• ‘We Kill People Based on Metadata’ by David Cole | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

    General Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA, (...) assert[ed], “We kill people based on metadata.”

    As Snowden’s disclosures have shown, the NSA collects far more private information on foreigners—including the content as well as the metadata of e-mails, online chats, social media, and phone calls—than on US citizens.


    (...) It is probably under this authority that, according to The Washington Post, the NSA is recording “every single” phone call from a particular, unnamed country. Documents leaked by Snowden demonstrate that the NSA also collects, again by the millions and billions, foreign nationals’ e-mail contact lists, cell phone location data, and texts. This is the very definition of dragnet surveillance.

    Congress is far less motivated to do anything about the NSA’s abuse of the rights of foreign nationals. They are “them,” not “us.” They don’t vote. But they have human rights, too; the right to privacy, recognized in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the US has signed and ratified, does not limit protections to Americans. Snowden’s revelations have justifiably led to protests from many of our closest allies; they don’t want their privacy invaded by the NSA any more than we do, and they have more to complain about than we do, as they have suffered far greater intrusions.