MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A U.S. lawmaker hopes the NSA scandal will start a conversation on our privacy rights.
The man behind one of the biggest intelligence leaks in US history came forward. It's tied to two government surveillance programs that secretly gathered phone and internet data from millions of Americans.
Congressman Paul Broun says he learned of the data collection when the leaks broke in the news. He's concerned Americans' Fourth Amendment protections are potentially being violated. He is against the broad collection of data, but hopes some good will come out of this scandal.
In a statement Broun said, The American people have a right to know what the government believes it can and cannot do with our private information and interactions, and I believe that now that they have this knowledge, it can lead to reforms that will restore our constitutionally-protected rights.
Former National Security and CIA employee Edward Snowden says he is the man who distributed the top secret documents. The leaks reopened the debate on privacy concerns versus national security.
In an interview with the Guardian Newspaper, Glenn Greenwald, and Laura Poitras, Snowden says the public deserves an explanation.
"I'm just another guy who sits there day to day in the office and watches what's happening and says this is not for us to decide, the public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong," Snowden said.
Snowden says he knows he faces certain prosecution if he can't get asylum in a country like Iceland. Intelligence officials are reviewing the damage caused by these leaks.
Broun says its up to Congress and the American people to decide what to do from here. He say's we'll be stronger if we demand reforms that protect us but don't violate our civil liberties. If we continue down this path of becoming a surveillance state, Broun says it will destroy what makes America a strong and great nation.