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David Brooks On "Justified" NSA Program: "The President's Basically Right On This"

DAVID BROOKS: Well, it's worrisome.

I, on balance, think it's justified. I think the president's basically right on this and that most bipartisan leaders of Congress are right, that we live in a world of big data. We live in the world of gigantic databases where people are collecting large amounts of information. The stuff that is being done on American citizens, as the president said, is not the content of the calls. It's the network of connections of the calls.

There is a FISA court review. There's congressional review. The targets are reasonably narrow. I worry about this being abused later on. But, as I understand the program right now, I think it's a reasonably supervised policy to try to control terror and balance it off with the normal privacy concerns.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Not troubled by it.

Mark?

MARK SHIELDS: Well, to those Americans who are worried that nobody in Washington was ever listening to what they had to say, they ought to be reassured.

No, Judy, every administration since I have been in Washington has an absolutely bottomless appetite for secrecy and information and intelligence. They just love it.

I don't know what it is about presidents, but that we talk so glowingly about the need for an informed citizenry, and yet they get information, they want to hold it. And it's -- what Daniel Patrick Moynihan called the culture of secrecy is epidemic in this city.

And I would just say to those, my friends on the left who defend this that, do you imagine the same kind of power and authority with a President Donald Trump, with a President Rick Perry, with a President Rick Santorum?

It's one thing to say, oh, well, President Obama is sensitive and all of these things. And I just -- I really -- I think it's a real problem. It's been a problem in this country. We classify too much. We keep too much from our citizens. And this is an example, I think, of it's going too far.

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