Meet the Press   |  March 30, 2014

How Will Privacy Policy Change Impact Americans?

Sen. Ron Wyden visits Meet the Press to discuss the White House's plan to cease the NSA's bulk collection of phone data.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> welcome back. it was almost an oh, by the way part of the president's trip oversea, the future of the government spying program is at stake. president obama announced his plan to end is the nsa's bulk collection of u.s. phone records in a move welcomed by many democrats an even some republicans. i'm joined by democratic senator ron wyden of oregon, one of the nsa's toughest critics. welcome to "meet the press." quickly go through the president's basic refors. no more bulk phone records will remain at the phone companies. nsa will no longer collect and hold these records. unless an emergency, officials must obtain a court order . is this enough to win the credibility back of the american people ?

>> this starts towards what ben franklin had in mind which is making sure that we can have have security without without sacrificing our liberties. now, there's certainly more to do. for example, i believe the president ought to make the transition right away to ending bulk phone records --

>> on thursday he signed another court order approve package bulk collection for another 90 days while you guys decide. patrick leahy said stop doing this. you would say stop signing these orders right now.

>> right now. second we've got to the fix this back door search loophole in the foreign interrogation surveillance act. what this is this allow the government to look at the e-mails of law abiding americans. that needs to be fixed. and then i believe strongly we ought to ban all dragnet surveillance on law abiding americans, not just phone records but also medical records , purchases and others.

>> why should i feel comfortable of corporations like verizon and at&t holding these records? why should i feel more comfortable that they're doing it over the government?

>> what the government has been doing is running a federal human relations database. when the government has the information how called, when you called they know a lot about your private life .

>> so does verizon and google.

>> there ought to be tough privacy standards there, as well. now, the phone companies, of course, have a long history of dealing with court orders , and as you mentioned, that's a key part of the president's program. we're certainly going to be watchdogging the way the phone companies handle this.

>> edward snowden has praised this, as well saying it's a good first step. where are you on snowden? is he a whistleblower, a criminal? if he's brought back to the united states should charges be brought against him?

>> chuck i decided a long time ago, if somebody was charged criminally, i wasn't going to be doing running commentary. but the bottom line is, this is a debate that shouldn't have started that way. it should have been started.

>> did he commit a crime.

>> i think that's something for lawyers. you're in the senate. you cannot tell me whether he committed a crime?

>> i'm not a prosecutor. i'm not a prosecutor. i can tell you years ago when i was in the house, i asked a tobacco coexecutiving whether nicotine was addictive. they were under oath and they said no and the prosecutor said they couldn't prove intent. here's the bottom line . the american people deserve straight information from the intelligence leadership. if the american people don't get it, you can bet there will be other situations like this.

>> you were the first one, you sort of made public what you did there with james clapper . some people thought clapper should have been brought up on charges that he technically lied under oath to congress. he used weasel words . it took him awhile to apologize for those comments. you had to bring this up. is there anything else we don't know that you know that would somehow make the american public feel insecure about their privacy?

>> first of all, i believe that we can make sure that liberty and security are not mutually exclusive . we can have both. that's what ben franklin talked about.

>> is there anything else out there we don't know the about that would be violating our privacy?

>> we need to make those reforms i just outlined. what was troubling about what james clapper did is he wouldn't even correct it after the fact. in other words, this issue has been put in the public square not by the congress but by ineffective intelligence leader. they stated something in a public hearing that was flag grantley inaccurate. do you still have confidence in clapper?

>> i think we need an upgrade in the intelligence leadership. the new man nominated for the nsa admiral rogers is understands he has a big rebuilding job to do.

>> senator ron wyden , thanks for