To outsiders, its initials once stood for No Such Agency. To its employees, they stood for Never Say Anything. Today the public knows that the ultra-secret National Security Agency manages the nations spy satellites, but few know exactly why the NSA is the most powerful U.S. intelligence agencyor its roles in the Cold War, the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and Echelon, the worldwide NSA spying operation that, many charge, is illegally monitoring innocent citizens. No outsider knows more about the NSA than investigative journalist James Bamford, who began to research it before most members of Congress had even heard of it. In this talk, Mr. Bamford explained why he believes the NSA is a dangerous, two-edged sword.
Filmed before a live audience on April 18, 2002, renowned author Gore Vidal rejects the blind patriotism expected by government officials and the mainstream media, and investigates U.S. foreign policy throughout recent history, showing how it has contributed to the terrorist crisis. With his famous wit and insight, Vidal also demonstrates the ways in which the War on Terrorism is being used to curtail civil liberties and shred the Bill of Rights.
Many people have wondered how technological progress will affect political, economic, and civil freedoms. With the rise of encryption software, the National Security Agency's Echelon worldwide surveillance system, and the FBI's Carnivore e-mail snooping program, this subject is no longer the exclusive domain of speculative thinkers or futurists, it is the subject of intense public-policy debate. Will privacy-enhancing technology improve faster than privacy-threatening technology? Should the government mandate privacy standards? Should it enforce contracts in cyberspace, or would private law do a better job? Economist, physicist, and legal scholar David Friedman discussed these and related questions about technological change and the case for and against government involvement.
Walter E. Williams is one of America's best known and insightful commentators on current affairs, politics, and the economy. Millions have read his syndicated newspaper columns or heard his stints as guest host of "The Rush Limbaugh Show." In this special Independent Policy Forum, Professor Williams will examine the results governmental bureaucracies have achieved when attempting to address such problems as health, education, crime, housing, civil liberties, and transportation. His analysis will show how government today is a more of a usurper of rights than it is a protector, and that innovative, free market approaches offer the best hope of solving major social problems.
In 1989, during a large peaceful student demonstration in Beijings Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government deployed its military to massacre hundreds of unarmed students and other civilians in order to stop a growing movement for democratization and individual freedom. Since then, tens of thousands who have spoken out have been imprisoned, tortured and killed, and the government has refused to even admit that such atrocities have occurred. This special Independent Policy Forum will feature three outstanding experts, including two of the leaders of the original Chinese student movement. They will discuss the events then and since, the current movement in china for freedom, and the implications of current Chinese government policies for Americans.