Former US Vice-President Al Gore has sharply criticized the National Security Agency (NSA)’s secret telephone data collection program, saying it is against the country’s Constitution.
“This in my view violates the Constitution. The fourth amendment and the first amendment - and the fourth amendment language is crystal clear,” he told the British daily The Guardian
Gore said the argument that the NSA surveillance had operated within the boundaries of the law has failed to convince him, adding, “It is not acceptable to have a secret interpretation of a law that goes far beyond any reasonable reading of either the law or the Constitution and then classify as top secret what the actual law is.”
On June 6, the daily revealed a top-secret US court order that allows the NSA to collect data on millions of Americans who are customers of the major US phone company, Verizon.
On the same day, the Washington Post
also reported that the NSA had direct access to Internet servers, saying their source, a career intelligence officer, was horrified of the capabilities of the systems used by the top US spy agency.
Meanwhile, the former vice-president called on President Barack Obama and Congress to review the laws under which the NSA expanded its tracking of American phone records and Internet accounts.
“I think that the Congress and the administration need to make some changes in the law and in their behavior so as to honor and obey the Constitution of the United States,” he said.
The Obama administration is already under fire for secretly obtaining the phone records of the Associated Press journalists as well as the emails and phone records of a Fox News Channel reporter.