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The week that was

June 9, 2013
Minot Daily News

IS BIG BROTHER ALWAYS WATCHING? The news that the federal government is conducting at least two secret surveillance programs is just the latest in a long line of recent revelations that have us wondering:?Is anything U.S. citizens do off-limits anymore? The National Security Agency has been collecting the phone records of millions of U.S. phone customers. Officials said the programs are legal and limited in scope, and they are necessary to gather intelligence on potential enemies of the United States. Officials also complained that the disclosure of the secret programs will harm the country's efforts to thwart terrorist threats in the future. But some politicians and citizens have questioned why the government needs such blanket access to personal information, including audio, video, email, photographic and Internet search usage of foreign nations overseas. There's also the possibility of a third secret program that collects credit card transaction records. Lawmakers differed broadly in their reaction to the news. "I could care less if they're looking at my phone records. ... If you're not getting a call from a terrorist organization, you got nothing to worry about," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. But Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., disagreed. "The National Security Agency's seizure and surveillance of virtually all of Verizon's phone customers is an astounding assault on the Constitution," Paul said. As for us, let's just say the whole thing makes us wary of everything we're doing, including writing this column.



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