Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Verizon customer, said during a Thursday morning appearance on Fox and Friends that he was “glad” the NSA was conducting domestic surveillance operations.
The Guardian revealed Wednesday evening that Verizon as being forced via secret court order to silently hand over to the NSA the phone records of millions of Americans inside of the U.S.
Administration talking points assembled last night in response to The Guardian article defended the tactic as “a critical tool in protecting the United States from terrorist threats to the United States.”
The NSA’s secret domestic phone surveillance was revealed in 2005 to have started under George W. Bush administration as a response to 9/11.
The agency, chartered by the Truman administration to conduct foreign signals intelligence was first discovered to have engaged in illegal domestic spying by the Senate “Church Committee” in 1975.
“We are very much under threat,” said Graham, stating that “homegrown terrorism” was one of his “biggest concerns.”
“It is happening in our own backyard, and I am glad that NSA is trying to find out what terrorists are up to overseas and inside the country,” said Graham.
Graham, along with Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain, has been an ardent defender of the Obama administration’s prosecution of the War on Terror.
Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, on the other hand, responded to the revelation of the NSA’s tactics under the Obama administration by calling it “an astounding assault on the Constitution.”
Senate Democrats also condemned the NSA’s tactics.