The NSA found itself again at the center of American politics this week, albeit briefly, as Republican presidential candidates Chris Christie and Rand Paul took opposite stances on whether to rein in the agency’s power.
Many Americans weren’t much aware of the NSA’s purpose, until former agency contractor Edward Snowden unveiled the scope of its spying network in 2013. Now the media abounds with articles that detail how the NSA collects millions of American phone records, along with mountains of metadata, in what many observers describe as a violation of privacy.
The topic is likely to come up again and again along the 2016 campaign trail — so here’s a guide to where the candidates stand.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul does not like the NSA. He dislikes it so much, in fact, that he recently said he would do “everything humanly possible” to stop a reauthorization of the Patriot Act, which the United States government has used to justify collecting phone records.
Paul has plans to filibuster the reauthorization bill, and he has made good on his filibuster word before. He once stood on the Senate floor for more than half a day to call attention to the Pentagon’s use of drone warfare.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is taking the opposite approach. The governor blasted “civil liberties extremists” for questioning the NSA’s efforts. Christie says the agency needs to collect so many records because any information could theoretically be relevant—at some point—to a terrorism investigation.
“All these fears are exaggerated and ridiculous,” Christie said on Monday.
Source: Colin Daileda, www.mashable.com