George Knapp welcomed investigative author DB Grady, who discussed how the government secrecy industry has grown increasingly unwieldy and how personal privacy is facing threats from numerous fronts. "It's astonishing and it's only getting worse," Grady lamented about the massive amount of information that has been deemed 'secret' by the government. According to his research, the number of people who have 'secret' or 'top secret' clearances is in the millions and could actually populate the city of Chicago. He explained that this is because so much information has been classified over the years that such clearances are required "just to do your typical day-to-day job."
Beyond the vast amount of information being kept secret by the government, Grady also cautioned about its growing ability to monitor phone calls and emails. He noted that, last year, the head of the NSA testified before Congress and claimed that the agency did not have the legal right nor technical ability to collect and store the emails of every American citizen. However, Grady pointed to the ongoing construction of an enormous facility known as the Utah Data Center which will ultimately solve these technical problems. Chillingly, he warned that, despite the alleged legal restrictions on such spying, "never in the history of the NSA have they resisted the opportunity to listen to us. They're going to do it again, but this time they're going to be able to do it with more efficiency than we can possibly imagine."
Compounding this erosion of privacy, Grady said, is the sheer amount of personal information that people are now willingly sharing online. To that end, he revealed that the intelligence community is actively recruiting "social media experts who are good at mining data." Additionally, he cautioned that the government is "very desperate" to find a way to tap into "voice over IP" programs like Skype and Google voice. On how to protect personal privacy, Grady advised using encryption programs to ensure that emails are secure and to be cautious about what kind of personal information is shared on social network sites. He also suggested removing the geolocation data that is attached to personal photos before posting them online.
Washington & The Presidency
In the first hour, author Logan Beirne (book link) talked about the role of George Washington in shaping both America and the presidency. He marveled that Washington, via his leadership in the Revolutionary War and the early years of the nation, "taught us what we needed to do as a country, morally and politically, in order to survive while also defending our liberties." Regarding Washington's personality, Beirne said that first president was "always cautious to not be too familiar" and, as such, tended to be aloof as a way of projecting strong leadership. Beirne also shared insights into the veracity of tales that Washington had wooden teeth as well as the stories of divine intervention that helped him on the battlefield.