Earlier this week, the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court upheld the U.S. government’s program that allows it to collect all the telephone records it desires from American phone companies.
The government says such measures are needed to detect the activities of known and suspected terrorists. But civil libertarians question the broad nature of the action.
Alex Abdo, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union National Security Project, says national security and citizens’ rights to privacy should not be in conflict.
"Our rights give strength to the nation and they allow for an adequate defense of the nation," he says. "Where we went wrong in the years after 9/11 was to buy into the false dichotomy between the two and to try to sacrifice liberty in service to national security."
Abdo spoke to Lake Effect from his office in Manhattan.