Ron Wyden, Refusing to Play Prosecutor, Says We Need to Ban Dragnet Collection of Purchase Records
Meet the Press continues to spew absolute idiocy regarding the Snowden leaks. In an attempt to get Ron Wyden to call Edward Snowden a criminal today, Chuck Todd suggested because Wyden is a Senator he has the authority to decide who gets prosecuted or not.
Todd: Where are you on Snowden? Is he whistleblower? Is he a criminal? And if he’s brought back to the United States, should charges be brought up against him?
Wyden: Chuck, I decided a long time ago if somebody was charged criminally I wasn’t going to be just doing running commentary. But the bottom line is this is a debate that shouldn’t have started that way, it should have started with the House leadership– [interrupting]
Todd: But did he commit a crime? Did he commit a crime?
Wyden: I think that’s something for lawyers–
Todd: You’re in the United States Senate! You have the–you can’t tell me whether he committed a crime?!
Wyden: I’m not a prosecutor, I’m not a prosecutor. And I can tell you years ago in the House I asked the Tobacco executives whether nicotine was addictive, they were under oath, they said no, and the prosecutors said they couldn’t prove intent. Here’s what the bottom line is for me. The American people deserve straight information from the intelligence leadership. If the American people don’t get it, you can bet there’ll be other situations like this.
It must be tedious for Todd that the Fifth and Sixth Amendments might inhibit his ability to sow controversy on a Sunday show, but they nominally exist in this country.
And the rush to force Wyden to convict Snowden led him to ignore what Wyden actually said.
When Todd asked Wyden, the Senator described some other things that needed fixed. In addition to ending the bulk collection of phone records right away, Wyden said,
- We’ve got to fix this back door search loophole in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
- We ought to ban all dragnet surveillance on law abiding Americans–not just phone records, but also medical records, purchases and others
Todd interrupted Wyden as he talked about back door searches to prove he didn’t know what the fuck Wyden was talking about (he believed it entailed getting records without court review in an emergency). Later, having been told that the government was reading the emails of innocent Americans without a warrant and possibly collecting bulk records of their purchases, but proven ignorant about what that means, he asked Wyden if there was anything else that would make us feel insecure about our privacy.
Ron Wyden implied today that the government is collecting bulk records of our purchases (almost certainly in search of our beauty supply and pressure cooker purchases).
But revealing critical details like this is not what Chuck Todd believes Senators are for. Their job is to determine guilt or innocence on the Sunday shows.