A Florida congressman said Friday he is “fed up” with the U.S. government’s extensive spy programs, arguing he can’t even call his own mother without federal agents having a record of it.
“You can rest assured, there is no threat to America when I talk to my mother,” outspoken Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson said during a lengthy speech on the House floor.
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Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former analyst for the CIA and National Security Agency, revealed last week a secret order requiring phone company Verizon to turn over records on all of its customers’ calls to the government. The data consists of call logs and not actual content, but Mr. Grayson is still not happy.
“For those who are listening on C-SPAN or otherwise, it includes every call by you,” he said, suggesting secret orders may cover phone companies besides Verizon and there is no way to escape their purview.
“I’m not going to string two cups between my house and her house, 70 miles away,” he quipped.
He said the enabling Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as its name suggests, should not apply to communications within the United States.
Mr. Grayson also lambasted the “Prism” program disclosed by Mr. Snowden that monitors Internet activity by foreigners, arguing he’s not confident the program only targets non-Americans, as officials have said.
Security officials have defended the programs. They said they do not snoop on innocent Americans, and the enhanced techniques have been used to thwart terrorist attacks.
Notwithstanding their assurances, Mr. Grayson said the programs are “anti-American” and violate the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of a probable cause before the government can intrude on a citizen’s privacy.
“I’m fed up,” he said. “I’m not going to take it anymore.”