Surveillance and the War on Terror
In light of recent revelations that the US government is collecting phone record data and taking other measures to track communications, including those by American citizens, Loebsack was asked his thoughts on the government doing these things without a warrant.
“We’ve got to protect our individual liberties,” Loebsack said. He said a balance needs to be struck between fighting the war on terror and respecting freedom. Loebsack has been briefed on the PRISM program, which tracks Internet usage, but could not discuss details about the program.
“That’s all I can say about it,” Loebsack said. He intends to “stay on top” of these programs and try to protect civil liberties. He does think this is a good time to reevaluate America’s surveillance measures and capabilities.
Loebsack defended the use of some surveillance to track down potential threats. What he did not care for was the scope and breadth of the surveillance, and believes that America’s national security agencies should understand, and respect, the “difference between al-Qaeda and grandma.”
In staying with the conflict theme, Loebsack was asked about the Obama Administration’s decision to arm Syrian rebels.
“I have a lot of concerns about getting involved in this conflict,” Loebsack said. He believes there should be a full discussion about what the administration is doing. Reports have indicated that some of the Syrian rebels have pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda. According to Loebsack, these groups may not be the ones that will receive American weapons.
“There are a lot of different groups in Syria,” Loebsack said. His primary concern is where the weapons will go, and in whose arms they will fall.