Democratic Congressman: NSA Deputy Director “Idiotic” “Extraordinarily Disrespectful Of The Constitution”

Rep. Peter Welch, a Democrat from Vermont, has harsh words for comments that NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett made at a recent TED talk. Ledgett said, “President Madison would have been proud” of the process to authorize the NSA’s activities.

“It’s idiotic, what he just said. It’s extraordinarily disrespectful of the Constitution and extraordinarily disrespectful of the privacy rights of the American citizens,” Welch said in a radio interview with Democracy Now that aired Wednesday.

“It’s idiotic, what he just said. It’s extraordinarily disrespectful of the Constitution and extraordinarily disrespectful of the privacy rights of the American citizens. Here’s why: Jim Sensenbrenner was a conservative Republican who helped write the law. In what he — and he’s appalled by the overreach of the intelligence-gathering agencies and the NSA. And here’s why. There was, in the law, the right to go to the FISA court on the basis of reasonable suspicion to examine, let’s say, my phone records; there was some articulable suspicion that passed the judgment test of the judge in FISA, and you could get my records. What NSA has done is said that they can get everybody’s, all Americans’ emails, texts and telephone messages — all of them — just on the basis of the law in this authorization. That is like so over-broad and so disrespectful that there’s no end to what they can do.”

Welch also called Ledgett’s comment “an incredible self-serving stretch that shows an appalling disrespect to the Constitution and the reasonable limits that have to be part of a balance of security and privacy.”

Here’s the full video of Ledgett’s TED talk, where he said that “President Madison would have been proud” of the process to authorize the NSA’s activities.

“It’s important to know that the programs that we’re talking about were all authorized by two different presidents, two different political parties, by Congress twice, and by federal judges 16 different times. And so, this is not NSA running off and doing its own things. This is a legitimate activity of the United States foreign government that was agreed to by all the branches of the United States government. And President Madison would have been proud.” youtube.com

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