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Former President George W. Bush Defends PRISM
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When asked about surveillance and the spying program that began under George W. Bush’s administration, the Huffington Post reported that the former president commented, “I put that program in place to protect the country. One of the certainties was that civil liberties were guaranteed.”

PRISM is a national security electronic surveillance program. It has been operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007. PRISM itself is a government code name for a data collection effort.  The program is operated under the supervision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Its existence was leaked by the now infamous NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden claimed that the extent of mass data collection was greater than the public knew and included ‘dangerous’ and ‘criminal’ activities in law.

  
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According to the Washington Post, PRISM is the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports. The program has received a lot of criticism, but as former president George Bush states, “I think there needs to be a balance, and as the president explained, there is a proper balance.” US government officials have disputed some stories and publications that sensationalized and criminalized the program. Simultaneously, it has defended the program by asserting that PRISM can’t be used on civilians without a warrant, and that PRISM receives independent oversight from the executive, judicial and legislative branches. President Obama commented, “the NSA’s data gather practices constitute a circumscribed narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people.”

The main controversy over the electronic surveillance and data gathering is the question of the existence of an implied constitutional right to privacy. Additionally, many people may not feel comfortable being watched. Not all politicians agree with the program. Former presidential candidate Al Gore tweeted his dissent. He commented, “in an digital era privacy must be a priority. Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?” Supporting that line of thought, Senator Ted Cruz commented, “A disturbing pattern is emerging. The gov’t wants your DNA, prayer content and now your phone records. Where will it end?” Senator Mike Lee added, “The NSA surveillance of Verizon cell phone records illustrates why I voted against the Patriot Act.”

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