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Durbin, Kirk, Davis React to Verizon Data Mining

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says Congress should look into the government’s secret gathering of phone data.

Durbin, who has been sounding the alarm that the gathering of personal information is intrusive, says Congress should look into the matter.

“I don’t know if it will be in the month of June but I’d like to go back to the amendments I offered before,” Durbin said, referring to his efforts to limit gathering of such data to those connected to persons known to be a terrorist. “I still think they apply and maybe now some of my colleagues that voted against it may reconsider.”

Durbin says the United States must discover terrorists before they strike but he says there must be a balance between that and the rights of people’s freedoms and liberty. He says it’s part of an ongoing debate of any democracy.

Durbin acknowledges that he had some limited knowledge of what was going on but says he hasn’t been able to speak about it due to national security concerns.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) on Thursday questioned Attorney General Eric Holder about the issue. Kirk was not only concerned about the gathering of phone data on everyday citizens but about the gathering of data on members of Congress and the Supreme Court.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis is also worried.

“There’s a lot of dissent on the Verizon phone record issue because many are coming out and saying it’s in our national security interest,” says Davis. “Well, if it is, then they still need to tell us how and why, almost every American who has Verizon, why their records were looked through.”

A court order has granted the National Security Agency access to the phone records of Verizon Wireless customers all across the nation.  The court order explicitly bans the feds from actually listening in on the conversation. This is expected to continue through July 19.

President Obama defended the surveillance this morning, saying society has to make a choice — as one cannot have 100 percent security and 100 percent privacy.