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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Current Events Lesson - NSA Surveillance Scandal

This week's free lesson discusses the NSA surveillance scandal in Europe.  The leaked documents by Edward Snowden have already revealed how much the U.S. government spies on its own citizens, now he has informed world leaders and their citizens of how much the U.S. spies on them, too.

This should really come as no surprise to most people: the United States conducts massive anti-terrorist operations all over the globe.  But there is something unsettling about spying on your friends and sworn allies.  Despite this, it has also become apparent that all countries spy on their enemies and friends.  The United States just appears to do it more, and in this instance they got caught.

Such revelations have caused tension with dozens of countries throughout the world, particularly in Europe.  This could prove problematic for the United States because of impending trade negotiations.  Analysts, however, predict that although this is embarrassing for the United States, it will likely have no policy, diplomatic, or economic repercussions.

The videos I use for this lesson are included both here and as hyperlinks in the free download.  The first video (aired on ABCNews on 28 October) provides background information to the scandal.  The second video (aired on ABC7 WJLA on 29 October) provides information that will help fuel debate in your class.

  • The rights of privacy and protection guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment
  • Functions and organizations of the executive branch, especially the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency
  • Some people have called Edward Snowden a patriot, while others have called him a traitor.  How similar or dissimilar is Edward Snowden when compared to our founding fathers, who also advocated for liberty and freedom from the tyranny of government?  (One founding father you might want to highlight is Patrick Henry, who said "Give me liberty, or give me death")

I hope you and your class find this lesson engaging and invigorating.  Please leave me any questions or comments.  Enjoy!