The NSA is charged and under scrutiny on Capitol Hill and in the public for their investigation into technology and communications. The agency has been alleged to have searched everything from Facebook to Google to Verizon communications. The idea of the government having such a far reach is highly disconcerting to many Republicans and Democrats alike. However, NSA top officials have said that the programs that they have developed and implemented, a continuation and expansion of many Bush Administration policies, protected Americans from numerous terrorist attacks.

The question of the NSA and the whistleblowers from various agencies have raised the question of security in a post 9/11 world. Following the September 11th attacks there was an understandable panic that spread through the country. The USA had been attacked by radical Islamists who sought to destroy this country via its financial sector. The goal was to tear us down and it understandably resulted in panic and fear, as well as a belief in the need for further protection.

The government of the USA has been since its inception running spy operations and surveillance on those that could potentially pose a threat. But, in the modern age where technological records could track even the innermost actions and thoughts, there was, arguably, more access to personal information regarding citizens and non-citizens alike. After September 11th, the Patriot Act was enacted which gave the Federal Government a broader reach in the name of security.

There is no doubt that there has to be some surveillance and research on those who may attack us. We want to be protected by our government and like to think that they are working to keep us safe from outsiders. But, in so doing, we must realize we are giving up liberties and our own privacy. There is a thin line that must be walked between security and true freedom. Both Republicans and Democrats should take heed and be prepared to answer the tough questions honestly, if that is possible. There are no easy answers but their are definitive lines that must be made.

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