Poll: 47 percent of Americans unconvinced NSA snooping makes US safer

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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Americans unconvinced the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs are making the U.S. safer from terrorism outnumber Americans who do believe the programs are working, a new poll suggests.

Despite the Obama administration’s best efforts to convince people otherwise, a new ABC-Washington Post poll published Wednesday suggests that 47 percent of Americans do not think the NSA’s broad surveillance programs are making much difference in keeping America safe from terrorists.

While 42 percent of adults surveyed said that they do believe the programs are making the U.S. safer, five percent think the programs are actually making the U.S. less safe.

The Obama administration and senior leaders of the U.S. intelligence community have attempted to combat the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, accusing him of harming national security.

Army Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, revealed on June 27 that the agency’s programs of helped to foil 54 terror plots.

According to the poll, 53 percent of Americans also agree that Snowden should be charged with a crime.

“Charging Snowden criminally is supported particularly by people who think that investigating terrorism trumps privacy; that NSA surveillance enhances U.S. security; that the NSA is not intruding on privacy rights, or if so, is acting justifiably; and that his disclosures have harmed national security,” wrote pollster Gary Langer.

Langer is the founder of Langer Research Associates, the firm that conducted the survey.

On Wednesday, members of the House met to debate an amendment to the 2014 defense appropriations bill that would defund the collection of phone records and other electronic records belonging to people not under investigation for international terrorism or foreign intelligence.

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