Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

August 29, 2013

The American people deserve liberty and safety

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects American citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.

In practice, it requires any search warrant or government surveillance to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. Unfortunately, recent revelations about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance activities raise serious questions about whether these constitutional protection are being obeyed.

I am deeply disturbed by disclosures over the past several months that the NSA may be conducting surveillance on American citizens without proper legal authority. Media reports suggest the NSA inappropriately collects records of phone calls made and emails sent by American citizens. Some have claimed the agency has even accessed the content of these communications. Others indicate that the agency has the capacity to monitor 75 percent of all U.S. Internet traffic. Frankly, most Americans don’t know what to believe.

That is why I recently supported an amendment to prevent the NSA from abusing its counterterrorism powers. The amendment, added to the bill that funds the Department of Defense, will prohibit the NSA from targeting and analyzing the phone calls, emails, and other electronic communications of American citizens. This amendment was adopted instead of a more sweeping one that would have imposed a blanket restriction on the collection and analysis of all bulk data, including data that is known to have prohibited more than 50 terrorist attacks. I could not justify such a sweeping prohibition without further congressional examination of its impact.

The President has acknowledged that the NSA’s powers are “scary to some people.” Yet, he assures us that no rights are being violated. After scandals at the IRS, the Department of Justice and elsewhere, the American People are understandably skeptical.

Clearly, we have more work to do. Congress should draw a bright line between acceptable counterterrorism activities and unacceptable violations of our fundamental rights. We should investigate all allegations against the NSA, re-examine its authorities, and determine the best path forward.

Text Only
Columns
  • Pat Smith: A reader's special note Before beginning this week’s column it must be stressed that I love getting emails from readers, love getting telephone calls from readers and love seeing readers when I’m out and about – especially those who very generously tell me that they read th

    July 24, 2014

  • Spaulding Outdoors: The Inside on Indiana's Outside Early Migratory Bird 2014 Season Dates The 2014 early migratory bird season dates have been submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Indiana DNR as listed below. The dates are not final until the USFWS approves them, which typically hap

    July 24, 2014

  • Why incumbents get reelected Incumbents are masters at posing as outsiders, when in fact they are insiders who produce the Congress they disdain. It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its

    July 24, 2014

  • Lessons from the largely forgotten war As we approach the official date on which the First World War started, July 28, 1914, when the first shots were fired by the Austro-Hungarians who invaded Serbia, it’s appropriate to think about the lessons that catastrophic event has taught us one h

    July 24, 2014

  • Protecting Indiana's agricultural heritage With the 4-H fairs in full swing, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about agriculture. Since Indiana became a state back in 1816, agriculture has played a vital role in our livelihood. For those who are not from Indiana, our state is practica

    July 22, 2014

  • Improving Indiana's infrastructure It is always a happy time when my family visits, especially to celebrate a wedding. I recently played hostess for my niece and her wedding party when she was looking for somewhere to hold her rehearsal dinner. I absolutely enjoy when family comes to

    July 22, 2014

  • Shining a light on the Federal Reserve If you are like most Americans, you probably have heard of the Federal Reserve. But, you may not know much about what the Fed actually does or the very real ways its decisions impact your day-to-day life. The Federal Reserve was founded by Congress i

    July 22, 2014

  • Expiring term heightens the urgency of lawmaker's mission INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrant

    July 22, 2014

  • fea-gb072214 Spaulding column jpg Spaulding Outdoors: The inside on Indiana's outside Free beginner waterfowl hunting workshopsTwo free waterfowl hunting workshops for beginners will be offered in August and September by the Department of Natural Resources. The focus of the workshops is on hunting Canada geese, although there will be

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thankful for our veterans' sacrifice On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed, giving birth to a new nation. To Great Britain and the rest of the world, the U.S. proclaimed itself the proud home of free people. Since that day, on more than one occasion, this freedom h

    July 17, 2014