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Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: Data mining and you

By Bill O'Reilly

The surveillance situation very confusing but vitally important for every American; to tonight, "Talking Points" will try to clarify what exactly is going on. And here is the headline: the U.S. government currently building a one million square foot complex in Utah that will house phone call and e-mail data taken from Americans and foreigners alike. Let me repeat: the National Security Agency, NSA, building an enormous complex, 25 miles south of Salt Lake City to mine data. That is ultra serious.

A leaker named Edward Snowden gave information to the far-left London newspaper "The Guardian" saying the U.S. government is taking information from tech companies in order to fight the war on terror.

Snowden will be arrested if he doesn't get asylum in a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the USA. And he should be arrested even though what he did may ultimately be a good thing. We simply can't have Americans leaking national security information. That would be anarchy. If Snowden thinks his case is noble, then he should put it in front of a jury.

Despite the initial reporting we really don't know exactly, exactly -- exactly what the government is doing. Here is what President Obama says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Now with respect to the Internet and e-mails, this does not apply to U.S. citizens and it does not apply to people living in the United States. And again, in this instance, not only is Congress fully apprised of it, but what is also true is that the FISA Court has to authorize it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Well, that may be a bit misleading. Yes, federal judges have authorized the data gathering. But phone calls and e-mails to and from American citizens are being scrutinized. And I believe that FISA judges have no idea how. It's a massive intrusion and it affects all of us.

However, the director of national intelligence James Clapper doesn't see a problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The notion that we're trolling through everyone's e-mails and voyeuristically reading them or listening to everyone's phone calls is on its face absurd. We couldn't do it even if we wanted to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: And that's true. There is too much stuff. But what could happen and what has happened is that corrupt government officials have put out private data illegally. We saw that in the IRS hearing last week, did we not? The pro-traditional marriage organization that testified had data leaked to its enemies allegedly by an IRS official, big problem. And that leaker must be arrested and charged soon.

So it is obvious that if the government is gathering communications, information from Americans, that information could be illegally used. Now, with phone calls it's not much of a problem because the government isn't taping the calls, it's just chronicling time and place. So, in the name of national security that might be acceptable.

But e-mails are a far different story. There you have actual words on paper that people have said in private and if that stuff is being stored in Utah, that's flat out unconstitutional.

Here is what Senator Rand Paul said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The Fourth Amendment says that you have to look at and you can ask for a warrant for a specific to a person, place in the items. This is a general warrant. This is what we objected to and what our founding fathers partly fought the revolution over is they did not want generalized warrants where you could go from house to house with soldiers looking for things or now from computer to computer to phone to phone without specifying who you're targeting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: I agree. The feds will tell you. They won't go after a specific individuals unless there is probable cause. But there can't be probable cause unless they look at the e-mails to find a dubious situation. Does everybody get this? Well, some people dissent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: They are not allowed to go into that data until they have a particular warrant signed off on by a judge with some cause to suspect a foreigner of terrorism. That is totally different from the IRS abuses which I think are very serious.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: But again, Mr. Kristol discounts that corrupt federal officials could very well look at stored e-mail data. Who is going to stop them? By the way, texts are not in play. They are not stored by the communication companies like Verizon.

So this is one big mess and ideologically, absolute chaos. Here is a partial list of people who support the NSA surveillance program called "Prism," in support Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Karl Rove and Kirsten Powers, a Democrat.

Here are some people who oppose; Glenn Beck, Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh, Arianna Huffington, Al Gore and Van Jones. The headline Van Jones and Glenn Beck agree on something. Are you kidding me? Now, some liberals are surprised that President Obama is behind the program. But "Talking Points" is not. The President wants a powerful federal government that runs nearly everything. His whole administration has been about accumulating power for the feds. So this is consistent.

New Rasmussen poll says 52 percent of Americans do not trust the President or the federal government on this surveillance issue. And that number is going to rise when we find out exactly how much data is being assembled by the feds.

Now, here is what I think. The war on terror requires an aggressive federal surveillance. Sane people know that. Storing phone call data is questionable but I think it's permissible under the Constitution if things aren't tapped. But seizing actual words of Americans said in private, unless there is probable cause they're involved with some kind of terrorism, clearly unconstitutional.

The Fourth Amendment says, quote, "No warrants shall issue but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized," unquote. You can't just seize everything and say you're doing so to try to root out terrorism. You have to have probable cause to violate the privacy of an American.

Look, you know me. You know I'm a very tough guy on national security. I support the Patriot Act. I support drone warfare. I support Guantanamo Bay. But this is dangerous. The IRS scandal proves the federal government can and has abused its power for political reasons.

Simply can't have American authority spying on the folks, storing their e-mails. It can't happen. This "Prism" program should be shut down immediately. If it's not, a class action suit should be filed and the Supreme Court should hear it as quickly as it can.

And one more thing, all this government intrusion didn't stop those Boston bombers, did it? And those two terrorists were all over the net.

And that's "The Memo."

O'Reilly Factor, hosted by Bill O'Reilly, airs on Weekdays at 8PM ET on Fox News Channel.