Edward Snowden should not be setting national policy. The twenty-something system administrator who leaked government secrets lacks the maturity and experience necessary to make important decisions about the security of our nation.
Sadly, many members of the House of Representatives were willing to cede their policy-making responsibilities to the rash of headlines that Snowden generated.
Rep. Nick Joe Rahall, D-W.Va., was one who voted to place unnecessary and harmful restrictions on intelligence gathering by the National Security Agency, which keeps our military informed.
"With the recent revelations about electronic eavesdropping by our nation's intelligence and law enforcement agencies, I have been hearing from my constituents who are understandably concerned about their privacy rights and civil liberties," Rahall wrote.
Reps. Shelley Moore Capito and David McKinley, both R-W.Va., opposed hobbling the NSA during a time when terrorists still want to harm Americans.
This was not a party line vote, as 134 Republicans and 83 Democrats voted against restricting the NSA's surveillance capabilities. The White House opposed the restrictions, as well.
"While I want to ensure that our civil liberties are protected, the Amash amendment is shortsighted and was hastily written," Capito wrote.
"Congress must maintain strong oversight over the NSA to protect personal privacy, but ending a program that defense and intelligence leaders say is vital to
preventing terrorist attacks is not a step that I am willing to take."
What some representatives objected to was the agency's collection of metadata from telephone companies that show who called whom. Casting such a wide net allows the NSA to filter through a larger pool of calls.
The NSA is not monitoring these phone calls. They can't listen in on all 310 million people who own 327 million cellphones and 146 million landline phones.
However, the best way to protect privacy is to keep in place the stiff sanctions against agency officials and employees who use the agency's capabilities for personal purposes and profit.
Such as Snowden did.