I spent some time this afternoon calling my representatives with this simple question:
Hi, my name is Jon Corbett, I’m a constituent in Miami and I’d like to know what the [Rep./Sen.] is doing to restrict the NSA’s collection of the phone records of Americans.
Here are the responses I got:
- Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) – I called the D.C. Office at (202) 225-3931 and my call was immediately answered by a live person. The Representative has not come out with a position on the issue. I pressed that 2 weeks after the occurrance of one of the biggest scandals in recent years, that it would be shocking that the Rep. has not yet come out with an opinion. The woman on the phone apologized and said she had no further information. She took my address and recorded my position.
- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) – I called the D.C. Office at (202) 224-3041. My first call got a “we’re busy” message, and an immediate re-dial got me a live person. The friendly young man on the other end assured me that the Senator was outraged over the domestic spying and had press releases on his Web site. I walked through the Web site with him, and there are a ton of press releases, but almost all of them are on immigration. I clarified for the phone rep that while immigration is important, as a U.S. Citizen, protecting my constitutional rights is more important to me. The man told me that there will be a public statement on the site soon and I could check YouTube. He took my area code and recorded my position. I took to YouTube and found this interview — the tl;dw version is that the Sen. feels that releasing more information about the program would make Americans comfortable with it.
- Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) – I called the D.C. Office at (202) 224-5274. My first 3 calls got a “we’re busy” message. I called the Miami office, and they told me I needed to try D.C. I tried D.C. about half a dozen more times and finally got through. I was told that the Senator has not taken a position on the issue. I pressed like I did with Rep. Illeana, and was told that the phone rep was not authorized to speak on the matter. She took my ZIP code and recorded my position.
So there you have it. Two out of three don’t really care, and the third flip-flops on the issue (no, Sen. Rubio, the problem is not that I have insufficient information, the problem is that the NSA has too much information). Perhaps they don’t care because not enough people have called them. Let’s work on that. 🙂