The ruling last week by a federal judge declaring the mass collection of phone records by the National Security Agency unconstitutional would put the U.S. on the "road to doom" if upheld, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton said Tuesday.
"When we have federal judges making national security decisions, we are on the road to doom," Bolton said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom."
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"They are the last people who ought to be deciding what keeps America safe," he added.
Oversight of the surveillance efforts by the NSA should be conducted by elected officials, Bolton suggested. He called for "more congressional oversight, more congressional involvement."
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon promptly put his decision about the controversial intelligence program on hold, pending an appeal. A panel appointed by President Barack Obama also reviewed the NSA program. Their report found no indication of abuse by the NSA, but suggested more transparency and accountability at the security agency.
Bolton called the debate "unbalanced," and said the NSA had a difficult time responding to critics, given the sensitive nature of what they do. He defended the program, saying there was "nothing that these workers have done in collecting intelligence that violated any order they were given."
Ultimately, Bolton suggested, the NSA needs a leader to oversee the agency who can properly explain to the American people what the agency does and the contribution it makes to national security.
"What you really need is political leadership to say, 'This is important,' and to try, within the limits we've got, to explain why," he said.
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