Buchanan Calls Phone Dragnet 'Invasion of Privacy'
(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) WASHINGTON, June 7 -- Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla. (16th CD), has issued the following news release: U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, today criticized the government's secret seizure of phone records of millions of innocent Americans, saying the White House needs to explain and justify this sweeping invasion of privacy. The USA TODAY called the government's unprecedented and indiscriminate seizure an "outrageous" act that "betrays Americans." Over the past six years, the National Security Agency (NSA) has collected telephone records of hundreds of millions of Americans, using data provided by three phone companies - Verizon, AT&T and BellSouth.
Revelations about the NSA's phone dragnet was followed by press reports that the government has also been extracting personal information from internet giants such as Google and Facebook.
"The American people don't want the government snooping into their private lives," said Buchanan. "They deserve answers as to why this amount of information was deemed vital to national security." Buchanan, a member of the congressional Privacy Caucus, said a proper balance must be struck between national security and civil liberties. "Our strength as a nation flows from the values and freedoms laid out in the Constitution, including the right against unreasonable searches and seizures." On Wednesday, a leaked copy of a top-secret court order revealed that Verizon, one of the nation's largest telecommunications companies, was being required by the NSA to hand over all telephone records in its systems. The order was granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court which was established in 1978 under the original Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, R-WI, the author of the 2001 Patriot Act which expanded the scope of surveillance under FISA denounced the government's secret collection of phone calls saying "I do not believe the released FISA order is consistent with the requirement of the Patriot Act.
How could the phone records of so many innocent Americans be relevant to an authorized investigation?" The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the NSA has also been tapping directly into the servers of nine internet companies "extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person's movements and contacts over time." Several companies contacted by The Post said they did not permit direct government access to their servers. The internet providers targeted included: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple.
"It is a slippery slope if we allow our basic freedoms to be eroded in the name of security," said Buchanan. "I urge the President to explain to all Americans why these intrusive programs are necessary in combating threats of terrorism." TNS CT21CT-130608-4381844 30TacordaCheng (c) 2013 Targeted News Service