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For more on whether -- should be tried under the Espionage Act or whether laws fundamentally.
Violate the Fourth Amendment when used to spy on all Americans without a warrant.
We're joined by our first guest colonel Cedric Leighton he spent 26 years as an intelligence officer in the air force.
Deputy training director at the National Security Agency.
And Thomas Drake former NSA employee and -- war.
Who face charges of violating the Espionage Act a case that eventually.
Tell them thank you both for being here and I'm going to start of army colonel -- you.
That this appears to be a -- -- he's being variously described as idea.
As -- -- -- are as -- something very pejorative.
But what we do know right now is that he is a -- -- your reaction to these develop.
And since Wednesday -- last.
Well there is so obviously a lot that's going on Lou and of course unique aspect of this is that he's revealed his own identity and that.
Makes it even more interesting from me legal standpoint as well as from an intelligence.
-- collection standpoint and -- an intelligence clean up standpoint.
-- what the intelligence community has to do now is figure out exactly what mr.
Snowden has done.
And how much damage she's actually caused two NSA and any of the other agencies that can you eventually be involved can you assess.
Your your best assessment of how much damage little greatly.
And damaging to an -- into its mission.
It's potentially considerable and the reason I say that Lou is because.
I this is one of the hearts of NSA's mission because.
We're focused so much now in this cyber age on everything that goes on on the Internet.
And -- the basic thing that has happened is since the end of the Cold War NSA has realized that -- communications that are no longer the big thing.
But -- is and that's why that's why it becomes a huge deal for NSA and its collection apparatus.
-- me turn you.
Does it strike you does that resonate with you from.
-- do you sense similar motivations.
To your own case.
And water almost twelve years ago I was eyewitness and discovered evidence that the United States -- at the highest levels was subverting its own constitution willfully.
In direct violation of the Fourth Amendment and the vice.
Act and so.
I knew that I was -- could not stand by and watch this -- in my own constitution -- so I decided take action for within the system over a number of years.
So yes it -- it just simply it's twelve years later.
Of what was already started in the post 9/11 security space.
You heard -- -- in the Senate Intelligence Committee senator van Dianne Feinstein say it's perfectly legal.
And -- it's been approved by that is operation prism.
-- been approved by the Justice Department.
Then in fact succeeded to buy all of the relevant committees of course.
-- what's what do you think.
Well the question is do we trust what the government says.
We certainly couldn't trust -- after 9/11 because there and direct violation of the Fourth Amendment which had actually criminal sanctions.
So here it is almost twelve years later do we still trust them and do we really want the government having this much knowledge information.
Or the temptation.
Even under what they have asserted our legal protections.
The temptation to simply go trolling and diving for other information.
Well as you say simply trolling in diving.
-- -- we have heard that and I want you to respond to this if you will colonel.
That they have vote blunted.
And stopped altogether.
Terrorist attacks and otherwise would have taken place.
Where do you look for the balance there and -- before return to the -- Meehan shooters to complete your thought on that issue.
There there are member a number of enabling acts were passed -- -- in the Patriot Act woods essentially made legal what have been patently illegal under the constitution the Fourth Amendment.
And so I understand what the -- as saying in terms of the need to protect the country.
The question is how far do you trade off liberty for for security and that's the fundamental question.
Colonel -- you get the last word on them on that fundamental question as Tom put it.
Right into the basic thing Lou is that we have to make that balance and we have to make that balance in the modern age I have never seen.
Any willful violation of -- -- of the constitution or of any of the laws -- we are sworn to uphold during my 26 years in the air force little -- my time with NSA.
Now there are exceptions to that there might possibly be but not my personal experience and I've dealt with all of the people that have been in senior positions in those agencies.
And I can tell you that you know the one thing that they do care about.
Is the safety and security of Americans and they care about their liberty in order to make that security tenable goal.
And that's really the difference I think in the debate and then in the way that we look at these things.
And I do want to point out that.
Thomas Drake in becoming a whistle -- Over a program it was an Internet surveillance program.
And exploitation program.
Some years later after charges were filed against him -- point of fact the Department of Defense Inspector General.
Well pointed out that he was exactly right on the issues here and others as well in that case so.
There are as you point out -- exceptions than Thomas straight.
Appears to be among us.
Salute colonel Lleyton thank you very much Thomas -- we thank you -- hope you'll come back as we are trying to explore and understand better.
What is happening with.
-- these stories of surveillance and perhaps abuse of power by the government.
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