June 19th, 2013
09:28 AM ET
9 years ago

Poll: More hearings, please

(CNN) - A new poll indicates a majority of Americans support the federal government's surveillance programs that track metadata on domestic phone calls and monitor online activity by foreigners overseas.

But nearly two-thirds of Americans still want Congress to hold public hearings on the issue, according to the Washington Post/ABC News poll released Wednesday.

Sixty-five percent of adults say they support congressional hearings on the matter. The House Intelligence Committee held such a session Tuesday with National Security Agency director Keith Alexander and other top officials in the intelligence community.

Alexander defended the surveillance programs, saying they have helped thwart more than 50 terrorist plots in more than 20 countries since 9/11. While almost all of them are classified, officials revealed details on four cases on Tuesday, including one plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange and another plan to bomb the New York City subway.

NSA officials are scheduled to brief members of the House intelligence committee on more of the 50 cases Wednesday in a classified meeting.

Fifty-eight percent of Americans support the U.S. phone records and foreign Internet surveillance programs, according to the poll. That falls in the same ballpark as a CNN/ORC International released earlier this week that shows 51% of Americans support the phone records collection, while 66% support the use of online monitoring when targeting suspects overseas.

President Obama, speaking in Berlin on Wednesday, defended the programs, arguing they have struck an "appropriate balance" between civil liberties and security.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll was conducted between June 12 and June 16 with 1,017 adults surveyed by telephone. The sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Congress • NSA • Polls
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Lynda/Minnesota

    If indeed this poll is actually a barometer of what the majority of Americans want, why then are the news networks viewer ratings in the toilet? And why does TV news rate a 23% trust level from Americans?

    Tell us more of what you want us to believe, CNN. It's working really, really well for you folks ... yes?

    June 19, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  2. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    More hearings? Please the american people should be shouting more jobs. Thats the problem, we worry about to many things we cant control and not nearly enough about what we can

    June 19, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. saywhat

    Majority of Americans want answers, they do not support unfettered surveillance and infringement on basic rights.

    June 19, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. Thomas

    Issa / Paul 2016

    We need endless hearings , Jobs , Jobs , Jobs !

    June 19, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  5. Data Driven

    Can we take a poll on the "American people"? I'm starting to find us annoying. On one hand we gripe about Congress not doing their legislative duty; on the other hand we want them to hold hearings on matters that were settled, with much approbation, a decade ago.

    Make up your mind, "American people".

    June 19, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    No problem with more oversight. Just don't go overboard with it. There are reasons why things are meant to remain secret.

    June 19, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    There has to be, some limits, on what our government is allowed to do, if we are to remain a republic. We already have to face the fact, we are not truly, a democracy, in any sense.

    June 19, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  8. The Elephant in the Room

    If your member of Congress voted for the Patriot Act [under presssure from Bush . . . "you are either with us of agin us" ] or the subsequent re-authorization AND you want these hearing then FIRE your Congressman. He/she was either ASLEEP at the switch or ignored the will of his constituents.

    I am tired of a LAZY american public being upset dueing the exam when they refuseed to pay attention during the class.

    June 19, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. Wake up People!

    More jobs bills please......

    Maybe increase the minimum wage. No one can take care of
    themselves, let alone a family off $7 per hour.

    Equal opportunities and pay regardless to your complexion.

    These are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head.

    June 19, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. PC

    I support more hearings also. I would love to see how many more truths Darrell Issa is willing to keep from the American people.

    June 19, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. Sniffit

    "But nearly two-thirds of Americans still want Congress to hold public hearings on the issue"

    Of course. People want to understand what is being done, because most of them really don't and that leads to fear. Frequently, knowing and understanding alleviates the fear. That 2/3 want further hearings, however, does not mean that 2/3 want Obama's scalp for continuing the NSA programs that started under Bush. Unfortunately, since the House GOP/Teatrolls will be largely in control of the hearings, their focus will be the latter, not the former. In fact, their intent will likely be to confuse and obfuscate the issue in order to INCREASE the fear as a means of "getting at" Obama.

    June 19, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  12. just me

    Well said, sniffit

    June 19, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. Pete

    What are hearings going to do to inform you if its been implimented since 2001 after 9/11 than you should already know because theoretically it doesn't concern you anyway!!!Remember the only difference between what Pres.Bushs policies of the Patriot Act,Homeland security is there's more safeguards legally implimented for citizens put in place by Pres.Obama than originally put in place by Bush..Basicly saying its more legal than Bushs plans with supposid wiretaps,easedropping that now republicans are now ranting about..Remember when Bush,Cheney implimented these two intrusive policies back then not a peep came out of republicans who thought as usual everything was legit under Pres.Bush, how wrong they were ...I complained about it stepping on our liberties,constitutional rights and was told like it or leave so I return the same statement to you after Pres.Obama cleaned up legally yet another republicans mess and I say quit crying or leave as well its here to stay hypocrites ..If you're not doing anything wrong against America,its people than Big Brothers not going to bother you plain and simple!!

    June 19, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  14. Al-NY,NY

    Rick McDaniel

    There has to be, some limits, on what our government is allowed to do, if we are to remain a republic. We already have to face the fact, we are not truly, a democracy, in any sense.

    does your comment cover the years of Duh Duh Duh-bya also? Or has it only changed since a democrat has been in the WH?

    June 19, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. J'cincinnati'Redd

    Some folks on this blog just make up facts. Its funny!

    June 19, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. PaulCat

    Can we please talk about jobs, jobs and jobs?

    June 19, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. California Gary

    Yup........the people want more hearings. It's great entertainment. They also want more reality shows. Who doesn't like watching people make complete fools out of themselves. Watching Issa step on himself on a daily basis has been fun. Proceed congressman........

    June 19, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. just sayin

    Wake up People!
    More jobs bills please......

    jobs bils??? but we are in an economic recovery according to the democrats. things are booming, no problemo. did you miss the 2010 summer of recovery that joe biden bragged about?

    btw democrats controlled all of the federal government from 2009-2010. they could have passed all the jobs they wanted and nobody could have stopped them. instead they spent a year figuring out how to destroy our healthcare system and the result was the train wreck of obamacare being jammed down our throats. and then there was the trillion dollar porkulus bill that was supposed to drive unemployment down to 5%! how did that work out? failure.

    so please spare me the calls for jobs bills... you weren't screaming in 2009-2010. why now?

    June 19, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  19. truth hurts but reality bites

    Yes, they need more hearings. Many more hearings. The people going up there to testify are lying (Eric Holder), taking the 5th, or haven't been showing up for their 6 figure job because they claim to know nothing about what goes on in the organization they are paid big bucks to lead and run. And then you have the Obama administration stonewalling and not giving information.

    The IRS fiasco is starting to be unravelled. It has already been proven false that this was the doing of two rouge agents in Cinci. It spanned several IRS offices and there was direction from Washington to these agents. This scandal will only get bigger, much bigger. And to daye, nobody, not one single person involved, has lost his job of this. The temporary clown at the top being "fired" three weeks before he was leaving anyways was a political stunt by Obama. Lois Lerner still collects her 6 figure salary after taking the 5th. Ridiculous.

    June 19, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |

    The tepubs want to do any thing but create jobs! VOTE THE GOP OUT!

    June 19, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. Tabeth

    During the time of Cold war, the west endlessly complained that people in Rusia, China...were subejct to surveillance
    against their will....what has happened to us now? We do understand that freedom without security is impossible...
    Can politicians find a bipartisan balance in this?

    June 19, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "The IRS fiasco is starting to be unraveled"

    Indeed. Testimony from Ms. Paz and from the individual whose full transcript was just released by Rep. Cummings...a higher level official who describes himself as a "conservative Republican"...has pretty much proven beyond any debate that the whole thing had absolutely nothing to do with the WH or Obama. Rather, it was the result of a combination of long-standing organizational and systemic failures in the IRS that have existed for years and years, the inherent problems and conflicts created by Citizens United and terrible 501(c)(4) regulatory precedent and, ultimately, some employees making some extremely dumb choices. Release of that full transcript also proved that Issa was deliberately cherry-picking out-of-context quotes in order to feed the MSM red meat for its controversy machine. He was manipulating the transparency of the investigation in order to fabricate the narrative he preferred, rather than honestly informing the public via the MSM as to what the evidence was really showing.

    The fact is: "there is no there, there" and it's not even remotely debatable anymore.

    June 19, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |