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May 15, 2014 at 6:43 AM

PBS Frontline’s ‘United States of Secrets’ must be watched

"United States of Secrets." (Courtesy of FRONTLINE)

“United States of Secrets.”
(Courtesy of PBS “Frontline”)

The PBS documentary program, “Frontline,” has topped itself with an extraordinary and deeply disturbing report on the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance abuses.

We know NSA contractor Edward Snowden is hiding out in Russia because of the secrets he leaked, but the story goes well beyond him. Long before Snowden, there were NSA employees and security experts – people who spent their professional lives in and around state secrets – who were shocked and appalled by what they saw their government doing.

“This is as close to the complete picture as anyone has yet put together — and it’s bigger and more pervasive than we thought,” said veteran “Frontline” filmmaker Michael Kirk. The first installment aired Tuesday night, and can be watched online at this link.

The second installment, about the NSA’s working relationship with Silicon Valley, is on PBS at 10 p.m., next Tuesday, May 20.

This is an ugly story that began after 9/11, and continues to this day. The NSA, created in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor, was mortified to its core to get the first word about the terrorist attack on New York City from TV news accounts of planes flying into the World Trade Center.

Try and remember the NSA’s assault on American values and legal protections began during the Bush administration, and has been sustained by the Obama administration — not the Putin administration in Russia.

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