The number two Democrat in the U.S. Senate said President Barrack Obama should release more statements on electronic intelligence gathering strategies and step up efforts to engage the public.
In the wake of controversial intelligence gathering activities spearheaded by the National Security Agency (NSA) being disclosed to the public, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) also said it’s time for a larger conversation about privacy in the digital age.
“We live in a world where people are tweeting every random thought that comes into their head and going to Facebook every night and disclosing things about their personal lives,” Durbin said on said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We are sacrificing, giving up voluntarily our privacy. The public sector and private sector gathering information which could limit our privacy and it’s time for a national conversation. Where should we draw these lines?”
Durbin did not defend the actions of Edward Snowden, a former intelligence contractor who is wanted by authorities for leaking classified information to news organizations, but did say the practice of bulk collection of phone records “goes too far.”
“If there’s a suspect in the city of Washington with some linkage to a terrorist, will we collect the phone records of everyone who makes a phone call in area code 202 for five years?” Durbin said.
Durbin added that if there is a specific security threat, authorities should go after those who are thought to be complicit.
Sen. of Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) joined Drubin on the Sunday morning talk show and said he believes the NSA’s surveillance program is run within the framework of the constitution.