Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sen. McCain on Privacy vs. Security

During last night's presidential forum at Saddleback church (which was televised by CNN), Rick Warren asked Senator McCain what takes precedence when the right to privacy and the right to national security collide. The Senator responded as follows:
It does collide and there are always competing priorities. We must preserve the privacy of all of our citizens as much possible because that's one of the fundamental and basic rights we have...but the point is we have now had technological advances over the last 20 or 30 years in communications that are remarkable. It's a remarkable ability that our enemies have to communicate so we have to keep up with that capability. I mean, there is too many ways and -- through cyberspace and through other ways -- that people are able to communicate with one another. So we are going to have to step up our capabilities to monitor those. Sometimes there are calls from outside the United States, inside the United States, there is all kinds of communications of every different kind. So you need congress to work together you need a judiciary that will review these laws that we pass and at the same time, it's just an example of our failure to sit down, Republican and Democrat, and work these things together for the good of the nation's security. Instead of this constant fighting which, according to our director of national intelligence, until we finally reached an agreement not long ago was compromising our ability to keep America from attack. And so there is a constant tension. It is changing with changes in technology and we have to stay up with it.
Time constraints prevented Warren from posing the same question to Senator Obama. The CNN website has the full video of the forum.