01/18/2014 09:08 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Dem Rep Goes After Obama's NSA Reforms: Move Toward 'Eliminating The Practice'

Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), a member of the House Homeland Security committee, said that the modest changes for the National Security Agency that President Barack Obama laid out in a speech on Friday do not go far enough to protect civil liberties.

“I think we can both protect our national security and protect our individual’s privacy and our civil liberties," Horsford told HuffPost Live. "It’s a false choice to say we can’t do both. “

In his speech, Obama attempted to balance those concerns, announcing a number of reforms to the NSA's controversial surveillance practices while offering a strong defense of the country's intelligence apparatus. Among other changes, Obama ordered intelligence agencies to obtain a court order before accessing the telephone data of hundreds of millions of Americans, and said that such data should be moved out of the government's control. Instead, internet service providers or an unspecified third party could retain the records.

Horsford argued to HuffPost’s Zach Carter, however, that such a change isn’t enough.

“We need to be moving towards eliminating the practice, not just creating another bureaucracy to review the collection of the data," he said. "Particularly one that’s secret, that does not protect the interest of our citizens and their civil liberties.”

Watch Horsford’s interview with HuffPost Live in the video above.

Horsford’s criticism comes just days after the revelation that the NSA collects information from 200 million text messages a day, a practice that’s so valuable to the agency that it has dubbed it "a goldmine to exploit."



Edward Snowden