Amidst the National Security Agency scandal over surveillance, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., has come forward and said he does not think it is necessary to censor American's mail.
Graham said a World War II-era program including federal government censorship of mail was appropriate at the time, as it made sure that letters were not tipping off enemies.
"In World War II, the mentality of the public was that our whole way of life was at risk, we're all in," he said. "We censored the mail. When you wrote a letter overseas, it got censored. When a letter was written back from the battlefield to home, they looked at what was in the letter to make sure they were not tipping off the enemy. If I thought censoring the mail was necessary, I would suggest it, but I don't think it is."
This comes after The Guardian revealed last week details about a government surveillance program in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It involved collecting digital communication data from U.S. citizens to monitor what was being sent. The information was leaked by government contractor Edward Snowden, who is currently in hiding.
The program has started a debate over civil liberties, and whether or not it is lawful for the government to survey private information.
"The First Amendment right to speak is sacrosanct, but it has limits," Graham said. "In World War II, our population understood that what we say in letters could be used against [us by] our enemies. It was designed to protect us and ensure that we would have First Amendment rights because under the Japanese and Nazi regime, they weren't that big into the First Amendment."
He added: "We don't need to censor the mail, but we do need to find out what the enemy's up to."