Former Vice-President Al Gore has severely criticized the National Security Agency’s across-the-board collection of millions of phone records as “not really the American way” and said that, in his view, the practice is unconstitutional, the Guardian reports
Gore harkened back to the words of one of the country’s Founding Fathers to make the point that concerns about national security should never trump the rights of every citizen.
“I quite understand the viewpoint that many have expressed that they are fine with it and they just want to be safe but that is not really the American way,” Gore said.
“Benjamin Franklin famously wrote that those who would give up essential liberty to try to gain some temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Gore also voiced skepticism towards those attempting to justify the NSA’s moves as being within the law.
“This in my view violates the constitution,” Gore said.
“The fourth amendment and the first amendment – and the fourth amendment language is crystal clear.
It is not acceptable to have a secret interpretation of a law that goes far beyond any reasonable reading of either the law or the constitution and then classify as top secret what the actual law is.
This is not right.”
Gore urged both President Obama and Congress to reconsider the laws that allowed the NSA to enlarge its surveillance.
“I think that the Congress and the administration need to make some changes in the law and in their behavior so as to honor and obey the constitution of the United States,” Gore said.
It is that simple.”
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