Robert Bennett: NSA key to protecting U.S. interests

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  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    July 9, 2013 9:45 p.m.

    The NSA is also key to implementing a police state in America. As a former NSA official recently said, the U.S. has create a "turn-key" police state with all of this infrastructure. All that is needed now is for someone to turn the key.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    July 9, 2013 2:36 p.m.

    You know how I know something is bad. When a hardcore liberal like myself agrees 100% with Mike Richards......

  • Nosea Forest Grove, OR
    July 8, 2013 10:05 p.m.

    So the government constantly spying on all its' citizens is really the government looking for the welfare of all its' citizens? Then why does it always legislate and cater to the benefit of the 1% to the detriment of the rest? Our government is now as tyrannical as any that has existed, both in seeking greater power and in abusing that power. When the wicked reign the people mourn, and I for one and mourning.

  • Notorious Lehi, UT
    July 8, 2013 3:51 p.m.

    And he wonders why he was voted out..

  • UtahVoter Spanish Fork, UT
    July 8, 2013 3:06 p.m.

    I couldn't disagree more strongly with Senator Bennett on these issues but I am very grateful that he no longer holds Federal office. In the last decade we have overturned nearly every needed protection on Federal agencies that was put in place in the 1970s. Why were those reforms enacted in the 1970s? Because after Watergate and the Pentagon Papers and McNamara admitting that the DOD regularly lied to transient elected officials, Congress finally grew a spine and demanded truth from the FBI, NSA, and the CIA -- and what they found was shocking. Numerous entrenched bureacrats and mid-level operators of "black ops" were spying on all Americans and abusing those they didn't like -- various minorities, peace groups, religions, etc. The FBI was found to be using "poison pill" fabricated letters to try to cause divorces in groups they felt threatened their views. The CIA was operating in 60 more countries than divulged to Congress and implicated in assassinations they'd regularly denied any part of. Etc., etc. Back then Federal departments were gaining such unregulated power by threatening "communism". Now it's the same arguments but the word "terrorism" is used instead.

  • David King Layton, UT
    July 8, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    @LDS Liberal

    So far, yours is the most liked comment in this thread. Good for you for standing up for so long against government encroachment of civil liberties. But perhaps we would be more successful in curtailing these programs if those of us opposing them on the right and the left could join together instead of constantly sniping at one another and trying to score political points. I think the positive reception of your comment shows me two things. Firstly, a lot of people appreciate that you have opposed the Patriot Act and similar measures for a long time. Secondly, most of the people who comment here still seem to thing that endlessly repeating "Bush did it first" will somehow improve our civil liberty situation.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 8, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    There are many who ignore that we have a Constitution. There are even some who believe that a political platform can permit innocents to be destroyed.

    Hatch wanted money from the federal government to come to Utah. Bennett supported federal money being used for non-authorized "duties". Some, who live out-of-state, ignore the waste and the corruption within their own states and the wealth that they've accumulated by letting people in other countries work for them at below-minimum wages.

    The corruption is not just the government, but it extends to the people who live off the government by taking money for government supported "jobs". It extends to people who live off the near slave-wages that their companies pay for work in other countries. It extends to politicians who think that their duty is to "bring home the bacon", whether that "bacon" is authorized by the Constitution or not.

    Finger-pointers who tell us that money is more important than lives when we vote have their priorities totally reversed.

    Employees and business owners who live off the government have their priorities reversed.

    Bob Bennett has his priorities reversed.

  • trimtab Portland, OR
    July 8, 2013 12:41 p.m.

    It's easy to imagine why Bush said anyone in his position would do what he did because every administration seems to follow the same policy with respect to foreign affairs, so it becomes sort of "conventional wisdom".

    Too many have implicit faith in our leaders and are overawed by the authority of the oval office, and fail to scrutinize what these people do.

    When it comes to basic human rights as defined in the US Constitution or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights--which the US does not fully endorse--there are no shades of gray.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    July 8, 2013 12:31 p.m.

    @LDS Liberal

    Could it have anything to do with the fact that Mr. Bennett was an R?


  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 8, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    @Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah

    Mr. Bennett makes me ashamed of elected officials. He swore an oath to protect the Constitution and he is advocating the opposite.


    So then,
    Why did YOU vote for him every election for 18 solid years? [1992-2010]

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 8, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    "Days after President François Hollande sternly told the United States to stop spying on its allies, the newspaper Le Monde disclosed on Thursday that France has its own large program of data collection, which sweeps up nearly all the data transmissions, including telephone calls, e-mails and social media activity, that come in and out of France."
    (NY Times)

    I tend to agree with SG in SLC. Very mixed feelings. How to balance security and privacy. How to prevent/deter govt. overreach and corruption. Whose going to oversee the overseers?

    What do you think of the large data collecting facility to open in UT?

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 8, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    According to an account provided to the Associated Press by US officials, Russia’s internal intelligence service conveyed a message about Tsarnaev to the FBI on March 4, 2011. The Russians said that Tsarnaev was a follower of radical Islam and had changed drastically during the past year. They asked whether American intelligence had any further information on him.

    The FBI then opened an inquiry into Tsarnaev’s activities. Because of this, his name was added to a Department of Homeland Security watch list used to screen people at airports and other border checkpoints: the Treasury Enforcement Communications System, or TECS.

    FBI agents found nothing on Tsarnaev in their existing files. They investigated whether he had visited online sites promoting radical Islam. Eventually they interviewed Tsarnaev and his family members. They found nothing connecting him to terrorism and asked Russia for more detail. When none was forthcoming the FBI closed the review in June 2011, according to the AP account.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 8, 2013 10:10 a.m.

    I've been fighting this for 12 years.

    Guys on the far-right Republican side [i.e., Mike Richards and ilk] have called me un-patriotic and un-American.

    The hypocrite isn't Sen. Bob Bennett - he's still advocating it.
    The real hypocrites are the one changing their tune now that the OTHER guy does it too.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    I have mixed feelings about the surveillance and intelligence-gathering activities of our federal government. There is a fine line between legitimately protecting our national security interests and using Orwellian "Big Brother" tactics to keep the citizenry "in line". The best way to prevent crossing that line is to demand accountability, but intelligence-gathering activities, by their nature, do not lend themselves to effective ways of ensuring accountability, because disclosing the scope and details of intelligence-gathering activities to "watchdog" individuals or groups in Congress (our elected representatives), or to anyone else outside of the Intelligence Community, significantly increases the risk of compromising said intelligence-gathering activities. Making intelligence-gathering activities effective and accountable seem to be mutually-exclusive goals, at least to some extent.

    That said, Robert Bennett makes an excellent point as he alludes to the fact that most U.S. citizens are woefully ignorant of the frequency, scope, and nature of the threats to U.S. national security. Benjamin Franklin was a wise man, but his famous quote, “they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety” is simplistic, given today’s complex global situation.

  • Wm. VanderWerff Draper, Utah
    July 8, 2013 8:14 a.m.

    Mr. Bennett is clueless when it comes to understanding the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Apparently he didn't bother to read them, before he swore to honor and defend them, when he was sworn in as a Senator. Each time he offers his opinion, on just about any political topic, I am so pleased that he was unseated and a true constitutionalist (Sen. Mike Lee) is representing Utah in his place.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 8, 2013 7:26 a.m.

    No government has the right to rise up against the people who give it power and then to use that usurped power to destroy the liberties of the people.

    In America, the people are in charge. In America, the people set the rules. In America the government works for the people.

    The ineptness of the government is unbelievable. The government was warned by Russia about the Boston Bombers, yet the government did nothing. The government has violated the rights of 330,000,000 citizens to "stop" twenty incidents. Which incidents? Who was involved? What was stopped? Show us the convictions.

    This government has become the seat of lies and deception. It is anything but the kind of government that the people instituted.

    Mr. Bennett makes me ashamed of elected officials. He swore an oath to protect the Constitution and he is advocating the opposite. He is advocating the abandonment of the 4th Amendment for political expediency.

    The government cannot "spy" on us unless a judge has signed a warrant after that judge has been shown probable cause that a crime has been committed. Does Bennett believe that 330 million people are guilty of a crime?

  • David King Layton, UT
    July 8, 2013 2:05 a.m.

    If the NSA's collection of meta-data is so useful in preventing terrorism, how did National Intelligence Director James Clapper forget the existence of the program back in March? When asked at that time by Senator Ron Wyden if the NSA was collecting any sort of data on millions of Americans, Clapper said "no", or at least "not wittingly". He now says that testimony was "clearly erroneous". His reason for not mentioning the program back then? "I simply didn't think of [that section] of the Patriot Act".

    That seems to leave two possibilities. Either James Clapper lied to Congress to keep the program secret, or he doesn't really have a handle on who the government spies on or when. Neither is too encouraging for a man we call Director of National Intelligence.