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Sen. Al Franken ‘Well Aware Of’ Surveillance, Defends NSA: ‘Not About Spying On The American People’

In an interview with Minneapolis-based CBS affiliate WCCO, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) defended the NSA’s surveillance program — specifically against the notion of that the government is spying on its citizens. It’s about national security, he contended, and it’s worked.

WCCO’s Pat Kessler noted that Franken devoted much of his first term to privacy issues and that Franken said he was “very well aware of” the programs that are now making news because he was briefed on him. (He is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.)

“I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people,” the senator said.

He further added that the surveillance has been good for national security.

“I have a high level of confidence that this is used to protect us, and I know that it has been successful in preventing terrorism,” Franken said.

In 2011, Franken voted against Patriot Act reauthorization because it lacked “safeguards to protect innocent Americans’ privacy and civil liberties.” While law enforcement should be properly equipped with necessary tools, he advocated oversight in order to prevent abuse.

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