The NSA spying programs have sparked controversies across the world.
Western Democrats on the ballot in 2014 are strongly condemning the National Security Agency.
Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh, a candidate for Senate who is likely to be appointed when Sen. Max Baucus (D) becomes ambassador to China, is the latest in a long line of Democrats to protest, releasing a statement Friday that blasted a federal judgeâ„¢s ruling that the NSAâ„¢s bulk collection of phone records is legal.
Outspoken criticism of NSA programs allows potentially vulnerable incumbents to distance themselves from a president whose popularity is sagging while scoring points with liberals and appealing to the regionâ„¢s libertarian streak.
Å“The NSAâ„¢s massive collection of law-abiding Americansâ„¢ phone records chips away at our fundamental right to privacy,” Walsh said. Å“Fighting decisions like this is why I am running for the US Senate “ because Montanans deserve a leader who has the courage to secure our nation without sacrificing freedoms.”
Alaska Sen. Mark Begich (D) is building his mailing list with a petition on his campaignâ„¢s web site urging Congress to immediately stop the call-collection program.
Å“This is an enormous invasion of every Alaskanâ„¢s right to privacy,” Begichâ„¢s web site says. Å“The government should not have the ability to collect our information without a warrant.”
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall (D) went on ABCâ„¢s Å“This Week” Sunday to urge President Barack Obama to consider all 46 of the recommendations in a report addressing the collection of phone data.
Å“It doesnâ„¢t fit the standard in the Fourth Amendment of unreasonable search and seizure,” he said of the program.
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) has been one of the most vocal boosters of more congressional oversight of NSA. Heâ„¢s pushed legislation, with bipartisan support, that would prevent the government from keeping FISA court interpretations of the law secret.
The inter-mountain West has perhaps more deep-seated skepticism of Washington, D.C., than any other region. Many residents moved to these frontiers, especially Alaska, for their freedom and small governments. Candidates from both parties have historically espoused civil libertarianism in these places.
Walshâ„¢s move is clearly designed to make inroads with crucial libertarian voters. Last year, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester narrowly survived in Montana partly because of the strength of Libertarian spoiler candidate Dan Cox. Liberal groups ran ads criticizing the GOP nominee, Denny Rehberg, for supporting the Patriot Act and backing a national ID program while urging voters to back the third-party contender.
Walshâ„¢s release noted that he supported a state law that requires a search warrant before law enforcement can use cell-phone records to track a suspectâ„¢s location.
Å“From two miles up, a drone can read a license plate,” the narrator in one ad from the Å“Citizens for Strength and Security Fund” said. Å“And if Denny Rehberg gets his way in Congress, government aircraft could soon be reading yours.”
The Republican candidate running against Walsh, Rep. Steve Daines, has also condemned the NSAâ„¢s blanket collection of American telephone records. He supported an amendment that would have limited NSA activities from Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) this summer.
Å“This amendment helps protect law-abiding Americans from government overreach,” said Daines. Å“The status quo is not acceptable.” POLITICO
Source: Press TV