Meet the Press | January 19, 2014
>> joining me here andrea mitchell nia-malika henderson from "the washington post ," harold ford and newt gingrich . to all of you, isn't it significant that after all the hue and cry , after all these revelations by snowden , the president has in effect ended this debate by saying, these programs are going to stick around. i need them to keep the country safe, newt gingrich .
>> well, that's a very significant speech in the sense that here's a guy whose bias will be for civil libertarians but after five years of daily briefings in if the white house as said, you, you know, the world is really dangerous and we need these tools to be safe. it's very hard to imagine fundamental changes in the program against president obama 's wishes.
>> yeah, i mean, that's a question, reformers are they going to say no, we're going to challenge these programs and stop this bulk collection of data?
>> they're already saying they want to stop the bulk collection. the biggest change he made was the government would no longer store the elected metadata, all the phone records but hasn't said how that's going to happen. the phone companies are not equip theed to do the kinds of instant searches. they don't have that data mining . he's putting it on congress and the other thing that nobody's really talking about here is that in june 2015 , this whole thing goes away unless congress reauthorizes it. it was sunseted.
>> all the more reason for congress to step up and have a real debate. look, be cat's out of the bag on a lot of stuff. go down there and say what you're for.
>> that's right. they're calling for him to do that. it sounds like a big about speech, small changes more to come with a congress that is so far hasn't been very productive with much of anything. there is a movement i had i in the house for ending this entire program, right? it got a lot of votes actually in the house side. but a lot of division in terms of where to go on this. you had the leaders of the top two committees feinstein and rogers come out and say basically rubber stamp what the president said, but it definitely feels like the devil is in the details.
>> i was in congress when 9/11 happened. there was a lot of angst. we need to remind ourselves or be reminded people were worried we were not connecting dots. people were worried there was intelligence and evidence not being shared amongst various agencies that the government was not lis nick to the people it should have been listening to. so we need to put all of this in context. i hope when they will have the debate someone will make clear we kill more terrorists using drones. people may mot like drones but it's a substitute for american soldiers being on the ground. two, learning more and more about terrorist plots. i live in new york city . i'm thank fal we have programs that do this. i'm not a snowden fan. he should come back home and face the music here like -- because i believe what he did was break the law. but at the same time, are if we can answer the one question that andrea laid out, where do you store the data or who should store it.
>> talking to privacy advocates, critics of these programs say the reason this is so significant is if you continue to allow the government to collect all this data and basically create a single database, there is the potential for abuse. you know? this country's been through watergate, been through hoover at the fbi. we know the kinds of excesses that canning happen. you don't want that potential there.
>> first of all, if you look at the irs scandal, we had plenty of opportunity for abuse with paper. i mean, the power of the government is enormous. that's why as a conservative i like smaller government. but the question is, are if you draw a sharp line and say for the purpose of defending america, you can learn these things, none of them it can migrate over to the criminal justice system and you should make it a felony. this is why snowden has to be tried. it should be a tourmaline.
>> meaning if they used information for purposes of going after, i agree 100%, 100%.
>> we'll continue this. you all will be back and i'm going to talk to the intelligence chairs you mentioned feinstein and rogers as well as getting some reaction from the digital world , as well. but