This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 11, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And this is a Fox News alert. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Obama administration in an effort to prevent the federal government from spying on law abiding Americans. Now, the lawsuit filed by the ACLU late this afternoon focuses on an NSA program that requires companies like Verizon to hand over personal phone records of more than 100 million U.S. citizens. Now, as we have reported, this includes the numbers that were dialed, the duration of the calls and much more.
Now, according to the ACLU, this unprecedented spy operation is akin to snatching every American's address book and that quote, "It gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail of about our familial, and political, professional, religious and intimate associations." Now, the complaint demands that the program be stopped and that all seized records be destroyed.
Now, at this hour, the Justice Department has refused to comment on the matter. However, there is already speculation that this could in fact end up being decided by the United States Supreme Court.
But in addition to this being an important legal development. Well, the political fallout from the story is also being felt tonight in Washington, D.C. Now, particularly by President Barack Obama, because even before his left flank started caving on him, he was already struggling to defend his administration's actions. But then again, that's what happens when you say one thing is a candidate and another when you assume the responsibility as commander in chief. And to prove that point tonight in a "Hannity" exclusive, candidate Obama is here to debate President Obama on the subjects of surveillance and civil liberties. You want to get your recorder going here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA THEN: And if someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document through the library books that you read, the phone calls that you've made --
BARACK OBAMA NOW: Nobody is listening to your telephone calls. What the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls.
THEN: There are Republican senators as well as Democratic senators that recognize that it's plain wrong.
NOW: Every member of Congress has been briefed on this program. These are programs that have been authorized by broad bipartisan majorities, repeatedly since 2006.
THEN: When I'm president, one of the first things I'm going to do is call in my attorney general and say to him or her, I want you to review every executive order that's been issued by George Bush.
NOW: It's interesting there are some folks on the left, but also some folks on the right who are now worried about it, who weren't very worried about it when it was a Republican president.
THEN: As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
NOW: You can't have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy.
THEN: We need to find a way forward to make sure that we can stop terrorists while protecting privacy and liberty of innocent Americans.
NOW: You can complain about big brother. But when you actually look at the details, then I think we've struck the right balance, all right? Thank you very much, guys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. Let's take a step back and talk about why this story is important to you.
Number one, the national security, the legal, the political ramifications of this story cannot be overstated. This will in fact impact your life.
Number two, we still don't know what exactly big brother's monitoring. We're simply being told just take the president at his word. But as you just saw, that's simply not good enough.
Number three, as Senator Rand Paul wrote in the Wall Street Journal today, "The U.S. Constitution is nonnegotiable." And if our rights are being violated, somebody's got to be held accountable.
Joining me now with reaction, author and Attorney David Limbaugh and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams. You know, before you two debate, Juan. I want your reaction to Obama candidate debating Obama president. What did you think of that? It was so contradictory.
JUAN WILLIAMS, Fox NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: One guy's a senator, and he's free to criticize and be sort of, you know, a freewheeling critic. But the other man is President of the United States, and his obligation is to protect us, Sean. The back and forth here, I think the tit and tat is you and the ACLU. I can't believe that my man Sean Hannity is now standing up with the ACLU. I think a lot of conservatives in the audience are going to be like, what's going on here?
HANNITY: Well, I actually support the NSA program, and I support the Patriot Act David Limbaugh is written. And the Patriot Act is very clear. The Patriot Act says that this is designed to go after foreign nationals and any Americans would only be looked at if in fact they were connected to people that were targets.
DAVID LIMBAUGH, AUTHOR AND ATTORNEY: I can't believe my good buddy Juan is that cavalier about excusing President Obama for saying things about very important matters when he's running for commander in chief of the United States and setting a different standard when he's president. I think he ought to be held to the same standard. Did he mean it or did he not? Obama claims he's transparent. If we can find out the facts about this case, we might settle down some emotions. But Obama is the least transparent president we've ever seen. And so, we probably can't get to the facts. And that's what we really need to do.
WILLIAMS: Hang on a second, David. Hang on a second, David. In other words, David, first and foremost, you realize that the Republican majority in the House will never ever do anything to this program because they don't want to be in a position of saying that they are taking away from law enforcement tools to deal with terrorists. And I don't imagine that anybody in the Senate is going to take it away.
And so, you say, oh, Obama's not being transparent? This is a legal program, one that's been authorized by the government. The Patriot Act is there, the Congress is engaged in oversight. Mike Rogers, Republican Intelligence Committee says it's fine. Dianne Feinstein, Democrat, Senate intelligence, it's fine. So what are you saying?
HANNITY: Hang on a second. Let me interrupt you here. David, I interviewed the author of the Patriot Act Jim Sensenbrenner. He says that this fishing expedition is not within the law. That it is not allowed. And it is against the spirit of the law, and the written words in the law. Your thoughts as a lawyer.
LIMBAUGH: Well, you know, I'm not an expert on the Patriot Act. But I do, there are some lawyers that I respect who think that it is within the law. So, I don't think we ought to turn everything on jumping to conclusions about whether something is constitutional or whether it's statutorily allowed. We need to find out. We need to study that and separate our emotions.
I hate the gathering of this data. But I can't say just because I hate it, it's not authorized under the law. Jim Sensenbrenner, I really like him, and I trust that he's telling the truth when he says, he didn't intend for the act to authorize it. But did the act in writing actually authorize it? I mean, there's two different questions whether Jim Sensenbrenner --
WILLIAMS: That's a great point!
LIMBAUGH: So --
WILLIAMS: Amen David, he passed the Patriot Act.
LIMBAUGH: Oh, you agreeing with -- I take it back.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
WILLIAMS: No, no, no, you know, but I thought you spoke the truth. You know, we have got to look into it. I'm all for the debate. Sean is all for the debate. But the fact is, it was passed by the U.S. Congress. The time for this discussion was talk about emotions after 9/11, everybody, I think there's one or two senators who voted against, you know, Russ Feingold voted against the Patriot Act. Everybody else was leaping on the bandwagon. And at that point, there were people who were saying, hey, I think we're giving away too much.
Now that we have a homeland security infrastructure, you have you all this collection. I think there are a lot of Johnny-come-latelys who are shooting ourselves -- you can't allow the terrorists the upper hand, otherwise, we're going to get blown up.
LIMBAUGH: Although, I don't -- nobody trusts Obama, because he claims we're not even in a war --
WILLIAMS: Oh, gosh!