Sen. Patrick Leahy says the American people are at risk of being controlled by their government due to the expansive surveillance powers of the National Security Agency.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” the Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee told host Chris Wallace that the nation’s lawmakers must act to return control of the government to the people.
“I think that we are going to maintain our ability to protect the United States,” Leahy began. “That’s extremely important.”
“The concern everybody has is allowing our government to have such a reach into your private life, my private life, and everybody else’s, that we are, we have the government controlling us instead of us controlling the government.”
“And that’s what both Republicans and Democrats are joined together on the Hill to try to change,” Leahy concluded.
Earlier in the program, Leahy suggested that viewers consider history when deciding whether the government should have so much access to the private communications of American citizens.
“I just think that there should be oversight,” Leahy said. “Think back in the history of this county, in J. Edgar Hoover’s day and all — if he had had the power when he was spying on protesters and those against the Vietnam War and Martin Luther King — if he had had the power that’s in here, think what might have happened. We Americans believe in our safety. We also believe in our ability to be private.”
“You still have to have some checks and balances before you have a government that can run amok,” Leahy said.