Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued the following statement regarding the recent release of documents related to surveillance activities and the National Security Agency:
"Any time we are talking about the release of documents sensitive to national security, the conversation is very difficult and complex. I am reminded of what Thomas Jefferson said: "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.'
"The key is in striking a balance between liberty and the central responsibility of government, which is to protect the citizenry. It is a line we have been attempting to walk since September 11, 2001.
"On one hand, there is the news that our efforts to keep America safe have been compromised. Any time our information gathering hand is tipped to our enemies around the globe, we perhaps provide assistance and warning to those who would do us harm. This should be of grave concern.
"On the other hand, many Americans are rightly alarmed about potential affronts to their civil liberties and privacy rights.
"It is my understanding that we will be looking into what, if any, laws were broken by the leaking of this information. It is disturbing that Edward Snowden went straight to the news media rather than go through the whistle-blower process. The fact that he is apparently hiding out in a hotel room in Hong Kong is also somewhat suspect. As an elected Representative and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, I am always concerned with national security and this is a very serious development."