Fox News Latino
by Alberto Gonzales
June 14, 2013
One of the painful lessons of the 9/11 attacks was the realization that our government was not only unable to connect the dots of information that might have allowed it to prevent the attacks — we were unable to collect the dots. The collection of intelligence information thus became a priority, and the Bush Administration took measures to protect America against extraordinary and evolving threats.
As has been widely reported, former presidential candidate Obama and then-Senator Biden were critical of the terrorism policies of the Bush Administration. However, the Obama Administration has continued to use many of the same extraordinary measures to detect and prevent further attacks. The recent revelation that the government obtained customer telephone records from Verizon, and collected certain email communications has raised concerns our government has gone too far in the name of security.
The serious threats against our country justify extraordinary collection efforts. However, those efforts must be constrained by the checks and balances necessary to safeguard our constitutional liberties.
At the outset, it is important to remember that the public still does not know, and may never know, all the details of the government’s classified activities. So it is difficult to assess fully its legality and effectiveness. We do know that telephone records were obtained under the constraints of a court order from a federal judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court; select members of Congress had either been previously briefed or were given an opportunity to be briefed on the government’s actions; and these activities were done pursuant to authority granted by Congress.