Fox News Channel’s Catherine Herridge explained Tuesday why the revelations about the National Security Agency’s intelligent gathering methods should not be taken lightly.
According to the Fox reporter, there have been documented allegations of abuses by the NSA, showing how the terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden has succeeded in changing how Americans live their lives.
“If you don’t mind me saying in the most respectful manner possible, there are plenty of documented cases where the system has been abused,” Herridge said during Monday’s edition of “Special Report Online.” “We interviewed three whistle-blowers who say their lives were essentially destroyed when the system was turned on them — Tom Drake, Kirk Wiebe and Bill Binney. Wiebe and Binney have never been charged with any crime, and Drake was the first person to be charged under the Espionage Act in decades, and it eventually went to a misdemeanor. So, with all due respect, there are several cases that show the abuse of the system, and the problem here is you are collecting in kind of a what I’ll call a pre-crime mentality. You’re collecting everything just in case one day you need to go back.”
“And that’s where the discussion has to be, because on 9/11, one of bin Laden’s primary goals was to fundamentally change the way Americans live and how the society operates,” she continued. “And I think with the revelations in the last week, you could really ask yourself whether they have successfully met that goal now with these programs.”
Panelist Charles Krauthammer, a syndicated columnist for The Washington Post, indicated he was still dubious over the seriousness of the NSA surveillance and suggested that there should be safeguards to prevent low-level employees like Edward Snowden from doing what he did.
“Unless the Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee are liars, as is the administration, that’s not true,” Krauthammer said. “He doesn’t have the authority. If he has the power, then we ought to have a discussion over what safeguards ought there be, should there be, are there to prevent a low-level employee as apparently he was, from actually doing unlawful stuff. And that’s a useful debate. I’m not saying what we have right now is perfect. But the idea that the law somehow allows all of this is simply false.”
Herridge pointed out that the problem with blindly trusting Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and her House Intelligence Committee counterpart Michigan Republican Rep. Mike Rogers is that it was in their interest to say that oversight of U.S. intelligence has been sufficient.
“You know, Dianne Feinstein and Chairman Mike Rogers, who I have great respect for, I mean they have a conflict right here, because they’re the ones that are supposed to be overseeing these programs,” Herridge said. “So you bet they’re going to get up and say we’re doing adequate oversight. I cannot imagine they would look at us and say they are not doing adequate oversight, because what we found out in the fall and in the spring is that there was never adequate oversight of the drone program, which they were supposed to be overseeing. So I would just argue that we don’t have a strong track record when you look at the oversight of these secret programs.”