Gabbard: Privacy violated but security necessary

WAILEA – U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard offered a balanced perspective on the debate between national security and civil liberties brought about by the revelations of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program derived from the leaks of highly classified material by Edward Snowden.

“I think it’s important to recognize that the American people’s privacy has been lost with these revelations that we continue to see,” said Gabbard at a reception Saturday before the Maui Economic Development Board’s Ke Alahele fundraising dinner at the Grand Wailea. “Every single day we continue to learn more and more about how innocent Americans’ privacy and civil liberties have been violated.

“I’ve served our country in uniform. I truly understand firsthand the necessity for a strong national defense, for national security and how to deal with 21st century threats,” she said.

“Equally, I also am very keenly concerned about and aware of the need to protect our civil liberties,” she continued.

Gabbard said Americans volunteer to serve in the U.S. armed forces because “we fight for what we love about our country.”

“The essence of that is freedom,” she said. “I think it’s a false premise for people to say it has to be one or the other because it should not be. We have to find that balance between the two.

“My position is that we need to focus our limited resources or energy, our talent, more directly on the threats.”

Gabbard represents the Neighbor Islands and rural Oahu in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is a captain in the Hawaii National Guard and has served two tours in the Middle East.