Rubio listed numerous reasons for distrust in government,including the Benghazi scandal,subpoenas of Associated Press phone records and the investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen.
“The level of mistrust in government is at an all-time high,” he said.
In a speech at the American Society of News Editors conference Tuesday that was mainly about immigration reform,Rubio said a major cause of the country’s immigration problem is that the government is too involved in economics,as many immigrants come to the U.S. to find work and need free enterprise to succeed.
“Hispanics are terribly hurt by big government,” he said.
A member of the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” that is working toward immigration reform,the senator said many Americans don’t believe reform will happen because they don’t trust the government to begin with.
When he talked about mistrust in government,he did not mention the National Security Agency’s collection of phone records and Internet activity as a cause.
But when he was asked about it,Rubio,a member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence,said that some level of surveillance is necessary for national security and that there has been misinformation about what the government has been doing.
“We are facing new challenges,” he said,referring to terrorists’ uses of technology to plan attacks.
He said NSA has room for change,but that some improvements have to be classified to protect national security.
Rosen was also present at the ASNE conference. After he published classified information about threats from North Korea,the Department of Justice labeled Rosen a co-conspirator in violation of the Espionage Act and seized his email and phone records. He spoke at a panel along with whistleblower Thomas Drake.
Drake,a former NSA senior executive,told a reporter about government surveillance programs under the administration of George W. Bush. He was prosecuted by the government,but the case fell apart. He now works at an Apple store,but he stands by his decision and said he feels camaraderie with Edward Snowden. He said the Obama administration’s surveillance tactics are unprecedented.
“I believe what I had to share with a reporter was of interest to the public,” he said.
Refusing to be called a leaker,Drake said any confidentiality forms he signed when he went to work at NSA were trumped by the Constitution.
“I made a choice as an American citizen,” he said.
Rosen was less vocal about his opinions on government surveillance,given the ongoing investigation. He said he hopes to eventually tell the complete story to the public. While he didn’t say that his place of employment was the cause of the investigation,he did say the Obama administratin has opposed Fox News in the past. “Obama sought unsuccessfully to illegitimize Fox News as an organization,” he said
Reach Caleigh Bourgeois at [email protected] or 202-326-9866. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.