Senators want to stop giving the NSA a stamp of approval to spy on anyone

“They who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
This is the Benjamin Franklin quote Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon, Mark Udall of Colorado, and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico *(all Democrats) used to show why the National Security Agency needs to immediately end its “dragnet” surveillance programs.
The three published an op/ed in the New York Times today admonishing the U.S. Senate for continuing to give these NSA spy programs a “stamp of approval.” Since June, the NSA’s surveillance activities have proven a surprise to both U.S. citizens and, it seems, their representatives in the government.
The three senators note that programs such as PRISM, a data collection program between the NSA and a number of tech giants; relationships with telecommunications carriers to sweep up call data; and the tapping of fiberoptic cables to collect even more Internet data were done in secret through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Thus, “for years, American citizens did not have the knowledge needed to challenge the infringement of their privacy rights.”
The senators go on to say that the programs do not provide any proven value. NSA chief Keith Alexander spoke at security conference Black Hat this year to say just the opposite. He announced that 54 terrorist attacks around the world have been stopped through these programs. Thirteen of them were in the United States.