Politics

Sen. Bob Corker Claims NSA Collects Too Little Info On Americans

| by Michael Allen
Sen. Bob Corker.Sen. Bob Corker.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee claims the National Security Agency is collecting too little information about millions of Americans.

Corker told The Christian Science Monitor that Obama administration officials had held a briefing with U.S. senators on May 12 about the NSA metadata program, and that he was "shocked" to learn how little data the government is collecting.

Corker, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, "I think there was an ‘aha’ moment yesterday for people on both sides of the aisle when we realized how little data is being collected. The program is actually not the program that I thought it was, not even close."

The domestic spy program, which the Bush and Obama administrations claimed is legal under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, expires at the end of May, unless it is renewed by Congress.

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The Associated Press notes that Corker believes Americans should support more NSA collection data of their private lives to stop terrorist attacks.

Corker complained about an “unhealthy libertarian bent” that was created by the “myths” about the NSA spying program, but failed to note any instances or details, reports The Christian Science Monitor.

Corker also didn't mention that a federal appeals court in New York recently ruled that Section 215 in the Patriot Act refers to the FBI gathering business records, not the NSA collecting a "staggering" amount of American phone records, noted Reuters.

Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch wrote in the 97-page ruling:

"Such expansive development of government repositories of formerly private records would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans. We would expect such a momentous decision to be preceded by substantial debate, and expressed in unmistakable language. There is no evidence of such a debate."

The Intercept recently reported that the NSA has the capability to "automatically recognize the content within phone calls by creating rough transcripts and phonetic representations that can be easily searched and stored."

The Intercept notes that this transcription technology is part of an archive of top-secret documents revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who broke the news in 2013 about the massive NSA spy program that collects information on Americans' phone calls, emails and texting without their knowledge.

Sources: The Christian Science Monitor, Reuters, The Intercept, AP
Image Credit: United States Congress