Tonight, For The Record revisited two of the most pertinent and under-reported stories in the news today: the NSA surveillance techniques and the revolution underway in Egypt. In March, For The Record exposed how the NSA has turned America into a Surveillance State. Now, new information reveals more truth about the government spying program. In May, For The Record took its cameras inside Egypt for an exclusive look at the Muslim Brotherhood’s persecution of Christians, and now with Mohamed Morsi out, For The Record returns to Egypt as a new revolution is underway.
Surveillance State Exposed
Earlier this year, For The Record spoke with whistleblowers from the National Security Agency who said that the NSA was violating the Constitution and spying on American citizens. Since that report aired, new leaks of classified information have seemingly confirmed that story.
With Edward Snowden's leaks now available for the world to see, NSA whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Kirk Wiebe had their worst fears realized - the U.S. government is collecting metadata on domestic phone calls, emails, and internet activity. Alex Abdo of the ACLU describes this metadata as so "valuable", "sensitive", and "invasive" the U.S. government feels it is absolutely imperative to collect and store.
New leaks of classified information have given Americans a glimpse inside their country's surveillance state, and just how pervasive it is. It's a system that has seemingly grown almost unchecked since the 9/11 attacks, and in the process won over support from many in power who once opposed it. Drake described the practices as a "cancer on the Constitution," and he and Wiebe both agree that we now know this behavior is not one-off but rather a "tipping point".
No one actually believes that the government is interested in reading every single email or listening to every single phone call, but Wiebe explained that we now know with certainty that the government has the ability to do so. Records are being collected on millions of Americans and the information is being processed and stored and can be sought at a moment's notice.
A recent Pew Research Study shows that Americans are now more concerned about threats on civil liberties than terrorist attacks. Abdo explained that there is an extremely fine line between "excessive secrecy" and "appropriate surveillance," and so far the government has failed to find that balance.
Five months ago, For The Record cameras went inside Egypt for an exclusive look at the persecution of Christians under Muslim Brotherhood rule. One of the people interviewed at the time predicted that Egypt would soon see another revolution. By all accounts, he was correct.
In late June For The Record went back inside the country, just as protestors were packing the streets and President Mohammed Morsi was removed from office. As Egypt has descended into chaos, Christians there have once again found themselves a target for extremists.
Throughout the country one question seems to linger on the minds of the Egyptian people: Why has America remained supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood? The Muslim Brotherhood, despite being thrown out of power with considerable support, still seems to control the narrative in western media outlets.
The story is ever-evolving and the up until this morning, the For The Record team was working tirelessly to find the most up-to-date information. With former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak now out of prison, TheBlaze's national security editor Buck Sexton told Laurie Dhue that he believes a return to a Mubarak-style regime is probable. There is, however, a very real possibility that the situation will devolve further - from the "bloody crackdown" we are currently witnessing to an all-out "insurgency."