Britain's highest intelligence officer has gone public with details of extensive surveillance of terrorist plots. President Bush wants Congress to approve his program for wiretaps without warrants. How serious is the threat in this country? Do US agents need the freedom their British counterparts have? Will civil rights still be protected? Plus, America's top general in Iraq says more troops are needed in Baghdad, and one of the world’s most controversial news outlets will now be in English. We hear the latest on al-Jazeera.
FROM THIS EPISODE
It's been less than a week since Britain's MI-5 intelligence service said 1600 people are under surveillance for 30 terrorist plots linked to al Qaeda in Pakistan. Today, Queen Elizabeth presented Tony Blair's last program to Parliament, indicating that the Prime Minister will ask for new legislation to address the terrorist threat. Meantime, President Bush still wants Congress to approve his program of wiretaps without court warrants. Democrats say wait until next year. While everybody agrees it's essential to monitor communications between terrorist suspects, how much oversight is required to prevent abuse? We look at surveillance in Britain, assess the severity of the threat in this country, and consider whether intelligence agents are hampered by too many rules.
Neil Ellis, Homeland Security Expert at the Royal United Services Institute
John Schmidt, Former US Associate Attorney General
Lisa Graves, Center for Media and Democracy (@thelisagraves)
Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
For the first time since Donald Rumsfeld's resignation as Secretary of Defense, America's top general in Iraq appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Arizona Republican John McCain said yesterday's brazen kidnapping of workers from a government building means more American troops are needed in Baghdad.
CNN and the BBC now have a new rival for international news on English language television. Al-Jazeera has become vastly influential in the Arabic-speaking world and has ended the monopolies on news held by governments in the Middle East. It's won viewers with reports that have angered those same governments, as well as those in the western world. Will its frankness and willingness to discuss taboo issues win a new English-language audience?
Jonathan Curiel, Staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle