Via the Washington Free Beacon, Arkansas congressman Tom Cotton defended the NSA tool on the House floor this evening:
"I rise to strongly urge opposition to the Amash amendment. This program has stopped dozens of terrorist attacks, that means it's saved untold American lives. This amendment is not simple. It does not limit the program. It does not modify it. It does not constrain the program. It ends the program. It blows it up," the congressman began.
"Some of you heard the analogy that if you want to have a search for a needle in the haystack, you have to have haystack. This takes a leaf blower and blows away the entire haystack. You will not have this program if this amendment passes and does so despite all of the safeguards you have already heard. This program is constitutional under Supreme Court precedent--not recent precedent--it goes back to 1979, just two years after I was born, the year that one of the young sponsor's of this amendment was born. ...
"Why do you need it? Verizon, AT&T, and other companies will not keep this data for the years necessary. And secondly, you need it quickly. When I was in Iraq, as platoon leader with the 101st Airborne, if we rolled up a bad guy and we found a cell phone or we found a thumb drive, we would immediately upload that data so intelligence professionals could search it so they could go roll up another bad guy because you only have a few hours to stop a terrorist once you catch another terrorist.
"Folks, we are at war. You may not like that truth, I wish it weren't the truth, but it is the truth. We are at war. Do not take away this tool from our warriors on the front lines."
In a joint statement, four lawmakers urge President Obama to treat the Boston bombing suspect picked up last night in Watertown, Mass. as an “enemy combatant.” Here’s the joint statement, signed by Rep. Peter King, Senators Kelly Ayotte, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham: