The Wall Street Journal explains how spying on U.S. citizens has "become institutionalized yet not so well known to the public under laws passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks." Best of all, despite the uproar by civil liberties groups, "most members of Congress defended them Thursday as a way to root out terrorism."
"Everyone should just calm down and understand this isn't anything that is brand new,'' said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), who added that the phone-data program has "worked to prevent'' terrorist attacks.
Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said the program is lawful and that it must be renewed by the secret U.S. court every three months. She said the revelation about Verizon, reported by the London-based newspaper the Guardian, seemed to coincide with its latest renewal.
Civil-liberties advocates slammed the NSA's actions. "The most recent surveillance program is breathtaking. It shows absolutely no effort to narrow or tailor the surveillance of citizens," said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert at George Washington University.
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