Americans Fed Up with NSA's Spy Programs?

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Some say it's a sign of the times. While National Security Agency head Gen. Keith Butler was justifying the NSA's domestic spying program at a hacker's convention Wednesday, hecklers cut him off.

"No, I'm saying I don't trust you!" one heckler shouted.

"You lied to Congress," another said. "Why would people believe you're not lying to us right now?"

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee may have been wondering the same thing Wednesday when White House officials were summoned to defend the program.

"More about this program probably could be told to the public," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said.

"Sure you are taking any steps now to make sure such a screw up doesn't happen again?" Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked.

The Obama administration insists that while the NSA collects phone numbers, email addresses, and other metadata, it doesn't collect the content of those communications.

"We don't even capture through this any conversations, so there's no ability -- no possibility -- of listening to conversations through what we get in this program," Deputy Attorney General James Cole testified.

But a new report in Britain's The Guardian newspaper, based on documents from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, says the National Security Agency is operating a massive database system that allows analysts to scour people's emails, Facebook chats, and Internet browsing histories at will.

The White House says that to find just one potential terrorist, intelligence officials need these kinds of tools.

"We must have the dots to connect the dots," FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce said.

But a new poll shows most Americans aren't so sure.

The Pew survey finds most Americans believe there aren't enough limits on spying and the government uses the data for more than just fighting terrorism.

Are these surveillance programs constitutional? Dr. Paul Bonicelli, executive vice president of Regent University, explains more, on CBN Newswatch, Aug. 1.

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Dale Hurd

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A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at Facebook.com/DaleHurdNews.