Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Thursday compared the National Security Agency’s (NSA) program of capturing metadata from telephone call to using a search warrant for stolen potato chips to bust marijuana smokers.
During a nearly hour-long House floor speech to rail against the NSA program that collects bulk phone records, Gohmert recalled his time serving as an assistant district attorney in Texas.
He recalled that a deputy was focused on taking down one small community for marijuana use.
“I know they’re smoking dope out there, I just know it,” Gohmert said the deputy told him. “I’ve set out there and surveilled their house, and I haven’t seen them with dope but I know they’ve got it.”
And then one day the deputy came in requesting a warrant because someone had stolen potato chips from a convenience store.
“Well, the place I’ve been surveilling and watching, I found out absolutely for sure, they’re having a party Friday night and they’re going to have potato chips there,” Gohmert recalled the deputy telling him. “So, all I need is a warrant to go look for potato chips and while I’m there, I’ll find the dope.”
“I said, ‘Is there anything identifiable on the potato chips packages that would allow to determine that these were potato chips stolen from the convenience store?’” Gohmert asked the deputy.
The Texas Republican went on to say that he also understood that it was important to balance civil liberties with national security because the country was in danger.
“We don’t want the Muslim Brotherhood running our country… but they’re there,” he opined. “Secretary Napolitano couldn’t even tell me how many Muslim Brotherhood members she had giving her advice. She didn’t even know or, at least, she said she didn’t.”
“But that’s no reason for us to voluntarily to give up all our liberty, give up privacy,” Gohmert added. “When you give up the liberty, you’ve given it up.”
Watch this video from C-SPAN, broadcast July 25, 2013.