Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: A new poll on what Americans think of government snooping

Talking Points 6/12


By Bill O'Reilly

As you may know a whistleblower says the National Security Agency is logging phone calls made by Americans and storing them for possible scrutiny in the war on terror. Also, there are unproven allegations that some e-mails may be in the hands of American intelligence, as well.

As the "Talking Points" said last night the accumulation of phone data without anyone listening to the calls is most likely constitutional but gathering up e-mail evidence, actual words, without a specific warrant definitely unconstitutional. The government cannot pry into your conversations whether spoken or written without a valid legal reason.

New CBS News poll on the issue was out. First up, do you prove of the federal government collecting phone records of ordinary Americans? 38 percent say yes, wow; 58 percent say no. Is the government's collection of those phone call records necessary to find terrorists; 53 percent say it is necessary. 40 percent say it is not.

In the government's efforts to fight terrorism how concern are you about losing some of your privacy? 59 percent of Americans are very or somewhat concerned; 40 percent not concerned. And finally how concerned are you the government might be monitoring your Internet use? 35 percent very or somewhat concerned; 60 percent not concerned.

Now, it used to be that liberal Americans strongly objected to this kind of government snooping. Listen to Joe Biden back in 2006, when President Bush held office.


BIDEN: If I know every single phone call you made, I'm able to determine every single person you talk to. I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive. And the real question here is what do they do with this information that they collect that does not have anything to do with al-Qaeda? And the President is saying I think I wrote down, he said, "This is not mining or trolling." If it's true, that 200 million Americans phone calls were monitored in terms of not listening to what they said...


BIDEN: -- but to whom they spoke and who spoke to them, I don't know. The Congress should investigate this.


O'REILLY: Well, how about that.

I wonder what Vice President Biden is now saying, his boss Barack Obama believes that phone call surveillance absolutely vital to the war on terror. What say you, Mr. Biden?

"Talking Points" respects differing opinions on this issue. But here is what should happen. President Obama has an obligation it tell all Americans exactly what the NSA, CIA and other Intel agencies are doing. Are they really accumulating e-mails from Americans, is that happening?

We know phone records are being stored, but we don't know about the Internet stuff and we have a right to know. Now it's not going to hurt the war on terror, us knowing that. It's a neutral, a general strategy. Terrorists know we're watching them.

Finally it's very interesting to see liberals battle liberals; and conservatives versus conservatives on the snooping situation. This is one issue that has crossed party lines big time.

And that's "The Memo."