform.
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