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Senator Mark Udall (D. CO) is keeping up the fight for serious NSA reform:

FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2011 file photo, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Some members of Congress are making appointments at CIA headquarters to view graphic photos of Osama bin Laden's corpse. But the American people might
Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Sunday called on the government to curb the National Security Agency's spying abilities.

"The arguments for the status quo, George, fell apart this week in Washington," Udall said on ABC's "This Week." "This is an invasion of privacy. If you take the business records of every American, of all of our phone calls, you can get a pretty good idea of what people are doing, based on when they call, who they call, from where they call." - TPM, 12/22/13

Udall also had this to say:

Udall also said the federal government should adopt all 46 of the NSA reform recommendations delivered to the White House last week by an internal review panel of lawyers appointed by President Barack Obama.

The panel, reviewing how the NSA conducts electronic surveillance, recommended removing the federal government’s capacity to collect Americans’ phone records. - Denver Post, 12/22/13

Udall is also urging the White House to take up all of the NSA reform recommendations that Udall and his colleagues have provided:

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 15: Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., speaks with fellow committee members before the start of the Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing on Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., nomination for reappointment to the grade of general and to be commander of the International Security Assistance Force, and to be commander of U.S. Forces, Afghanistan, on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Udall pointed to the 46 recommendations contained in the White House panel's report. They include the establishment of an independent privacy panel, the presence of public advocates at secret surveillance court hearings, and better protections for whistleblowers.

As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Udall has long been aware of the NSA's surveillance programs, but until Snowden made the highly classified programs public, Udall was forbidden to discuss them. Nevertheless, he said he feels like he has "been shouting from the wilderness" for years about the NSA violations of privacy.

"It's time now to have real reform, not a veneer of reform," Udall told host George Stephanopoulos, and "to rebuild the American people's trust in our intelligence community." - Huffington Post, 12/22/13

Udall also discussed the Fourth Amendment and Edward Snowden:

"It doesn't fit the standard in the Fourth Amendment of unreasonable search and seizure," he said. "There has been no abuse, but the potential for abuse is always there, and Americans have always aired on the side of privacy."

Udall did say he believes former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who exposed most of the programs, should return to the United States to face charges.

"He broke his oath; he broke the law. Come home; make the case that somehow there was a higher purpose here," Udall said. - Politico, 12/22/13

Here's the transcript from Udall's interview on This Week:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get a response now from Senator Mark Udall, senior Democrat of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senator, thank you for joining us this morning. You just heard Chairman Rogers right there, he says he's not ready to sign on to this idea of sending the phone records, having them stay with private phone companies rather than having the federal government collect them. Your response?

UDALL: The arguments for the status quo, George, fell apart this week in Washington. I do find it interesting that Chairman Rogers, whom I respect, (inaudible) my work, when the presidential panel agrees with his point of view, he says it's a great panel. When it doesn't agree, then he says, well, it's manned by three law professors, as if those law professors don't have an understanding of the constitutionality of what we've been doing.

I would point out that the panel was actually manned by people who are highly respected, who have deep experience in the role of intelligence and surveillance and national security.

I get up every day, George, as a member of the Intelligence Committee and Armed Services Committee, to do two things. Protect the American people and protect the Bill of Rights.

The NSA is overreached. We need to quickly move to adopt the 46 recommendations of the president's panel.


UDALL: And Judge -- I think we need to look at all 46 -- I'm still studying the report myself. But there are many, many important reforms. It's time on to have real reform, not a veneer of reform. You know why? Because we have got to rebuild the American people's trust in our intelligence committee so we can be safe, so we can meet the threats that are all over the world. But we don't do that by bulk data collection that violates the privacy of Americans, that's unconstitutional, and has shown to not be effective.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you heard Chairman Rogers about the constitutionality as well, he says, what is it, 16 other judges have said that the program is constitutional, and have consistently approved it.

UDALL: It will wind its way through the courts. But it's hard for me to believe and it's hard for lots of Americans to believe with whom I talk that these general warrants, if you will, and orders to collect every day, tens of millions Americans' phone records, is somehow unconstitutional. It does not fit the standard in the Fourth Amendment of unreasonable search and seizure. You have to have probable cause -- by the way, these are innocent Americans, and I would counter Chairman Rogers' point. This is an invasion of privacy. If you take the business records of every American, of all of our phone calls, you can get a pretty good idea of what people are doing, based on when they call, who they call, from where they call.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Even though the panel has said that there's no abuse of this program.

UDALL: George, you're right. There has been no abuse. But the potential for abuse is always there, and Americans have always erred on the side of protecting our privacy.

The heart of our belief in freedom is the freedom to be left alone, and part of that freedom to be left alone is privacy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about this question of amnesty for Edward Snowden?

UDALL: I think that Edward Snowden ought to come back to the United States. He ought to stand on his own two feet. He ought to make his case. History will judge him in a however way historians and the American people decide to make that call, but I'm focused on reforming in a fundamental set of ways the way in which the NSA operates. That's where our attention ought to be focused right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, when you're saying he should come home, you think he should face charges?

UDALL: I do. I do. He broke his oath. He broke the law. Come home, make the case that somehow there was a higher purpose here, but Edward Snowden ought to come back to the United States.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think we would be having this debate if it weren't for his revelations?

UDALL: That's a conundrum. That's an important question. We have a lot of wilderness here in Colorado. I feel like Senator Wyden and I have been shouting from the wilderness for a number of years about the violations of Americans' privacy conducted by the NSA.

Finally, our point of view has been affirmed, and it's now time to really fundamentally reform the way in which the NSA operates. The president's panel made that very, very clear.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And one year from now, will the federal government still be collecting Americans' phone records?

UDALL: If I have anything to say about it, no. We've got to end the bulk collection. We can still use metadata concepts, George, but when we need those phone records, the NSA ought to go to the court, ought to get an order, then get those phone records. And by the way, I think those phone records ought to be held by a third party.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Udall, thank you very much for your time this morning. Have a good Christmas.

UDALL: Thanks, George, you too. - ABC News, 12/22/13

If you would like more information about the 46 recommendations, please do contact Senator Udall's office for more details:

(202) 224-5941

Originally posted to pdc on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 09:40 AM PST.

Also republished by Colorado COmmunity and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 09:40:39 AM PST

  •  Senator Udall is up for re-election in 2014. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poopdogcomedy, wilywascal

    He's facing a field of pretty over-the-top tea baggers, so I'll be working to re-elect him.  

    I do disagree with what he says on one point, however.  I believe the program has been abused, beyond its mere existence.  How could anyone prove this, though, when you need standing and the courts will prevent you from even knowing whether you have standing to challenge them?  It has sounded from the few lawsuits so far that some are likely to be from those whose privacy was invaded without warrants, but IANAL and it seems the NSA doesn't give a fig leaf about the law anyway.

  •  Leahy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sen. Leahy: "The message to the NSA is now coming from every branch of government & from every corner of our nation: You have gone too far."

    What Americans are witnessing is politics that celebrates resentment and racism and those who wield corporate, political and financial power in the United States that thrive on the misery of others (symbolic violence) ~ Henry A. Giroux

    by anyname on Mon Dec 23, 2013 at 10:38:29 AM PST

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