Glenn spoke with Rep Louis Gohmert on radio today about the Amash amendment and why many Republicans including Bachmann voted against it. How does Gohmert explain so many of his colleagues siding with the NSA? Gohmert explains in the clip above.
Transcript of interview is below:
GLENN: Let's go to Louie Gohmert who is ‑‑ I would imagine, Louie, that you are as disappointed as I am to see the House reject the amendment to defund the NSA last night. Michele Bachmann surprised the heck out of me by giving a impassioned speech on the floor saying, "Well, you know, they are not actually saving any of your records. They are not saving any of your phone calls or your e‑mails." That's an out‑and‑out lie, is it not, Louie?
GOHMERT: Well, my understanding ‑‑ you know, Michele is a very dear friend of mine.
GLENN: Mine too.
GOHMERT: And I was hearing you earlier this morning. You were talking very glowingly and appropriately about Michele, but friends can disagree. And they are retaining the metadata, which is just a list of every phone number that everyone calls in the United States, calling inside or outside the United States. And when I say the leaked document from the FISA court where a judge would actually order that every single call made to every person, every phone outside the U.S. and inside the U.S., Glenn, you know, I've been a judge. I've been a chief justice. I couldn't believe that a judge would sign an order like that because there's this little problem with the Constitution. You have to specifically name a place, a person, what exactly is to be seized. And for a judge to just sign a sweeping order that says "Get everything from everybody." And we had a hearing last week and we had some people from the government there and I asked the question, you know, because they have the defense, "Look, it's just data. We don't know whose phone number is whose. And all ‑‑ we run these algorithms and look for patterns." Glenn, when they have every phone number and every phone number that's calls, I asked these guys, "Well, isn't it true that the other government, whether it's CIA, you have the right and the ability to use sources that the public can use to gather information? There's nothing wrong with you doing that, right?" "Yes." "That means you can go to the white pages for phone numbers, who has what phone number, and you can also do what anybody can do. You can go online, pay a fee and find out everybody's cell number if you want to. I mean, that data is available." And they said, "Well, you know, I guess we could." Yes, Glenn, they can get everybody's phone number. They can know who did what. And so if your government ‑‑ let's just say there was somebody that was a little paranoid and wanted to look at what they could do. Say they wanted to make a case against you after the fact of things that are completely untrue. Well, they can go back and say, "Well, you talked to this person and this." Yeah, but it had nothing to do with that. They can make a case against you. I mean, it becomes so much like a Kafka novel where you can't really fight this big spider that's just ‑‑ or octopus that's just taken over everything.
GLENN: So here are the names of some of the people that we respect, that voted on the, I think the wrong side. Michele Bachmann is one of them. Here are some of the others.
STU: Yeah, Darrell Issa.
GLENN: These are all good people.
STU: Yeah. Culberson was another one we were talking about earlier today. Paul Ryan was on the wrong side of this one, I think. Steve King on the wrong side of it.
GLENN: So how did that happen, Louie? What are they saying behind the scenes? What was their reasoning?
GOHMERT: Well, they are saying ‑‑ when you talk about people like Michele and Steve ‑‑ they are two of my best friends ‑‑ they will tell you behind the scenes what they say in front, that they were concerned that ‑‑ and I didn't realize ‑‑ actually I didn't realize Steve had voted against the Amash amendment.
GOHMERT: But it is this fear that has been put in place, "Gee, we're finding out who terrorists are by this information." But Glenn, I have to go back to our debate over the law. I wasn't there when the PATRIOT Act passed and I wasn't there when FISA courts were created. They've been around for a long time. But I was there for the renewal, the extension. And I battled tooth and nail with my own Republican chairman who had put ‑‑ he had actually put Sunsets in the original PATRIOT Act so that, you know, we'd always have leverage to get information about what they were doing. And even under the Bush administration, getting information from the justice department was really tough. And that's how I ended up being able to convince a majority of the Republicans to put Sunsets on something in the PATRIOT Act extension because the chairman had bought into the Bush administration position that we don't need Sunsets anymore. And so we debated this and we got into the business about what is the purpose of having ‑‑ of their ability to surveil telephone calls and who you're calling, whether it's actually getting content or whether it's actually just getting what they call the metadata, the logs of who you called. And what we were told and the testimony all was to the effect that the only people who would have their phone information pulled were those who either made a call to a known foreign terrorist or somebody who's affiliated with a known terrorist group, or they got a call from one of those people. In fact, Glenn, I made the statement at one of our debates that, look, to my friends across the aisle that are so worried about the administration, you know, getting your phone records, under the bill it's very clear: If you don't want your phone records to be pulled, that data as to who you're calling, then when you call your foreign terrorist friends, use somebody else's phone. I thought that was pretty funny, cute, and a lot of people laughed.
GLENN: But they lied to you, did they not, Louie?
GOHMERT: Well, it turned out, no, you don't have a to call a foreign terrorist.
GOHMERT: They are getting your phone information. And another thing that has really bothered me ‑‑
GLENN: Hang on just a second. Hold on. Hold on just a second. I want everybody coast to coast that is listening to understand that this man has so much credibility, that Louie Gohmert, a congressman who believes in many of the same things I do just went on national airwaves and said, "Look, the Bush administration lied to me. I was making the wrong case. I was told one thing and they lied to me about it, and the left was right about it and I was wrong." That's significant.
GOHMERT: Well, they weren't right about it, but the Bush administration was actually arguing that they would not do anything more than what the law provided and you had to have that Nexus with a foreign terrorist or someone associated ‑‑
GLENN: That's not true.
GOHMERT: ‑‑ with a terrorist group. And so I don't know, I haven't seen information, I don't know if the Bush administration, their NSA was gathering every single person's phone information, but ‑‑
GLENN: But it doesn't matter. I'm in a moment blaming it ‑‑
GOHMERT: ‑‑ what some of us talked about back in those debates was, gee, I remember them saying we do not have the capability to gather every single person's phone calls to everybody they call.
GLENN: And they do.
GOHMERT: But even if we did, they wouldn't do it. And this law does not authorize us to do that. And so you got Republicans to vote for it. I was just talking to John Conyers here on the floor. I'm in our cloakroom just off the House floor and we just finished voting and, you know, I was ‑‑ I gave you and Nadler and you guys so much grief over your positions and, son of a gun, you were right, except your administration that's pulling off this information that you thought the Bush administration would be doing.
GLENN: I don't think ‑‑ you know what, I don't ‑‑
GOHMERT: Something else, too, Glenn: I've come up with some Democrats over the last two days who voted against the Amash amendment who I was surprised voted against it because they were against giving the NSA any of this kind of power to start with. And they said, well, look ‑‑ one of them said, "Louie, let me just show you what we got from our leadership in the Democratic Party and that's why I voted no on the Amash amendment. It says right here very clearly the law does not allow us currently to gather anybody's phone information unless they have talked to some foreign terrorist or some member of a foreign terrorist group."
GLENN: So Louie ‑‑
GOHMERT: And I said, well, that is true, that is what the law says, but they are not following the law.
GLENN: Can I ask you a question? What ‑‑
GOHMERT: And so that's why some of the left who argued against, that said this kind of thing might happen voted against the Amash amendment. They were given the wrong information.
GLENN: So tell me this, Louie: Then why is it, what are they storing in the Utah data storage facility? What is it they are storing? Are they crisping lettuce in that?
GOHMERT: I don't know.
GLENN: I mean ‑‑
GOHMERT: It's huge, isn't it?
GLENN: It's ‑‑
GOHMERT: And I don't know, and probably if I did, it would be classified, but I really don't know it all, but I know apparently they are going to be gathering ‑‑
GOHMERT: ‑‑ every phone call that everyone has made.
GLENN: Exactly right.
GOHMERT: The logs for those things, and that is dangerous. But let me point out something else, Glenn and, you know, we talked about our open borders. And I'm telling you, for the amount of liberty we have to give up to have security is in direct proportion to how open our borders are. The more open our borders are, then the more we have to give up liberty to have security. And as you quoted Franklin, you know. He said those that give up safety for liberty don't deserve either one. That's ‑‑
GLENN: But I mean ‑‑
GOHMERT: That's where we are. We need to secure our border. We need to kick out people that overstay visas. And I still contend we should do nothing on immigration except pass a resolution. Mr. President, you secure the border as confirmed by the border states and then we'll take up a comprehensive bill, but not until then.
Now, back to Benghazi, back to the NSA spying, back to a total throw‑out of the Internal Revenue Code and revamping that system. Back to the things that are 60 to 70% popular with the American people.
GLENN: All right, Louis ‑‑ Louie Gohmert from Texas, congressman, I appreciate it and thank you so much. I'm running a little bit late but God bless you, man, and keep up the fight.