The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on the NSA's Domestic Intelligence Program. Prior to this President Obama had a blue ribbon committee looking at the "spying" program and his own panel suggested that there be stricter restrictions on the program. Brad Bannon, democratic political consultant with Bannon Communications Research in Washington, D.C., says that after the hearings, there's going to be more pressure for the President to make a significant move to restrict the NSA's program because there's going to be more testimony during the hearings about the worst cases of the NSA analyzing domestic phone calls.
This is an area where the far left and the far right have come together and stand on common ground on this issue, says Bannon. A few months ago, when the House of Representatives was debating the appropriation of the NSA, there was an amendment to the appropriation that would ban the NSA from using any money from the federal appropriation for the domestic spying program. A group of very conservative Republicans and very liberal Democrats came together and came within about 9 votes of "chilling" the NSA's Domestic Surveillance Program, making it "one of the rare things that liberals and conservatives in Washington can agree on," Bannon says.
In Bannon's mind, this program is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, which requires federal judges to issue search warrants upon probable cause and the reality is, Bannon says, most people whose records are being examined have nothing to link them to any terrorist threat and there is no probable cause. He adds that two federal judges have had two entirely different rulings and usually in circumstances where there's a clear constitutional difference between federal judges in different courts, the Supreme Court will intervene, so that may happen.
Bannon also notes that in a recent poll, the majority of Americans think that Snowden, who brought this surveillance to the attention of Americans, is a whistle blower, not a trader.
Brad Bannon is President of Bannon Communications Research, a Washington, D.C.-based political polling and consulting firm. More information can be found at www.bannoncr.com. This video commentary was hosted by The Legal Broadcast Network, which provides on-demand legal content. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.