America's "Big Brother": A Century of U.S. Domestic Surveillance

Nov 15, 2013

The futuristic National Security Operations Center occupies a floor of the National Security Agency's headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. The agency has been busily intercepting and decrypting communications from abroad for the past 50 years from its east-coast headquarters.

Classified documents leaked by private contractor Edward Snowden have raised serious concerns about privacy rights both in the United States and internationally. Beyond the question of personal privacy in the digital age, however, are a set of structural questions as well: How can the judicial process be transparent while still preserving state secrets? How can we draw a line to distinguish between domestic surveillance and foreign spying? How does spying strain the relationship between the President and Congress? As historian David Hadley describes these are questions that have bedeviled American policy-makers, politicians, and citizens for over a century. Read more here.