The NSA has become quite the touchy subject in Washington these past few months after leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the agency’s spy programs. The president and those who support the NSA have been on the defensive claiming that the agency doesn’t abuse its powers (it does), while those against the agency have been calling for it to be reigned in. Now one former lawmaker has called for the agency to be flat out abolished.
At the Washington D.C. premier of “Terms and Conditions May Apply,” former Rep. Dennis Kucinich spoke briefly on how he feels about the NSA. TechDirt reports that he had some strong words for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s favorite spy agency:
We have the CIA, the FBI, a dozen other intelligence infrastructures. Frankly — and I’m saying this with a lifetime’s experience in government here — it’s time to punch the NSA’s ticket here. They’ve ruined the brand. They’ve destroyed the idea of privacy. We need some kind of symbolic and profound approach here, that says, ‘look, you’ve violated something that’s very dear to the American people — you don’t get to do that.’ We talk about the death penalty for individuals, which I oppose, but I think there needs to be for government agencies that so broadly betray the public interest, there needs to be a measure of responsibility. And if they go beyond the pale, which the NSA has, they just ought to be abolished. We don’t need the spying.
You can watch the whole statement below where he also touches upon Intelligence Director James Clapper lying to Congress and what he thinks of Edward Snowden:
So, what does Kucinich recommend the American public do about the NSA? He says that he believes in the Constitution and he believes in the vote. He says that Americans will have to vote people that respect privacy into Congress and into the presidency. He also says that people need to keep petitioning their lawmakers to stand up to the intelligence community and repeal Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
As the former lawmaker notes, however, this is all just a pipe dream for now. The best hope anybody has right now in reigning in the NSA are a few pieces of legislation making their way through Congress. The President has also suggested some reforms to the NSA and FISA court, but they were largely cosmetic.