Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson says the latest al-Qaida threat to Americans overseas is changing the conversation about national security surveillance. Isakson believes the system is working.
When Edward Snowden leaked information in June that national security surveillance includes monitoring cell phone and internet traffic, there was a lot of talk about reining in what the U.S. government can access.
But this week, high-security monitoring has revealed a potential al-Qaida threat that has triggered temporary shutdowns of American diplomatic posts in the Middle East and Africa. Senator Johnny Isakson says that threat has critics of NSA surveillance taking a second look.
He says “I think it caused a lot of people to pause and think, ‘Well maybe that surveillance is not such a bad idea after all.’ I mean when you realize you may be dealing with something the size and scope of the great tragedy, the horrible tragedy we had on 9/11/2001, the fact we didn’t have any of these warnings for 9/11.”
Isakson supports that surveillance, but says that doesn’t mean government has the right to encroach on Americans’ constitutional right to privacy. “That’s the line. Is surveillance violating privacy of an American citizen, which is guaranteed by the Constitution? Is surveillance getting us the information we need to make sure that citizen is protected from danger.”
Isakson says he believes the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts are protecting citizens rights.