The Important, Justifiable, And Constrained Role Of Nationality In Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
This article addresses whether governments ever have a justified basis for treating targets of surveillance differently, in any way, based on nationality. Topics include (1) three ways nationality can matter to surveillance; (2) reasons for stricter rules for law enforcement and domestic collection; (3) reasons for different rules based on the location of collection; (4) the universalist critique of surveillance laws based on nationality; and (5) reasons that can justify stricter surveillance rules based on nationality. Stricter protections are warranted because surveillance of nationals and others with a close connection to the domestic policy poses a special threat to the political opposition and free press of a country, both of which play crucial roles in limiting abuses of state power.
As a plague compounds our political divisions, it’s essential to recall that the cause of the global carnage is not across the congressional aisle or parliamentary divide. This pandemic came courtesy of the breathtaking (literally, in this case) ruthlessness of the Chinese dictatorship, whose policies nurtured, hid, and fostered the spread of the COVID-19 virus currently killing our citizens by the tens of thousands and crippling economies worldwide.
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Presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin will hold a summit at the end of September that will focus on economic and other ties between the United States and Russia. The two presidents have long recognized the central position of energy in our bilateral relations, and in that sphere, nothing is as critical as oil. Today Russia may again be the largest oil exporter in the world, but very little yet comes to the United States. Russia’s oil industry is dominated by rich and aggressive young private companies. Generally, they are eager to deal with foreigners, but despite significant state reforms they often are still inhibited by a dilapidated, state-controlled delivery system and a residue of traditional thinking and institutions. Many of Russia’s as-yet-unresolved post-Soviet prob-lems exploded in mid-2003 when the prosecutor general’s office attacked Yukos, the country’s most modernized, productive and pro-American private oil company. Thus even as Washington and American oil industry leaders actively sought alternatives to unstable sources in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, basic questions re-emerged in Russia about the privatizations of the 1990s, the security of private property, the mixing of law and politics, and the exercise of power in the Kremlin. Today Russians, with the support of American and European allies, must create conditions that will welcome the foreign funds, technology, and expertise needed to develop the critical oil industry but also to lay foundations of law and infrastructure that will help make Russia a stable member of the world community. Americans must decide how much involvement Russia can constructively absorb to promote not only short-term oil supplies but also long-term Russian development and broader U.S. foreign policy goals. Finally, the critical long-term lesson of 9/11 and other recent experiences for Americans is that even as we cultivate Russia as an ally and major source of oil, we must actively develop alternative sources of energy. In an unstable world, the United States must not forever be held hostage by other nations with their often very different cultures, institutions and interests.
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