2016 Republican presidential candidate and billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump said that he supports reauthorizing the USA PATRIOT Act and bulk cell phone metadata collection by the National Security Agency in an interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show earlier this month.
In the above-embedded clip, Hewitt asks Trump, “On metadata collection, Ted Cruz is glad the NSA got out of it. Marco Rubio wants it back. What’s Donald Trump think?”
“Well, I tend to err on the side of security, I must tell you,” Trump replied, “and I’ve been there for longer than you would think. But, you know, when you have people that are beheading if you’re a Christian and frankly for lots of other reasons, when you have the world looking at us and would like to destroy us as quickly as possible, I err on the side of security, and so that’s the way it is, that’s the way I’ve been, and some people like that, frankly, and some people don’t like that.”
“And I’m not just saying that since Paris, I’m saying for quite some time. I assume when I pick up my telephone people are listening to my conversations anyway, if you want to know the truth. It’s pretty sad commentary, but I err on the side of security,” said Trump.
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Hewitt then asked, “Alright, so you would be in favor of restoring the Patriot Act?”
“I think that would be fine. As far as I’m concerned, that would be fine,” Trump responded.
Newsweek points out that Donald Trump has held the same position since before the Paris terror attacks. He said this summer, “I support legislation which allows the NSA to hold the bulk metadata. For oversight, I propose that a court, which is available any time on any day, is created to issue individual rulings on when this metadata can be accessed.”
A below-embedded CBS46 Atlanta Ben Swann Reality Check report challenges the notion that the NSA has stopped spying on Americans’ cell phones and notes that “under the USA Freedom Act, NSA computers remain at the carriers’ and service providers’ switching offices [collecting metadata]. But the NSA computer analysts return to their NSA offices and from there they operate remotely the same computers they were operating directly in the Patriot Act days.”
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