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Rep. Grijalva: Scope of NSA surveillance ‘worrisome’


As President Obama sought to defend his administration’s national security surveillance programs, some members of his party remain unconvinced.

Democrat Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona called the recently leaked National Security Agency’s surveillance of Americans’ phone records “worrisome,” on Jansing & Co. Wednesday.

Grijalva earlier this month issued a statement saying “Senator Obama would not have supported this program under President Bush.”

U.S. intelligence officials have said the NSA programs, which separately monitored overseas web activity have thwarted dozens of terrorists plots. The president said that the surveillance had “saved lives” during a Wednesday press event in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Grijalva acknowledged that the president is in a difficult position, but argued that Americans are not easily convinced that they should give up privacy. 

“One cannot appreciate the complexity and the pressure of that office,” said Grijalva. “But nevertheless, the issues of privacy, the issues of civil liberties that are dear to the American people are tenets that he supported as a senator and to some extent as a candidate.”

Rep. Grijalva acknowledged the importance of such programs to national security but said the scope of the NSA programs was inevitably going to raise questions.

“Still, the scope, the volume, and the size of the effort to listen and to see what people were writing and saying, I think that’s what the American people question,” Grijalva said.

Rep. Grijalva: Scope of NSA surveillance 'worrisome'