'This Week' Roundtable: Snowden Vindicated?

Matthew Dowd, Greta Van Susteren, Bill Kristol, Donna Brazile, and Steven Rattner on the NSA surveillance report.
3:00 | 12/22/13

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Transcript for 'This Week' Roundtable: Snowden Vindicated?
We're joined by bill kristol, donna brazile and matthew dowd, steve rattner and greta va van susteren. Welcome. Both senators agree there should be no amnesty for edward snowden. In some sense, has he been vindicated? No. No illegality under the supreme court precedence. No abuse. No criminality. No -- I'm a defender of the nsa program. And I thk everyone is being very glib, it there's no evidence, you think about the program for a minute, and say, how would it be abused? 22 intelligence officers, military, et cetera, is going to get together in a room, let's look at donna brazile's phone records. It's the collect of metadata. You need to go to a judge to get a warrant to see who donna is talking to, and so, I think a lot of this is people, we need to be serious about the national security side of this and the constitutional side of it as well. Lot of glib talk about the abuse of privacy. You're shaking your head, greta. I am. Bill, you're dead wrong. It will be proven to be a wrong decision. This is 1979 supreme court decision that did say the police in this case could collect the phone records of one individual? That's right. The supreme court has reversed itself before, brown versus board of education. All you have to do is one thing, go back to the fourth amendment it's not an option, the constitution is right for people to be secure in their houses, shall not be violated. If the government thinks this information is so important, it can get it. It just has to use a warrant. There is no fear exception. Because everybody is terrified of terrorism. There's no fear exception to the constitution. If you don't like it, change the constitution. Police and crews up and down streets looking for problems. If they want to go into a house, they need a warrant. This is equivalent of police cars crewiuising up and down streets. It's the right of the people to be secure -- let me found this another way. I think this will be found to be legal. We can argue about smith versus maryland. But I'm not sure it's going to be overturned. Let me make a different distinction. You clearly have a situation where americans are uncomfortable. They feel that their privacy is being violated. I think that the president is going to draw an appropriate line, move this metadata out of the government's control but somewhere else, where it can still be accessed. The important thing about this commission part, it's more of a facelift than open heart surgery. They're recommending about the tweaks, the fundamental right of the government is -- everyone seems so much more comfortable, I wonder about this with the records being kept in a private company rather than the government. That's huge question I have, whether that's going to be a helpful thing or a hindrance thing. You asked the question, was edward snowden vindicated? I think he's been totally vindicated in this case. There's always been a balance between national security and civil liberty. We swung too much in the way of national security and the idea we can gather all of this data, and it's not just eavesdropping on a phone call. You can identify where they eat, who they sleep with, the government can do that today. I think what edward snowden did, and you asked an appropriate question to senator udall. Would we have had this debate at all? In my view, we weren't having it before now we are. When it comes to national security, there has to be a middle ground between protecting the interests of the individual and making sure we protect the nation at large, there has to be a middle ground between edward snowden and dick cheney. And I think president obama is going to have to strike the right tone when he makes a definitive statement after all of these recommendations. But I think most americans are uncomfortable the knowledge that they're learning of the search and seizure of information, and they want some accountability. But here's the dilemma, want to bring it to bill kristol. The constitution is so plain on this. If you read the plain language of the fourth amendment. Either get a warrant and you can get all of you want. Or -- or -- this has been litigated over and over again. But apparently one judge -- even the commission didn't find any legality of these programs. Do they expect this information -- they could argue they have given up privacy. The question I want to bring to you, bill kristol, you point out that there's been no abuse of this program, they also said that this surveillance program hasn't made that much of a difference in national security? Look, it's hard to judge from the outside. I'm worried as a policy matter, I think policymakers need to figure out, are we depending too much on metadata they're spending a lot of time worrying about that. I don't agree all of this. We had a big debate in congress on this in 2006 and 2007. We passed legislation in 2007. President obama is a constitutional law professor, he came to office very concerned -- this is very disappointing. I'm sorry, and then he became president of the united states. He got all of the briefings. And basically he decided, I think correctly, the balance is pretty appropriately struck. Now he's shifting entirely because of optics. No, because edward snowden -- the revelations -- we know what real abuses were. We know what the cia abuses were LIKE IN THE '60s. -- Complaining about their phone records, also, being looked at and pried upon. Look, george, the states are already taking the lead across the country. California has passed three laws to prevent online piracy. Montana has passed laws, texas. States have started to enact laws that will ensure our privacy rights are protected, while the federal government sits around and figures out what we're doing. They have never said one piece of their information they put out that says actually that true. But senator udall, that was true. He just bypassed it. He's not getting amnesty. We got to take a break. Much more roundtable is ahead. President and congress turn the

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