Franken, chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, also said there are aspects of security programs that he should be aware of but the public should not.
"There are certain things that are appropriate for me to know that’s not appropriate for the bad guys to know," he said. "Anything that quote the American people know, the bad guys know so there's a line here, right? And there's a balance that has to be struck between the responsibility of the federal government to protect the American people and then people’s right to privacy. We have safeguards in place …The American people can’t know everything because everything they know then, the bad guys will know."
He said that the data the security agency has collected have kept Americans safe.
"I have a high level of confidence, that it is used…to protect us and I know that it has been successful in preventing terrorism," he said.
The senator, who is running for re-election, said, however, that he is not confident that the proper balance has been struck between privacy and safety concerns.
"We haven’t quite hit the exact balance we want to," he said. "I have been for more transparency and I actually co-sponsored legislation to require the FISA court to release their opinions on why they’ve decided the way they have."
I support that legislation, and I'm hoping that Senator Franken will be a key player in any effort to repeal the Patriot Act. Yes, that's a massive long shot, but it's got to start somewhere.