Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) had some strong words for the National Security Agency last week, arguing that the federal government should abolish it and throw leaker Edward Snowden a celebratory parade.
Kucinich spoke following a Washington screening of "Terms and Conditions May Apply", a documentary film about federal data-mining operations and online privacy. The film's director Cullen Hoback asked Kucinich what he thought should happen to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who lied to Congress about NSA surveillance.
"Clapper should be held responsible, but he won’t be, because that’s the condition we’re in right now. ... In a just world, Snowden, we'd be having ticker-tape parades for him. But that's not what's going to happen," said Kucinich, in remarks flagged by Techdirt. "Frankly -- and I'm saying this with a lifetime's experience in government here -- it's time to punch the NSA's ticket here. They've ruined the brand. They've destroyed the idea of privacy."
Kucinich's comments came amid revelations from an internal audit that the agency has violated privacy rules thousands of times since 2008, when Congress granted it broader powers.
"We talk about the death penalty for individuals, which I oppose, but I think ... for government agencies that so broadly betray the public interest, there needs to be a measure of responsibility," Kucinich said. "And if they go beyond the pale, which the NSA has, they just ought to be abolished. We don't need the spying."