Senators from both parties offered competing views Sunday on how to balance the privacy and national security concerns raised by leaks by Edward Snowden, a former security analyst who reportedly is on the run from an arrest warrant issued by the United States after he disclosed sensitive information about the extent of American spying programs.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said he’s always had concerns about the broad collection of phone records and other communications.
“If there’s a suspect in the city of Washington with some linkage to a terrorist, we collect the phone records of everyone who makes a phone call in area code 202 for five years?” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “If there’s a reasonable and specific suspicion, we should go after those who are thought to be complicit in any act that could jeopardize Americans.”
But Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, said the NSA programs appear to be “well run” and within proper guidelines.
“We don’t listen to anybody’s phone calls … until there is a connection with a terrorist,” he told the program.