Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) said on Sunday that American skepticism of the government has reached the highest peak he has ever encountered.
Huckabee, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, blamed the National Security Administration (NSA) and its bulk phone records collection program as a major force behind citizen unease.
“If this is so effective, why hasn’t it foiled potential terrorist plots?” he asked.
“Not one of them has been tied to the NSA’s collection of metadata,” Huckabee said of the program’s warrantless collection of phone records for countering terrorism.
“It seems like we’re spending billions of dollars on the whiz-bang technology and not enough on human resources, which have proven to be the most effective way of stopping terrorism,” he added.
Huckabee’s remarks follow the Senate’s decision to adjourn early on Saturday without reforming NSA practices or renewing the controversial Patriot Act portion relating to them.
The upper congressional chamber departed on Saturday morning without a clear strategy for revisiting the Patriot Act’s intelligence-gathering provisions, parts of which expire at the end of the month.
Huckabee argued on Sunday that the Constitution offered one tried and true method for combating terrorism – the rule of law.
“I think the Constitution already provides what we should do,” he said.
“If you have probable cause to suspect Chris Wallace is going to commit criminal acts you go to a judge and get a warrant and then you can listen to his phone calls,” Huckabee told Wallace.
Huckabee also noted on Sunday that mystery surrounding the NSA program’s effectiveness mirrored the greater opaqueness of both President Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“The secrecy with which this government has operated and specifically Hillary Clinton operating outside State Department protocol is extremely troubling,” he said.
Huckabee additionally argued that the Supreme Court had abused its legal power with recent decisions, thus eroding the public’s faith in the institution.
“Judicial review is exactly what we have operated under,” he said of the judicial branch historically. “Judicial supremacy is not what we have operated under.”
“One can’t overrule the other two,” he added of the three branches of government.
“We learned that in ninth grade civics,” Huckabee said. “It’s a matter of balance of power.”