Hillary Clinton was repeatedly pressed Tuesday by Greta Van Susteren, with the Fox News host repeatedly telling the former Secretary of State that the U.S. Constitution mandates the federal government have a warrant to spy on Americans.
“Madam Secretary, you’re a lawyer, President Obama is a lawyer, I’m a lawyer and NSA spying on Americans violates the Fourth Amendment. It couldn’t be plainer. If you want to spy on Americans you get a warrant,” Van Susteren said. “What do you think about that?”
“Well, I think that we’re finally taking stock of the laws that we passed after 9/11. I voted for some and I voted against some,” Clinton, who has not determined whether she’ll run for president in 2016, answered. “And people are saying, ‘Wait a minute. We did all of this in an emergency, in a hurry because we were, you know, understandably worried and scared, and now we need to take a step back and figure out how we make sure that the balance between liberty and security is absolutely right for America.’”
That answer did not appear to quell Van Susteren.
“When you go out and seize Americans’ stuff, you have to have a warrant,” she told Clinton. “And the NSA was seizing Americans’ stuff — no warrant. And there are two options — either amend the Constitution or you get a warrant. That wasn’t done. So what should the American people think?”
Clinton responded by noting that laws were passed post-9/11 that gave the government a “very broad authority” which was “endorsed by executives in two administrations.”
“And I think what has happened is people have said, ‘Okay, the emergency is over and we want to get back to regular order. We want to make sure that we’re not being spied on, that our privacy is not being violated — so we want you to keep us safe, we want you to protect us, but we don’t want Americans to be in any way fearful of their own government’s actions,’” she said.
“I don’t think any American wants to be unsafe,” Van Susteren countered. “And I think every American wants to give the authority to the government to seize things constitutionally.”
“The problem is we have this funny little thing called the Fourth Amendment and it’s actually quite plain,” she continued. “And I know everyone on Capitol Hill is trying to scurry and say that we’ve got these laws and I hear you too. But the fact is that the Fourth Amendment is plain and says you need a warrant.”
“The problem is we have this funny little thing called the Fourth Amendment and it’s actually quite plain.”
Clinton moved to cite work being conducted by Congress to reign in some of the federal government’s authority.
“Well, I think what you’re going to find with the laws that are now being amended and passed — one was just passed in the House — that the Congress is trying to square Americans’ Constitutional right under the Fourth Amendment and the necessity for information that can be connected to terrorist activity here at home or abroad,” she said. “It’s a really difficult balancing act, but you’re a 100% right that we have to make some changes in order to secure that privacy, that Constitutional right to privacy, that Americans are due.”
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