Keith Ellison smacks down George Will with his own words from 2006 on NSA spying

Keith Ellison speaks to ABC News

Keith Ellison speaks to ABC News

The Raw Story

When conservative columnist George Will suggested on Sunday that a recent National Security Agency (NSA) scandal was made worse because President Barack Obama could not be trusted, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) was ready with column Will had written in 2006 to make the point that it was not just an “Obama problem.”

During a panel discussion on ABC News, Will linked the NSA’s practice of collecting the phone records of millions of Americans with a so-called “scandal” involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups.

“This is where the IRS scandal metastasizes into a national security scandal,” Will opined. “Because I’m sure I’m not the only American saying — looking at the NSA information gathering and saying, ‘Well, this would really be a problem if we had the kind of government that, say, unleashes the IRS on political opponents. Oh, come to think about it, we do have that kind of government.’ And, therefore, the willingness to trust the executive branch is today minimal and should be.”

At that point, Ellison reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out Will’s 2006 columnexcoriating President George W. Bush’s administration for using the NSA to spy on Americans’ phone calls without a warrant and without congressional oversight.

“Besides, terrorism is not the only new danger of this era,” Will wrote. “Another is the administration’s argument that because the president is commander-in-chief, he is the ‘sole organ for the nation in foreign affairs.’”

“You were talking about George Bush as that time,” Ellison pointed out. “You know, George, I actually don’t disagree with much you said. My only problem is, you can’t make this an Obama problem. This is an executive problem.”

Watch this ABC’s This Week, broadcast June 9, 2013.



  1. I don’t wish to be confrontational, but I can’t help but wonder why no one has mentioned (that I have seen) the famous statement made by Ben Franklin in 1759 — which goes like this: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”


    1. Ms kstreet, I just can’t understand why my reluctance to accept unconditional monitoring of every means of communication in this country has removed me from the liberal camp and positioned me in with libertarians. Having given 28 years of service to this country — all of it in hazardous duty, I’m certianly a patriot, but…


      1. Ted, in no way was my answer a reflection of YOUR feelings on the issue. In fact it was only NOW that I realize your views and I respect them 100%!

        I can best express my feelings on the issue from something I posted in a forum:

        This is my take on it…if there is ever an attack on our soil, Rand Paul, Bernie Sanders and all the others shouting about our Liberties will be the first to demand to know why it happened!

        I don’t like the over-reach that the NSA, and other so-called national security agencies have been doing and they should be reigned in from their buckwild cowboy mentality.

        But the reality is we will never be totally safe if we demand 100% liberty and we will never have liberty if we demand 100% total security. (Actually I’m sure the POTUS said something similar last week before the news broke.

        Bottom line, the NSA, et al have gone too damned far. But to sue them or demand they stop totally is unrealistic. The United States needs security to avert another 911 or worse.


      2. Ms kstreet, Getting to the heart of your comment, the last two sentences sum it up concisely. I sincerely hope that the security as set up under the present administration handles the information better than it was handled in the six months prior to the 9-11-3001 attacks. We had all the information needed to prevent the attacks, but failed to use it.


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