Page 45 - IACC Newsletter March-April 2014 Issue 03

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suggesting that there was authorization to NSA to snoop into not just 193 countries but also in specific BJP which is in
power now? How embarrassing is that?
: It is not that embarrassing because we know that these things happen because of intelligence collection...It is
very embarrassing tough because we are friends now but we know that these things go on but it seems me now that BJP
is in power, and we don't have to do that anymore. We are friends now, we can speak openly and honestly with each
other and again everybody has their opinion of Mr. Snowden I think he's a traitor, he betrayed an oath that he took
when he began that work that he will not reveal that information.
Smita Sharma
Sir, but you mentioned that we don't have to do this anymore because BJP is in power...but was that
snooping done then?
: I don't know...because I was not involved obviously as I am the member of the senate I was not involved in it.
But I do know that all kinds of information gathering go on and whether that goes too far or not, in my view is something
we in Congress are supposed to have an oversight of. So I will take some responsibility for some of these overstepping
actions that would have angered our friends.
Smita Sharma
Because in the recent speech in Carnegie, you did say that the values of human rights, individual liberty
and democratic limits on state power are important foundations for the bilateral relationships. So you do think this is a
case of overstepping which might have begun of issues of counter terrorism but now is a clear violation of civil liberties?
: In the business we are in with relations with other countries, we do gather intelligence, now wheather that was
overstepping or not, I can't specifically say because I don't know what was going on at that time, or what the rationale
for it was. But what I do know is that in all of these cases, one thing we have learned we need stronger judicial as well as
congressional oversight and did things that shouldn't have happened, yes but for me to point out a specific case that
shouldn't have happened, I know that the effect of it shouldn't have happened because it has hurt our relations with
other countries not just India.
Smita Sharma
Infact the office of the director of national intelligence have released a transparency report on Friday
stating that in 2013 the US govt targeted nearly 90k individuals and organistions under the foreign surveillance...under
this program. So if you say that this is the case of overstepping, If the Republicans were to return to power, would you
have a changed approach on this entire snooping business?
: I can guarantee you that there are some countries that I would do everything I can to gather intelligence in any
way I could, without causing the war. I mean using any technical means that I can. I would like to know whether
Vladamir Putin is going to continue to fomenting unrest in Ukraine, whether he intends to annexing further amounts of
it. I would love to know what Assad's capabilities are. There are many dangerous places in the world and we need to
collect all the intelligence and information we possibly can. So to say we are going to stop all eavesdropping that would
be crazy...That will be a betrayal of our obligation to the security of our people.
Smita Sharma
But there will be pick and choose and hopefully not for friends like India.
: That's why we need judicial oversight and congressional oversight for these agencies to come to us and say we
want to do the following and get approval. I think it is pretty clear that in past they were getting blanket approval
without proper scrutiny of the individual acts they were taking. But don't get me wrong. I fully support trying to find out
what people are doing that are trying to destroy United States of America.
Smita Sharma
Ofcourse American interests will be at the helm as far as this is concerned...Now on the issue of counter
terrorism, where we see increased India and US cooperation, you praised former PM Manmohan Singh for Question
showing restraint post Mumbai attacks. You called him a statesman. God forbid, if there was to be another horrendous
attack in days to come, would you expect Mr. Narendra Modi also to show similar restraint?