Viewpoint: June 11, 2013

There are a lot of important questions to be answered surrounding the Obama administration's decision to collect cell phone data from millions of Americans. The president defends the action saying it's an important tool to identify potential terror threats.

No one disputes cell phone records and digital data could be useful in tracking potential terrorists. A poll shows 56 percent of Americans find the tracking of phone records acceptable.

But, the Republican congressman who authored the Patriot Act after 9/11 believes this latest move goes too far. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner says while he believes the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security and civil rights, he has always worried about potential abuses.

President Obama in the past voiced concern as well. In 2007, Mr. Obama said the surveillance policy of the Bush administration "puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide." As more details emerge, we urge Congress to ask the tough questions to ensure that abuses are eliminated and that while our leaders take steps to keep Americans safe they also take steps to safeguard our fundamental right to privacy.