Skip to main content

Minnesotans weigh in on controversial U.S. surveillance program

  • Author:
  • Updated:

After a top secret order was disclosed this week that required Verizon to hand over cell phone records to the feds, a public debate emerged surrounding the National Security Agency's monitoring of telephone records, emails, web searches and credit card activity.

The agency says it's using its access to the communications of millions of Americans to target possible terrorists, but those opposed to the surveillance program say it encroaches on privacy rights.

“We need to have some requirement that there be some real basis for surveilling people before you look at their phone records,” Rep. Keith Ellison said on CNN Friday, according to the Star Tribune's report.

Minnesota's delegates are divided on the whether the government should use its power to collect private data, the newspaper said.

"We absolutely do know that this has prevented terrorist attacks,” Paulsen, who supports the program, said in a radio interview.

MPR reports former state Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch worked for the NSA as a Russian language specialist during her time in the Air Force.

"I can understand from a foreign intelligence perspective why [monitoring] could be very important and very advantageous," Koch told MPR. "I also can, as a private citizen now, understand concerns that I have and I'm sure every one has about exactly what's being recorded, what's being disseminated, what's happening with my communications."

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, the 2001 U.S. Patriot Act authorized the collection of phone and business records without a court order.

The Wall Street Journal reports in 2006, the Bush administration moved to formalize court oversite of the NSA programs and Congress made changes to the Patriot Act that made it easier for the government to collect phone-subscriber data--changes that helped the NSA data collection program become institutionalized.

Next Up

ITT Tech

Student loans cancelled for 1,380 Minnesota ITT Tech students

President Joe Biden moved to cancel the federal debt this week.

Screen Shot 2022-08-19 at 2.17.19 PM

Twine kills 2 young ospreys in Long Lake, Minnesota

One bird was found hanging by its leg from the nest.

Mindy Kiepe

5 Great Danes kill owner on northwest Iowa farm

The dogs were euthanized after the incident.

Becker Public Schools

School district sued by teachers' union over staff 'gag order'

The district has faced heightened scrutiny for months now.

Andrew Luger, former U.S. Attorney of Minnesota

After dozens of arrests, concern over rising 'militaristic' weapons on MN streets

The U.S. Attorney provided an update on the violent crime strategy in collaboration with federal and local law enforcement agencies.

Screen Shot 2022-08-19 at 1.31.41 PM

Outrage after ‘vote with bullets’ remarks from GOP Senate candidate

The candidate's comments were recently brought to light in a video recording.

State Patrol

2 killed after driver crosses center line near Silver Lake

A toddler in the vehicle survived the crash.

Screen Shot 2022-08-10 at 4.12.14 PM

The answer to winter woes: St. Paul's upcoming Palm Springs-style supper club

Take a first look at inside the menu at The Apostle Supper Club.

Muhammad Masood

Guilty plea: Ex-Mayo Clinic researcher tried to fly to Syria and fight for ISIS

Muhammad Masood, 30, pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization in U.S. District Court Tuesday.