|Senator Al Franken|
Al Franken, the Minnesota
"I have a high level of confidence that this is used to protect us, and I know that it has been successful in preventing terrorism.There are certain things that are appropriate for me to know that is not appropriate for the bad guys to know."Last Thursday, Franken issued a press release that expressed concern about the privacy-security balance in the NSA program.
Franken hasn't always been so forgiving of similar practices. At a September 2009 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the reauthorization of expiring components of the USA Patriot Act, Franken read the Fourth Amendment to the assistant attorney general for national security as a means of questioning the act's "roving wiretap" provision. Franken would also eventually vote against a 2012 reauthorization of the FISA amendments that give the government wide surveillance authority.
But in an early 2006 AlterNet interview before he was officially running for Senate, Franken disparaged the Bush administration's NSA warrantless-surveillance program, laughing off a similar rationale to the one he's used in part to justify the current program:
"They're trying to justify these warrantless wiretaps by saying, "Oh, it's al-Qaida!" One guy is saying it's just al-Qaida--the Hayden guy, and then on the other hand, you hear from the FBI that they were inundated with referrals on all kinds of stuff with these calls, so much so that they couldn't get to their real work, and that none of the referrals led anywhere.
I think it's a Roveian strategy: "We win on national security; we'll scare people, and then we'll just win."Just being reminded this nit-wit got elected and is on the Judiciary Committee makes my skin crawl. And no, people of Minnesota, you are not excused.