20 different opinions on the NSA from famous people

National Constitution Center

The controversy over the National Security Agency privacy case has led to some strange combinations in the media. Here are 20 quotes from some famous people you’d never think would agree on anything!

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The contrast was noted in two recent articles from The Washington Post and Politico, which pointed out the novelty of Glenn Beck and Michael Moore sending out nearly identical Twitter messages slamming the Obama administration for the NSA’s snooping.

But what happens when Bill Maher agrees with the former head of the NSA that the surveillance programs are needed in today’s world? Or when Donald Trump and Al Gore are on the same page?

You can draw your own opinions based on the following quotes of a bunch of famous people and news organizations who are wildly split on the NSA snooping issue.

1. Donald Trump. The once and possibly future presidential candidate and reality TV host isn’t a big fan of Edward Snowden, the former CIA analyst who leaked the classified info about the NSA. “To me, he looks like a grandstander,” he told Fox News.

2. Michael Moore. Snowden is “Hero of the Year,” says Moore on Twitter.

3. Ann Coulter. She believes the type of intelligence gathered by the NSA is OK, if it’s done by the right kind of administration. “You need a virtuous man in the presidency, so choose wisely next time, America,” she told Fox News.

4. Jack Welch. The former head of General Electric and former Obama critic on Twitter: “Two Presidents, and multiple split Congress’ all agree we need. Good enough for me.”

5. Glenn Beck. “I think I have just read about the man for which I have waited. Earmarks of a real hero,” Beck said on Twitter about Snowden.

Video: Jeff Rosen discusses the NSA on The Colbert Report

6. The WSJ Editorial Board. The Journal editorial staff argues that the Obama data-mining operation is “legal and necessary” for national security.

7. The New York Times Editorial Board. The editorial says, “The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue” after saying something stronger (before a copy edit).

8. President Barack Obama. “You can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society. There are trade-offs involved,” the president said in defending the program.

9. Senator Dianne Feinstein. “Terrorists will come after us if they can and the only thing we have to deter this is good intelligence,” says Feinstein, who co-chairs the committee that oversees the program for Congress.

10. Senator Saxby Chambliss. “It has proved meritorious because we have gathered significant information on bad guys, but only on bad guys, over the years,” Chambliss said last week.

11. Representative Mike Rogers. “It’s dangerous to our national security, and it violates the oath of which that person took. I absolutely think they should be prosecuted,” Rogers said about the people who leaked the NSA story.

12. Senator John McCain. “We ought to be careful that we … are not discussing practices that we employ that would help the enemy evade our detection and apprehension,” said McCain.

13. Senator Kelly Ayotte. “I don’t think it’s an accident that administrations from two very different philosophies have supported keeping this program in place,” she said.

14. Bill Maher. The comedian and talk show host supports the NSA policy even though he thinks it’s unconstitutional. “We live in a world of nuclear weapons,” he said.

15. Al Gore.  The former Democratic presidential candidate on Twitter: “In digital era, privacy must be a priority. Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?”

16. Senator Rand Paul. “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level,” says an outraged Paul.

17. General Michael Hayden. “We had two presidents doing the same thing with regard to electronic surveillance. Now, that seems to me to suggest that these things do work,” said the former NSA and CIA chief.

18. Judd Apatow. “Did everyone forget Nixon! ….Enemy of the State….did you see that movie? “Who is going to monitor the monitors?” said the movie director on Twitter, linking to an image that combined photographs of presidents Obama and Bush.

19. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner. “I authored the Patriot Act, and this is an abuse of that law,” said Sensenbrenner in an editorial.

20. Joe Scarborough. The MSNBC host calls the NSA situation a worst-case scenario for the Obama administration. “Historians won’t look at George W. Bush as a guy who had one separate set of policies and Barack Obama as a president who had another,” he said.

Scott Bomboy is the editor-in-chief of the National Constitution Center.

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