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Dershowitz: Security Spectrum Has Swung Too Far Both Ways Since 9/11

By    |   Monday, 01 June 2015 08:47 PM

The pendulum has swung far too wide – in both directions – when it comes to national security since 9/11, Harvard professor and lawyer Alan Dershowitz tells Newsmax TV.

In a panel discussion Monday hosted by "Newsmax Prime" host J.D. Hayworth, Dershowitz said the Senate's failure so far to extend the Patriot Act – parts of which allowed the National Security Agency to collect bulk cellphone metadata – means "lone wolf terrorists will have an easier time."

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"We went too far after 9/11 and now it seems like we're going too far in the other direction," Dershowitz said. "Certainly [Kentucky Republican Sen.] Rand Paul seems to be going too far and we have to stop these wide swings because neither do they protect liberty, nor do they protect us from terrorism."

What Americans want, he argued, is a "centrist compromise."

"Most Americans feel that the NSA went too far, but they also feel that we have to empower the NSA to prevent terrorism and protect us," he added. "We need to put politics aside and we need to stop being strident and polemical about this and come to some reasonable solution that affords us maximum safety consistent with liberty."

Lawyer and former Illinois GOP Rep. Michael Flanagan added it's not only the Obama administration that's gone too far with national security.

"As all bureaucracies do, under Bush and later, Obama too, they went nuts and they decided they can collect every bit of information on earth they could," Flanagan said.

"Going that far they have to be yanked back. It's going to take more than a mere compromise by the House. It's going to take the pendulum to swing in the other direction for a while until we can lay out and know on certain terms and parameters that the NSA's ability to acquire information."

Dershowitz also doubled down on his disdain for the federal indictment of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert last week for breaking "structuring statutes," saying the case not only "smells" – "it's even worse."

"Obviously it was the government that leaked these allegations of sexual impropriety," he said. "This is just not the business of the federal government. Even the lying. I don't think the lying was material because I don't think the … federal government has a right to know that somebody's paying hush money to try to prevent the media from learning about a private act whose statute of limitations is long ago expired. … It should be prosecuted by the states."

The panelists also sounded off on the case of a young Muslim woman who took her case all the way to the Supreme Court – and won – over the refusal of clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch to hire her because of her religious head scarf.

"Abercrombie & Fitch wanted… style, but obviously the law trumps style," Dershowitz said. "It was clearly the right decision. … We're not France. France says no, no, no we're not going to let you wear your head cover or anything like that or any other religious symbols. We strike inappropriate balance."

Flanagan agreed, adding: "We make accommodations for religion and this is something maybe the gay lobby needs to focus on a little bit now – find out that where your rights began other people's rights end, and that gray area in between is a time-tried area of compromise and work."

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The pendulum has swung far too wide – in both directions – when it comes to national security since 9/11, Harvard professor and lawyer Alan Dershowitz tells Newsmax TV.
alan dershowitz, national, security, rand paul
Monday, 01 June 2015 08:47 PM
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