Americans should not compare the National Security Agency's collection of phone and email records to the other scandals rocking Washington, former U.S. prosecutor Andrew McCarthy says.
"The IRS scandal, Benghazi, and this use of investigative power to go after journalists — they have one thing in common that's completely remote to these new allegations," McCarthy told "The Steve Malzberg Show on Newsmax TV.
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"They are unilateral executive branch shows … [In the other cases], it's been the Obama Administration who abused power and there's not much that can be done about that or challenged about that.
"[The] surveillance and collection intelligence initiatives that go back to the Bush Administration are matters of law . . . Those laws provide for exacting oversight by both Congress and the judiciary."
McCarthy — who served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and is author of "Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy" — called anger over the National Security Agency's snooping "a vastly overblown issue."
"I say that as somebody who is a pretty constant critic of the administration and who also is mindful of the fact that awesome power can always be abused," he said.
"And when you have the kind of crowd in power that we have now that has demonstrated itself to be abusive and not trustworthy, that's something to be very alarmed about.
"But all that said … [it] is remarkable to me that people who are usually on my side [are] saying they are highly, highly alarmed by this. I frankly don't get it.
McCarthy, who prosecuted Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, said there is no question Edward Snowden, who leaked details of the NSA surveillance, is guilty of federal crimes.
"I think he’s a criminal. He took an oath to protect national security information," McCarthy said.
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