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Concerns about spying, illegal immigrants voiced in meeting with Oklahoma congressman

More than 450 people show up Tuesday evening to ask questions of U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, during a town hall meeting.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: August 14, 2013

Concerns about illegal spying by a federal government that seems unable to do anything about illegal immigration frustrated many in a feisty crowd of more than 450 people who met Tuesday evening with U.S. Rep. James Lankford.

Dax Ewbank, of Oklahoma City, told Lankford he is concerned that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI are using Americans' phone and Internet data that the National Security Agency has been collecting.

“It needs to end now,” he said, as many in the group applauded during a town hall meeting at the Rockwell campus of the Francis Tuttle Technology Center, 12777 N Rockwell Ave.

“The government is collecting information, pre-emptive of a crime, and then leaking it to law enforcement,” he said.

Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said he has attended classified briefings with NSA officials who deny the phone and Internet information they have is being used against Americans.

Lankford represents residents in Oklahoma, Seminole and Pottawatomie counties in the 5th Congressional District.

Lankford said he was told the NSA is storing the phone numbers to protect the country against foreign threats and requires a court order to access the numbers to see if they are connected to foreign threats. But, still, Lankford said he is curious why the federal government is collecting the information; the phone companies have the data and the federal government could get the information from them. He also is concerned no citizen advocate is involved in the process, which could lead to abuses of individual privacy, he said.

But he said the agency has used similar data to break up 54 terrorist plots in the past years from overseas threats.

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They're ruining our economic system and demanding to stay and be made citizens. Nothing against these people personally, but they're strangling our economy.”

Alex Haley,
Oklahoma City

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