Former CIA agent looks at what privacy means in 2014 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Former CIA agent looks at what privacy means in 2014

Mudd joined the CIA in 1985 as an analyst; he worked in Washington for both the CIA and the FBI in the months and years after 9/11. Mudd joined the CIA in 1985 as an analyst; he worked in Washington for both the CIA and the FBI in the months and years after 9/11.
With apps, social media, and GPS on smartphones, it seems the government can track anyone at any time. With apps, social media, and GPS on smartphones, it seems the government can track anyone at any time.

(WMC-TV) - With apps, social media, and GPS on smartphones, it seems the government can track anyone at any time.

"I do think we need to have more of a debate about privacy in America, but it has to be joined with the debate about what Americans expect in terms of security," said Phillip Mudd, who now lives in Midtown Memphis. "I love Memphis. Bluff City has so much to do, and it's so gritty and unique. It's a great place to live."

Mudd joined the CIA in 1985 as an analyst; he worked in Washington for both the CIA and the FBI in the months and years after 9/11. He wrote a book about his career. It's called "Take Down: Inside the Hunt for al-Qaeda.

He says privacy can exist in a digital world but the debate between privacy and security can often be a Jekyll and Hyde conversation.

"One day you would have questions about how much information we were collecting, and, in my case, questions about whether it was appropriate what we did to al-Qaeda prisoners. The next day someone would say, in the case of Boston, I wasn't there, but I know what it was like in the case of Boston. They would say, 'Come on, why didn't you stop it.' That schizophrenia has to be a part of the debate not only how much we collect, but when something goes wrong, if we don't collect info, is someone going to have the courage to say, 'That's ok, that's part of living in an open society,' " said Mudd.

Mudd says based on what he experienced, he insists America is safer than that fateful day back in September 2001, but:

"Americans need to understand we live in a lovely, wonderful society that's also a free society. If you want to live in a free society, you have to expect that sometimes bad things will happen. We don't have security services that, believe it or not, listen to everybody. And when bad things happen, we ought to step back before we say, 'How'd you miss that?' " said Mudd.

Mudd says improving security without compromising the privacy of Americans is a conversation worth having.

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