Tags: Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | NSA/Surveillance | Rand Paul | War on Terrorism | barney frank | nsa

Barney Frank: Americans Should Fear Govt. Indecision on Terror

By    |   Monday, 01 June 2015 06:09 PM

Americans should be less afraid of the National Security Agency (NSA) listening to their phone calls and more concerned that lawmakers can't decide what's best in protecting them from terrorism, former Democratic Rep. Barney Frank tells Newsmax TV.

"The fears of the government are somewhat, are substantially overdone," Frank, who served Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013, said Monday to Ed Berliner, host of "The Hard Line."

"There were two arguments that are legitimate to make. One, many of us have said to the security people, look, show us in private where have you been able to use these powers to look into every phone call anybody makes at any time to stop something? And they can't.

"On the other hand, it's fair to say to the critics, show me any example where this data has been misused. The security people don't fully value privacy, but they are not a group of people out to snoop on Americans."

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Frank's comments came hours after Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, succeeded in blocking Senate renewal of the NSA's authority to collect massive amounts of Americans' phone calls and emails.

The move by Paul, a GOP presidential candidate, stalled an agreement by Senate Republicans to debate a House bill to overhaul the NSA's handling of information while protecting other domestic surveillance methods.

But Frank wasn't convinced by Paul's controversial tactics.

"There is no pattern of the data that's being connected being used intrusively, when Rand Paul talks about our freedom," Frank said.

"Frankly, I've been making phone calls for a long time. I have no evidence that any of them have ever been [misused]."

Frank — author of "Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage," published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux — told Berliner he had voted against the original Patriot Act bill in 2001 because it had been altered by then-Vice President Dick Cheney.

"We had actually gotten in committee in 2001, originally a pretty good bill that was agreed upon," Frank said. "And then Dick Cheney intervened. It was bipartisan … a good bill together and Dick Cheney changed all that and it has some excesses in it."

Frank said if the goal of the government was to try to stop "anybody from ever being killed, we would expand law enforcement in complete terms.

"By the way, we would repeal the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution … [which] requires a search warrant. But people have seen this on TV and to this extent … the cop shows are realistic. They see an inability to get a warrant or evidence excluded because it was seized illegally.

"Now in any one case, that's very frustrating because you want to get that no-good person and stop him. On the other hand, do we want a situation where in the interest of preventing every possible crime, nobody has any privacy whatsoever? So no, you do have to have some balance."

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Americans should be less afraid of the National Security Agency (NSA) listening to their phone calls and more concerned that lawmakers can't decide what's best in protecting them from terrorism, former Democratic Rep. Barney Frank tells Newsmax TV.
barney frank, nsa, surveillance, inaction, terror
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2015-09-01
Monday, 01 June 2015 06:09 PM
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