This could be a winning issue for the Republicans. NSA leaker Edward Snowden remains an ambiguous figure — personally, I see him as about 75% villain, 25% hero, and I do have questions about what he has given to America’s rivals — but there is no doubt that his disclosures have caused due alarm across the country. The sheer scope of the National Security Agency’s ability to scoop up our private communications information is troubling, and raises more questions regarding President Obama’s campaign promises.
Today, the Republican National Committee officially and overwhelmingly voted to end programs that scoop up Americans’ private data, according to Time.
In the latest indication of a growing libertarian wing of the GOP, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution Friday calling for an investigation into the “gross infringement” of Americans’ rights by National Security Agency programs that were revealed by Edward Snowden.
The resolution also calls on on Republican members of Congress to enact amendments to the Section 215 law that currently allows the spy agency to collect records of almost every domestic telephone call. The amendment should make clear that “blanket surveillance of the Internet activity, phone records and correspondence — electronic, physical, and otherwise — of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court,” the resolution reads.
The trick, as always, it to keep tabs on legitimate threats while leaving the rest of us alone.
This is an issue that probably unites most social conservatives and libertarians within the GOP and provides a means of outreach to younger voters. Social cons find government spying in the age of Obama deeply troubling, while libertarians just tend to be rightly skeptical of government in general and especially of its penchant for invading privacy. Polls show that younger voters who have soured on Obama tend to cite the NSA as a major reason.