Privacy SOS

Former Wyden staffer alarmed by officials’ ‘repeated insinuation’ that NSA critics don’t care about national security

Jennifer Hoelzer, former deputy chief of staff for Senator Ron Wyden, penned a blog this week at TechDirt in which she describes her (former) insider's view of the government's response to the Edward Snowden NSA revelations.

Today, she spoke with DemocracyNow!.

As President Obama proposed a series of changes to reform the government’s surveillance policies and programs, we speak to Jennifer Hoelzer, the former deputy chief of staff for Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, a longtime critic of the Obama administration for using a secret interpretation of the USA PATRIOT Act to allow the NSA to conduct domestic surveillance. "Unfortunately Edward Snowden was the only means by which we have been able to have this debate," Hoelzer says. "We, working for Senator Wyden, did everything to try to encourage the administration to bring these facts to light. We’re not talking about sources and methods, we’re not talking about sensitive materials, we’re talking about what they believed the law allows them to do." Meanwhile, The Guardian newspaper has revealed the National Security Agency has a secret backdoor into its vast databases to search for email and phone calls of U.S. citizens without a warrant. According to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, NSA operatives can hunt for individual Americans’ communications using their name or other identifying information.

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