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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

January 3, 2014 - 2:32 pm

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants to know if the NSA is snooping on Congress, and asked the question of the agency’s director point-blank today.

Sanders wrote in the letter to National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander that he believes the metadata gathering exposed by Edward Snowden is “unconstitutional,” citing U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s description of the surveillance as “almost Orwellian.”

He noted as “equally disturbing” the revelations that the NSA has listened in on phone calls of world leaders, causing “serious foreign policy setbacks for the United States.”

“Indeed, we must be vigilant and aggressive in protecting the American people from the very real danger of terrorist attacks. I believe, however, that we can do that effectively without undermining the constitutional rights that make us a free country,” Sanders wrote.

“I am writing today to ask you one very simple question. Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials? ‘Spying’ would include gathering metadata on calls made from officials or personal phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business.”

Sanders has introduced legislation to put strict limits on sweeping powers used by the NSA and FBI to secretly track telephone calls. Authorities wouldn’t be able to get the sort of open-ended court order allowing for vast data collection and would have to establish reasonable suspicion to get a court order allowing a surveillance operation.

At a June Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Attorney General Eric Holder brushed off a question from Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) on whether they were spying on the legislative branch.

“I want to just ask, could you assure to us that no phones inside the Capitol were monitored of members of Congress that would give a future executive branch, if they started pulling this kind of thing up, that would give them unique leverage over the legislature?” Kirk asked.

“With all due respect, Senator I don’t think this is an appropriate setting for me to discuss that issue. I’d be more than glad to come back in a — in an appropriate setting to discuss the issues that — that you have raised,” Holder responded.

“I would interrupt you and say the correct answer would be to say no, we stayed within our lane and I’m assuring you we did not spy on members of Congress,” Kirk interjected.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
"...is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials?

Hell, yes, you moron! Of course the NSA (part of the Executive branch) is spying on Congress, and other elected officials. How could it not be, since the NSA collects every single electronic communication in the country? The NSA can't know in advance if that communication is being initiated by a Congressman. It just records everything.

And I'll bet dollars to donuts that the Obama regime is taking advantage of that by listening in to what every Congressman and Supreme Court Justice says. That's how Obama knew John Roberts was going to vote to legitimize Obamacare.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hilarious! This BS from a guy who thinks government should run everything.

Okay, Bernie, now YOUR ox is getting gored.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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My God, imagine the size and scope of the pornography stash that the NSA has copied from the computers and e-mails of members of Congress.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Anthony Weiner's texts alone probably take up a terabyte or two of server storage!
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials?

Hell, yes, you moron! Of course the NSA (part of the Executive branch) is spying on Congress, and other elected officials. How could it not be, since the NSA collects every single electronic communication in the country? The NSA can't know in advance if that communication is being initiated by a Congressman. It just records everything.

And I'll bet dollars to donuts that the Obama regime is taking advantage of that by listening in to what every Congressman and Supreme Court Justice says. That's how Obama knew John Roberts was going to vote to legitimize Obamacare.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey Bernie - whatcha got to hide?


29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Every step you take
Every move you make
Obama's perverts at the N-Stasi-A will be watching you

Every word you write or say
Every night and day
Obama's perverts at the N-Stasi-A will be watching you
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
In context, isn't it ironic that the artist's nom-de-plume is "Sting?""

Just sayin'
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The NSA is more of an enemy to America than al Qaeda will ever be. The Founding Fathers would have burned it to the ground.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
So it's all right as long as not you Bernie.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hilarious! This BS from a guy who thinks government should run everything.

Okay, Bernie, now YOUR ox is getting gored.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
NSA then whispered in his ear, showed him a photograph and he withdrew the question.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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