(The opinions expressed on this page are not necessarily those of the New Hampshire Journal. The Journal welcomes opinions on all sides of issues and from all candidates for office.)
By DAN INNIS
The first responsibility of our federal government is to protect the United States and its people. One of the reasons I am running for Congress is to make sure our military and intelligence services have the tools they need to protect our way of life, and the fundamental liberties that define us as a people.
Throughout this campaign, I have shared my deep concerns about the shocking overreach of the National Security Agency in gathering personal information from American citizens. I’ve criticized Frank Guinta for voting to reauthorize the Patriot Act, and for ignoring the importance of this issue.
During my recent debate with Frank Guinta on WGIR-AM’s NH Today, I repeated my belief that the Patriot Act violates the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendments to the Constitution. Guinta responded by saying “You either stand with the terrorists, or you stand with freedom and protecting Americans.”
The Union Leader called it “a low blow from Guinta” and a “really lousy debate point to suggest that those who want to protect Americans from government surveillance are on the side of the terrorists.” The Nashua Telegraph called Guinta’s response “unfair and ignorant”, and said “Guinta completely missed the point about patriotism.”
Giving federal authorities unlimited surveillance is not just wrong, it’s ineffective. We don’t suffer from a lack of raw intelligence. We have problems sifting through the enormous amounts of data we already gather in order to recognize and address threats in time. Adding the cell phone and email records of 300 million innocent Americans onto the pile does not make us safer, but it does violate our right to privacy.
We live in a serious world, with serious problems. Our current President’s inept foreign policy shows the price we pay for not having serious solutions. “You either stand with the terrorists, or you stand with freedom” just doesn’t cut it.
Earlier this year, I outlined a plan that would enhance our security and our privacy. It would rein in the NSA, stop warrantless backdoor surveillance of American citizens, and bring the controversial PRISM program under legislative oversight. My plan would protect the Internet from government controls such as those found in SOPA or CISPA. And it would limit the “emergency situation” loophole that the Obama Administration uses to justify nearly unlimited surveillance. I invite you to read more at InnisforCongress.com.
There are other approaches, and people can disagree on where we draw the line on limiting government surveillance. New Hampshire deserves Representatives in Congress who are willing to have that debate and take a stand for liberty.
(Dan Innis is a Republican candidate for Congress in New Hampshire 1st District, the former Dean of the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire, and the owner of The Hotel Portsmouth. He can be reached at www.InnisForCongress.com)