Our View: Call your representative about NSA

Published: Monday, June 10, 2013 5:30 a.m.CDT

We print the names and contact information of our area’s federal lawmakers on this page each Monday for a reason.

Other than by voting, the best way we can have an effect on the way our government operates is through contacting our legislators and making sure they hear our voices.

Especially considering that the federal government already is keeping track of our phone calls.

Last week, we learned that the National Security Agency has been collecting phone records of hundreds of millions of American phone customers. This government says it is granted this power under the Patriot Act, which was renewed by Congress as recently as 2011. Officials say the program has been ongoing for seven years and is re-authorized every 90 days by a secret court.

All of this is done in the name of thwarting terrorism. Supporters say the government must have information about every call made in the country, including where the caller was when the call was made, what number they called, and for how long.

It’s another black mark for President Barack Obama, whose administration already has allowed the IRS to target conservative groups and the Justice Department to conduct a wide-ranging search of Associated Press phone records. Obama defends the program, as do several in Congress, saying they don’t listen to the content of the calls and or people’s names. Yet all of this has been done in secret for years, and the only reason we know now is because it was leaked. The longer government spy agencies are allowed access to this information, the less difficult it becomes for them to continue to expand how they use it. Law-abiding American citizens are guaranteed a reasonable expectation of privacy by the Fourth Amendment, which says “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.”

If the government’s secret collection of your phone records in the name of fighting terrorism sounds like a broad and disturbing intrusion into your privacy, the names of our federal representatives – including our President – are below.

Contact them, and tell them how you feel.

Here is the contact information for our federal legislators:

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren
R-14, Winfield
1797 State Street, Suite A
Geneva, IL 60134
Phone: 630-232-7104
Fax: 630-232-7174
427 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C., 20515
Phone: 202-225-2976
Fax: 202-225-0697
Website: hultgren.house.gov

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger
R-16, Manteno
628 Columbus Street, Ste. 507
Ottawa, IL 61350
Phone: 815-431-9271
Fax: 815-431-9383
Washington, D.C., office:
1218 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: 202-225-3635
Fax: 202-225-3521

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin
309 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: 202-224-2152
Fax: 202-228-0400
Website: www.durbin.senate.gov

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk
387 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: 202-224-2854
Fax: 202-228-4611
Website: www.kirk.senate.gov

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Website: www.whitehouse.gov

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