Heritage Foundation's Brooks: Phone Data Collection 'Legal'

Friday, 07 Jun 2013 04:30 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The government's mining of millions of phone records is necessary and proper because of the ongoing, extraordinary threats of terrorism, a top security expert at the Heritage Foundation says.

"We are living in extraordinary times, we have to do the best we can to protect our civil liberties. But my sense is . . . the program is legal, it's Constitutional," Peter Brooks, Senior Fellow for National Security Affairs, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

Story continues below.

"I mean, there's a risk of doing nothing . . . We can't forget what happened in Boston, we can't forget the other 50 terror plots we had here in the United States since 9/11 and, of course we can't forget 9/11."

Still, Americans do have the right to be concerned that a record of every phone call they make is in the hands of the National Security Agency, he said.

"People are alarmed and they have a right to be alarmed, they need to know more about it at this point," Brooks told Steve Malzberg.

He also said he doesn't like the fact that the existence of the program was unmasked in the press.

"I'm mortified this program was exposed to the bad guys. I'm really kind of like, wow, they're going to figure out all of this," Brooks said.

"If you're a whistleblower and you don't like the program there's ways of doing this, such as going to a cleared member of Congress . . . but putting it in a newspaper, you know, al-Qaeda, the Russians and Chinese, the North Koreans, the Iranians are going to be reading it and sucking this up."

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