WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) released the following statement regarding President Obama’s announcement that he will work with Congress to reform and improve oversight of government surveillance programs:
Striking the right balance between protecting the privacy and civil liberties of our citizens and protecting our national security is a delicate and complex task, and I am glad the President has recognized that the NSA's practices need to be right sized in order to better achieve this equilibrium. But while the President's stated goals of ending bulk collection of data is laudable, it's hard to figure out how we do that while retaining the ability of law enforcement to probe and collect information when necessary for a specific case. The devil is certainly in the details of the implementation of these reforms, and I will be eager to hear what options are on the table and examine the possible unintended consequences of outsourcing the retention of phone and internet records.
I am glad that the President announced a new, significantly higher bar for the surveillance of foreign leaders. We should not be spying on our friends, and President Obama made it clear that the mistakes of the past, like the tapping of Chancellor Merkel's phone, will not happen again. The relationship with our allies is too important to be damaged by unnecessary political espionage.