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Fox News "Your World with Cavuto" - Transcript - NSA Surveillance

Interview

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Targeted and now teeing up for a fight. The Tea Party mobilizing as we speak for what it is calling a major protest on the west lawn of the Capitol tomorrow.

To Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who will be one of the main speakers.
Congresswoman, good to have you.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN.: Good to be on your show, Neil. Thank you.

CAVUTO: Congresswoman, first off, on what the Tea Party plans to do tomorrow, reassert itself, let it be known that this sort of thing will not be tolerated. But beyond that, where does the Tea Party go?

BACHMANN: Well, we're energized more than we ever have been before because it's very clear from the Obama administration they saw that the Tea Party was a very strong threat. Speaker Pelosi lost the gavel in 2010. That's when the IRS targeting began of the Tea Party. And so what we saw is the worst form of tyranny. We saw the machinery of government being used to punish political enemies of this administration, and also used at the same time to reward political allies of the administration. That can't go on.

And so the American people are waking up and people are saying we have got to fight back. Having thousands of people on the lawn tomorrow is going to send a very strong signal to this administration that we're watching, we're not going to take it, and I think we're going to see a very different electoral result in 2012.

CAVUTO: You're talking about 2014.

Do you get a sense, though, Congresswoman, that let's say this was sort of led out of Washington office, the main office, not the Cincinnati office -- then that would lead some to believe it goes to the White House. Do you believe that this goes to the White House?

BACHMANN: Well, we have to follow the facts, where it leads. That's why we must have investigations. And thanks for correcting. I meant to say 2014 elections.

CAVUTO: No, it's OK. I do it all the time.

(LAUGHTER)

BACHMANN: Because you're always right.

So, the point being that -- that I -- that whether this went to the White House or not, clearly, this seems to be politically motivated. Someone put pressure on the IRS. Whether the president knew or not, someone within the administration knew. That's enough.

CAVUTO: Yes. Let me -- you were all -- where they talked about all these security issues that have come up and how -- from Verizon and everything, how they compromised the security, but in the end to protect us. And because of going after phone records and the like, we thwarted 50-some-odd attacks, among them what could have been something pretty horrible at the New York Stock Exchange.

Do you buy that and this balancing act between protecting us and leaking a lot of information on us?

BACHMANN: Well, I want to be very clear. The problem with all of this is that we have an individual who decided that he was going to betray his country.

CAVUTO: You're talking about Ed Snowden. You're talking about Ed Snowden, the NSA leaker.

BACHMANN: Edward Snowden was going to betray his country. And he chose to declassify highly sensitive classified information.

CAVUTO: So, he is a traitor in your eyes? He's not some hero?

BACHMANN: Absolutely. Absolutely, he is a traitor. And he joins the ranks of an Aldrich Ames and a Hanssen.
And I can't underscore enough how highly dangerous this was to America's national security. These were important tools that we had at our ready to be able to use to thwart terror attacks.

We need to focus on the fact that we cannot allow people to be in positions of sensitive information and to be able to betray the American trust the way that Snowden did. He's clearly a traitor. That's where the focus needs to be, because the hearing demonstrated quite clearly we have oversight both from the courts and from Congress. There's 100 percent auditability of the NSA.

(CROSSTALK)

BACHMANN: And there are no known examples of any intentional misuse of data.

CAVUTO: I understand that, Congresswoman.

But do you agree with your former colleague Ron Paul, who said that they're using this as an excuse or this invasion of privacy, if you will, on these phone records to justify what they did by pointing to what they prevented? He didn't buy it. He didn't think it washed. Do you?

BACHMANN: Well, no, a couple of examples were declassified just simply to give an example of what has been done with this data.

But this is not an invasion of anyone's Fourth Amendment rights.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: You don't think collecting over 110 million Americans' phone records is overkill?

BACHMANN: Well, again, let's talk -- let's recall what we're talking about.

These -- the phone companies didn't voluntarily hand over information.

CAVUTO: Understood.

BACHMANN: They were compelled to hand it over.

There is no identifiers connected to the phone numbers. Again, these are dots. We call on the intelligence community to connect the dots. They can't connect dots if there's no dots to connect.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: I know, but I guess the argument, Congresswoman, is that they collected way too many damn dots and that they overstepped their bounds and they went way beyond the Patriot Act.

(CROSSTALK)

BACHMANN: No, no, not at all.

CAVUTO: You disagree with Ron Paul.

BACHMANN: Not at all. I totally disagree with it.

CAVUTO: So, what do you think should happen...

BACHMANN: I would happy to have a conversation about that too.

CAVUTO: So -- understood.

So, what do you think should happen to Mr. Snowden?

BACHMANN: Oh, I think that he should be extradited out of China. It's very -- it's an unbelievable coincidence that all of this information was revealed just when the president was going to take to task China for their cyber-security espionage and attack within our government's computer system.

So I think that there may have been a link there. But I think clearly he needs to be extradited. He -- he committed treason against his country. He violated our laws and he needs to have justice.

CAVUTO: Congresswoman, I do want to raise a point.

I talked to a number of these former whistle-blowers in and outside the government, including those at the NSA, including one coming up tonight on FBN, which, Congresswoman, if you don't get, you really should demand. But I digress.

Anyway, their point collectively to a man is this. That maybe Snowden went to Hong Kong because he saw the way prior whistle-blowers were treated and that he felt it was a losing cause to stay here as a result. What do you say?

BACHMANN: Oh, I don't buy it.

A whistle-blower is someone who sees wrongdoing within the law, someone -- so there's within the law, but someone is acting outside of the law, and then they blow the whistle. In this particular case, based upon all the information that came out at the hearing today and Intelligence Committee, the NSA was fastidious about following the law.

CAVUTO: Gotcha.

BACHMANN: There's not one example that came out of any intentional violation of any kind from the law.
CAVUTO: All right.

BACHMANN: And I think what we saw today pretty clearly is the government isn't doing what all of these stories are claiming it is.

CAVUTO: Congresswoman, thank you very much. Always good chatting with you.

BACHMANN: Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: Michele Bachmann.


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