INTRODUCTION (Please read).

I have been fascinated by the news and reactions to the revelations that since 2002, shortly after 9/11, the NSA has conducted extensive and increasingly sophisticated surveillance on the phones (and presumably other communications) of heads of state (and presumably other top government officials. I am struck by the lack of sophistication in the reactions and an unwillingness or inability to see the complexity of the issues and the predictable dramatic impact any decision taken by President Obama or his predecessor, President Bush national security and to trust of and credibility with both internal constituencies (people within the intelligence community)and external constituencies( the politicians, media and public of the U.S. and on the countries we subjected to secret surveillance).

I had the opportunity to conduct a full day intensive workshop with top CIA operatives and executives more than a decade ago and I became aware of the many very difficult ethical issues faced by the intelligence community and our leaders who decide what they can and cannot do.

I have my own opinion on the current scenario but I don't think it is as important as the opportunity to present you with some of the actual issues presented. One thing we must not underestimate is how important these decisions are.

Please respond to as many questions as you can as fully as you are willing. We will make the results of the survey public after we have enough responses. (Teachers: consider asking your students to answer these questions.)

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Question Title

* 1. As to each statement indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree.

  Agree Disagree It depends on other factors I have no idea
1. In 2002, shortly after the 9/11 attacks it would have been proper for the President to authorize the NSA to begin extensive secret surveillance including eavesdropping on communications of heads of state, but only after informing the Congressional intelligence committee.
2. If the President decided to authorize the NSA surveillance he should do so without informing the Congressional intelligence committee because of the risk of delay, opposition or leaks.
3. If the President were to authorize the surveillance he ought to inform the heads of state of the allies subjected to the surveillance to discuss its scope and purpose.
4. If the head of state of an ally contacts the President inquiring about information he/she received indicating that the U.S, did have an extensive surveillance program involving his/her country, the President should tell the whole and complete truth and discuss the policy with the head of state.
5. If the President was asked about the surveillance he should lie or deceive to protect the secrecy and effectiveness of the program.
6. If the surveillance is ongoing and a member of the U.S. Press asks whether it is true that the U.S. is or has been eavesdropping on the phones of heads of state of friendly countries about the scope of the program the President should refuse to respond based on National Security.
7. If the American journalist indicates he has possession of leaked documents indicating the surveillance of foreign leaders, it is proper for the President to try to discredit the documents (even if they are accurate) and refuse to answer based on National Security.
9. Same as above but, it is proper for the President, if he believes it can be successful, to lie or mislead in order to protect the program and avoid damaging relationships with allied countries.
10. If our President received information that his communications were being monitored and his cell phone tapped by Saudi Arabia without his knowledge or consent he would be justified in treating it as a major betrayal of trust and consider sanctions or publicly condemn the practice.
11. Same as #10 above but the country is Israel.
12. Same as #10 above but the country is Great Britain.
13. If our press received information that the President's communications were being monitored and his cell phone tapped by any friendly country without his knowledge or consent the media and American public would express sincere and severe outrage.
14. When it comes to protecting ourselves against terrorists anything that makes us safer is justified.
15. The damage to our image and credibility among many Americans and American supporters is severe and serious.
16. There is no serious damage to our image or credibility among Americans and American supporters because everyone knows this is just what countries do.
17. I was personally surprised and disappointed to hear that we are secretly eavesdropping on our friends.
18. I am glad we are leaving no stone unturned to protect the country from terrorists.
19. If the President was about to go to a crucial economic summit it would be proper to ask the NSA to eavesdrop on the conversations of the finance ministers of the other countries so he could be fully prepared to advance the best interests of the U.S.
20. I believe that there are no ethical niceties in international affairs, every country will and should be expected to do whatever is in its interests.
21. The outrage of the German Prime Minister is fake, she must have known the surveillance was going on.
22. Trust and credibility among our allies is very important and secretly taping conversations of the heads of friendly countries is clearly a breach of trust.
23. Since the tapping started under the Bush Administration, President Obama should not be held responsible for simply continuing a policy that was in place.
24. If President Obama was informed of the eavesdropping practice he should have stopped it at once.
25. How U.S. intelligence agencies go about pursuing their mission is not the business of American citizens; in this area there is no right to know.
26. Americans should know the policies and practices of our government and, overall, it is a good thing that the scope of NSA surveillance has become public so it can be discussed.

Question Title

* 2. Suppose upon coming into office President Obama was informed of the practice of eavesdropping on the communications of heads of state of friendly countries. As to each of the options below indicate your opinion as to the described action. (Proper refers to the legality and ethics of the action. The concept of risk refers to damage to trust and credibility if found out.)

A. Do it - definitely proper and worth the risk
B. Do it - probably improper but worth the risk
C. Do it - clearly improper but worth the risk
D. Don't do it - probably proper but not worth the risk
E. Don't do it - clearly improper and not worth the risk

  A B C D E I have no idea
1. Ask for a full review of the practice and a report on the scope and results of the of the surveillance to date. If he is convinced the practice is useful, continue it as is.
2. Same as above but after the report discuss its continuation with the Congressional intelligence committee.
3. Ask for a full review of the practice and a report on the scope and results of the of the surveillance to date to understand the value of the program but order discontinuance of the practice regardless, keeping the report and decision secret.
4. Same as above but inform the Congressional committee of the information and his decision.
5. Same as above including informing Congress but also privately informing the heads of state affected by the surveillance, apologizing and informing them that the practice has been discontinued but asking them to keep the practice secret from the press or public.
6. Same as above including informing Congress and the countries affected but issuing a public statement about the report and the new policy.

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* 3. Politically, which label best fits your consistent political views on matters of international relations and national security.

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* 4. Your opinion of this survey (check all that apply)

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