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Phone logs

Posted: June 6, 2013 9:45 a.m.
Updated: June 7, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Recent revelations that the government is carrying out secret domestic surveillance programs on businesses, coming on the heels of other snooping incidents by the Justice Department, are chilling and go to the very basic tenets of freedom in this country. The serious nature of this surveillance is highlighted by the fact that many members of both parties -- and they seldom seem to agree on anything -- are aghast at some of the things that are happening.

In short, Uncle Sam is requiring a Verizon subsidiary to turn over phone logs of businesses calling abroad or even within the United States. This kind of thing goes back to the Bush administration and continues today. We readily acknowledge that with terrorism being a constant threat, that there are many specific  instances in which such intrusions are warranted and necessary for the national security. But blanket orders on business communications seems a bit over the top.

News reports indicate that for years, two Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Mark Udall, have been concerned about the differences between how the public perceives its government operating under the Patriot Act and what Uncle Sam is actually doing. Republicans are now joining in the chorus of concern. If there’s one thing that is parallel along American history, it is that the government will deceive -- or even lie to -- the American people. More information about this program needs to be released and somebody needs to answer lots of questions.

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