By Tom Howell Jr.
An Indiana congressman says there should be probable cause before the government collects any data on Americans' phone calls.
"That's basically the line in the Fourth Amendment, and that line has been crossed," Rep. Todd Rokita, a Republican, said in a radio interview on the "Dennis Miller Show."
Edward Snowden, a former technical assistant for the CIA who has worked at the National Security Agency and for a variety of companies, created shock waves over the weekend by revealing himself as the one who leaked information about a sweeping, Internet-based government surveillance program known as Prism, which targets communications among foreigners.
Talk of whether to extradite Mr. Snowden from Hong Kong and prosecute him follows revelations that the NSA has also been storing phone call logs from Verizon customers.
Mr. Rokita said it is frustrating that citizens don't even know what kind of decisions the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is making, and if phone users have standing to sue the government.
"We have no idea when they meet, we have no idea what their judgments are," said Mr. Rokita, noting he voted against the Patriot Act legislation that kicked off a new era of government-led surveillance in the United States after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Asked by Mr. Miller if the newly disclosed programs are, in fact, a big deal, Mr. Rokita said it is a "matter of trust" in the government.
"Point of the matter is this: I'm talking to you on a cell phone right now, and under the "meta-data' that they've collected they know what cell tower I'm using. So they generally can know my location," Mr. Rokita said.