Guess who said in 2006, “If I know every single phone call you made, I’m able to determine every single person you talked to. I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive.” If you guessed Joe Biden, come on down. And he didn’t stop there:
And the real question here is, what do they do with this information that they collect?…There’s a whole deal when you talk about this kind of stuff where under the law, they’re supposed to demonstrate that they’re getting rid of and not keeping any extraneous information that they pick up on wiretaps and/or pick up in sweeps like this…If it’s true that 200 million Americans’ phone calls were monitored, in terms of not listening to what they said, but to whom they spoke and who spoke to them, I don’t know. The Congress should investigate this.”
And it gets worse:
“I don’t think it passes the test, but it clearly doesn’t pass the test of two existing statutes that say you can’t do these kinds of things, forgetting the fourth amendment,” Biden said on CBS’s May 12, 2006 “The Early Show.”…
“And, Harry [Smith], the bottom line here is: Here you have the president of the United States making a judgment that’s not reviewable by the courts and not reviewable by the Congress, and we’re supposed to say OK, and they tell us — it’s a little bit like what would happen if the banks turned over all your checking records, without your name, but gave the checking account number and every single purchase you made and pattern of your behavior — and then you were told, ‘Don’t worry, they — that’s not invasion of your privacy.’”…“We have — no one’s arguing whether or not you have the right to go out and tap and go and do everything you need to do to track down al Qaida. That’s not the question here. Years ago, Harry, I was one of those guys that co-sponsored the bill called FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Everyone I’ve spoken to, who’s been briefed on this matter, says that everything that they want to do to deal with al Qaida is able to be done under FISA and maybe with a small amendment to FISA. But this idea that no court will review, no Congress will know and we’re going to trust the president and the vice president of the United States, that they’re doing the right thing, don’t count me in on that.”
My, how times change. Funny how the limits of executive power seem so different when you’re the one wielding that power.