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Andrew McCarthy: Congress Must Protect Citizens' Privacy Rights

By    |   Tuesday, 02 Jun 2015 08:12 PM

Congress must step up its oversight to ensure that Americans' privacy is being protected in the face of intelligence agencies' use of more sophisticated surveillance technology, former chief assistant U.S. attorney in New York Andrew McCarthy tells Newsmax TV.

But in a panel discussion with "The Hard Line" host Ed Berliner, the senior fellow at the National Review Institute warned the national discussion about the FBI's use of airplanes to conduct aerial surveillance over the United States "is the conflation of capabilities and actions."

"There are roguish people in government just like there are everyplace else," he said.

"But the FBI says that, at least for now, they're not using the aerial surveillance for routine investigations. It's a capability that they have to have in the event of critical incidents and I quite agree that we need to have a body of law that keeps pace with technology, society's changing notions of what privacy is and what it wants to protect."

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Congress certainly has a much more urgent role, he said.

"Congress has to do a lot better job of oversight, but very often we hear that government has capabilities and we assume that it's doing wrong," he said.

"By that logic, there's no greater ability or capability that the executive branch has than that for President Obama as commander-in-chief of the military. In theory, he could order an American state to be invaded and occupied under martial law. I don't think that's going to happen."

John Whitehead, constitutional attorney and president of the Rutherford Institute, said the FBI surveillance flights are just the beginning.

"We're in a hell of a mess folks," he warned. "We need some protection from Congress, but they seem so bumbling right now. It's hard to find out what they're doing."

For example, Whitehead declared "drones are going to be flying over the United States soon."

"They're going to have scanning devices, face recognition software from 20,000 feet," he said. "In the age in which we live, we have to realize this – technology is moving so very, very rapidly… it's going to be very difficult to have a lot of privacy."

Whitehead also decried passage of the USA Freedom Act as skirting the Fourth Amendment.

"It doesn't go against current Supreme Court law, but people who believe in the Fourth Amendment, [and] in my opinion, it does bypass on the Fourth Amendment," he said of the new law passed Tuesday.

"You don't do surveillance on American citizens unless you have some kind of evidence of their wrongdoing. … What I'm saying here is our Congress is terribly failing us and the USA Freedom Act isn't going to solve the problem in my opinion."

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Congress must step up its oversight to ensure that Americans' privacy is being protected in the face of intelligence agencies' use of more sophisticated surveillance technology, former chief assistant U.S. attorney in New York Andrew McCarthy tells Newsmax TV.
congress, privacy, rights, government, surveillance
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2015-12-02
Tuesday, 02 Jun 2015 08:12 PM
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