Michael McAuliff and Sabrina Siddiqui of Huffington Post moseyed over to Capitol Hill today and uncovered something interesting. At least three Republican senators who helped torpedo Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey's compromise proposal to stiffen background checks for gun purchases are among the loudest cheerleaders for the NSA's wiretapping program. The common theme? They'd previously echoed the NRA shibboleth that Manchin-Toomey would ultimately lead to the government taking away our guns. And yet, they support an NSA program that is several times more invasive.
The logic leap starts at the very top.
"This bill is a clear overreach that will predominantly punish and harass our neighbors, friends, and family," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who voted against proceeding to debate the issue of gun control.HuffPo also talked to Richard Shelby and Lindsey Graham, who expressed similar sentiments. Shelby claimed that if the NSA ever managed to peep in on his conversations by mistake, he wasn't concerned about it because "I'm not doing anything wrong." And yet, he managed to say with a straight face that he opposes any measure that amounted to "tinkering" with the bill of rights. This guy used to be a Dem?
But on Tuesday, the Kentucky Republican defended the controversial NSA surveillance programs that sweep up data on phone calls and Internet activities, essentially making the case that the efforts are justified and legal.
"What is clear from this information released by the [director of National Intelligence] is that each of these programs is authorized by law, overseen by Congress and the courts and subject to ongoing and rigorous oversight," McConnell said.
"Given the scope of these programs, it's understandable that many would be concerned about issues related to privacy," he added, but concluded that they were "lawful programs created to protect the American people."
And Graham claimed that terrorists who "want to destroy our way of life" aren't the same thing as "someone who's mentally disturbed and goes into a school." This guy is supposedly one of the saner Republicans from the South?
About the only reason this kind of thinking makes any kind of sense at all is that PRISM was actually started under Bush.