Yesterday, Gary Johnson, a former two-term governor (R-NM) and Libertarian presidential candidate, hosted a Google Hangout during which he spoke on a range of topics, including the NSA and his own future in politics.
"The government can actually listen to your conversations from your cell phone even if it's not turned on," Johnson claimed when asked what he thought about the NSA's recently revealed data collection program. "If that becomes widely publicized, does that become that rallying 'Holy shit! We can't continue to do this!'?"
Johnson called the FISA Court and the Patriot Act sources of government encroachment, and asked, "Where is the due process? Shouldn't all of this be transparent?" The debate over these powers, he added, "never occurred," because people never questioned the PATRIOT Act's legitimacy. He believes we'll be having that debate soon, thanks to revelations about the scope of the NSA's data collection program.
Johnson predicts that the NSA scandal will lead to more interest in libertarianism. "Especially after the NSA," he said, "if there's going to be a viable third-party, it's going to be the Libertarian Party." He also speculated about a more mainstream presence. "I wouldn't discount a libertarian nominee of the Republican Party….maybe we've got the opportunity for Democrats to start labeling themselves as Democrats-slash-libertarians."
The chairman of The Our America Initiative was questioned about his own future in the political realm. "I'm not the guy" for Senate or Congress, Johnson insisted. He explained his discontent with the role those offices play in racking up debt. However, he is "not discounting running within the Republican party" again for either governor or president.
Watch the full hangout below: