Congressman Joe Barton (R-Arlington/Ennis) released the following statement after attending a classified briefing about the recent revelations about data collection at the National Security Agency:
"The limited collection and use of data are authorized by the Patriot Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and I supported both of those laws because they establish constraints. However, the National Security Agency violated the spirit of the law when it started collecting data from everyone in the country just because technology now makes that possible.
"During the briefing, representatives from the NSA went to great lengths to explain that they are only going after terrorists and they are very conscientious in exercising their authority -- and I believe them. They have foiled terror plots by tracking their communications.
"However, in America, you are considered innocent until proven guilty. You don't target everyone and violate their 4th Amendment rights just because of a handful of threats.
"But that is exactly what is happening at the NSA, at the IRS, at the Justice Department and we are just supposed to accept it. Well, it is wrong and it needs to stop now.
"To fix this, Congress needs to focus on properly balancing national security and the protection of people's Constitutional rights."