NSA Surveillance Debate Drowned Out on Both Sides by Fear Tactics

NSA Surveillance Debate Drowned Out on Both Sides by Fear Tactics
Sen. Rand Paul talks with a reporter as he leaves the Capitol following his address to the Senate, Washington, May 31, 2015 (AP photo by Cliff Owen).

An epidemic of hysteria swept through Washington earlier this week, and politicians from across the political spectrum were all showing symptoms.

Not surprisingly, the subject was domestic surveillance and the National Security Agency (NSA), a topic for which over-the-top rhetoric has practically become derigueur in the two years since NSA contractor Edward Snowden absconded with digital reams of highly classified NSA materials and turned them over to reporters.

On one side of this week’s histrionics were the usual threat-mongers, hand-wringers and scare merchants: Republican homeland security hawks like Sens. Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

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