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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Common sense prevails in NSA ruling
(Page 2 of 2)
Thanks to current law, the NSA can now extensively collect this data. Pauley noted that the metadata collection “is subject to extensive oversight by all three branches of government,” and reminded us that “only a tiny amount of the collected data actually is reviewed by intelligence analysts. Those reviews are no more unreasonable than the FBI reviewing data in its fingerprint or DNA databases.”

These types of intelligence programs are crucial in our fight against terrorism. Wake up, America! The NSA and other security agencies need to monitor and track these calls. They don’t actually listen to them, except when they receive court permission. Did you know that Google collects and stores your personal preferences and keeps logs on what you search for? Yet no one seems to blink an eye, and we continue to use the search engine millions of times a day.

I’m perturbed by those who conveniently forget that it is our government’s first responsibility to protect its citizens from attacks overseas and within our country. It is not our government’s main responsibility to provide housing or education. The security of our nation is first and foremost, and it is in the public’s best interest to make sure that the NSA has access to all of this data.

One would hope that Pauley’s ruling would silence the critics. Sadly, the ACLU is already planning an appeal.

Pauley pointed out that “While robust discussions are underway across the nation, in Congress and at the White House, the question for this court is whether the government’s bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. This court finds it is.”

A presidential review group took the middle ground on the issue. The controversy will likely go to an appeals court and ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court. I hope that the higher courts will uphold Pauley’s ruling and common sense will prevail in the battle against terrorism.

Happy 2014, friends!

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.

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