Durbin said Thursday that he has offered numerous amendments to curtail the NSA program through the years, while avoiding specifics.
“Senator Obama in 2008 wanted to track potential terrorist activity ‘without undermining our commitment to the rule of law, or our basic rights and liberties’. Today, President Obama undermines the rule of law, basic rights and core liberties — all in the name of tracking terrorists,” Paul wrote. “There is always a balance between security and liberty and the American tradition has long been to err on the side of liberty. America’s founders feared a government powerful enough to commit unreasonable searches and seizures and crafted a constitution designed to protect citizens’ privacy.”
The Guardian first broke news of the program under which the NSA has obtained bulk phone records in order to parse metadata through computers. The Washington Post and The Guardian broke news Thursday about a data-mining program called Prism that, documents said, taps into the databases of nine U.S. companies for information. The administration on Thursday condemned the leaks as “reprehensible” and potentially undermining national security by tipping off terrorists to U.S. capabilities.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.