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Is the NSA spying on Congress?
Pando Daily ^ | January 3, 2014 | David Sirota

Posted on 01/04/2014 2:31:59 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

“Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials?”

This is the huge question U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is asking the National Security Administration in a new letter to the agency’s chief, Gen. Keith Alexander. If at first glance this seems like a legislator’s blind fishing expedition prompted by fact-free conspiracy theory, think again. As I noted in a NSFWCORP report back in August, there’s very good reason for every elected official in Washington to suspect – and fear – that the NSA is surveilling them.

We already know the NSA has swept up a “large number” of calls from the Washington, D.C. area code. We know that the NSA has the capacity to rake in up to 75 percent of all Internet traffic. We know that Alexander’s surveillance ethos is to “collect it all” – with “all” presumably including information from elected officials. And we know that in his aggressive lobbying of Congress, Alexander would almost certainly have a coercive use for any incriminating information on lawmakers that his minions might be able to vacuum up.

But maybe most damning of all, we know that the NSA has not denied surveilling Members of Congress. Indeed, when I asked U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) if the NSA was keeping files on his colleagues, he recounted a meeting between NSA officials and lawmakers in the lead-up to a closely contested House vote to better regulate the agency:

“One of my colleagues asked the NSA point blank will you give me a copy of my own record and the NSA said no, we won’t. They didn’t say no we don’t have one. They said no we won’t. So that’s possible.”

Grayson is right: presumably, if the NSA wasn’t tracking lawmakers, it would have flatly denied it. Instead, those officials merely denied lawmakers access to whatever files the agency might have. That suggests one of two realities: 1) the NSA is keeping files on lawmakers 2) the NSA isn’t keeping files on lawmakers, but answered vaguely in order to stoke fear among legislators that it is.

Regardless of which of these realities happens to be the case, the mere existence of legitimate fears of congressional surveillance by an executive-branch agency is a serious legal and separation-of-powers problem. Why? Because whether or not the surveillance is actually happening, the very real possibility that it even could be happening or has happened can unduly intimidate the legislative branch into abrogating its constitutional oversight responsibilities. In this particular case, it can scare congressional lawmakers away from voting to better regulate the NSA.

Thus, Sanders very simple question - “Has the NSA spied on members of Congress?” – is entirely appropriate and warranted. In fact, in one sense, it is amazing it has taken this long for a legislator to publicly demand an answer to the question. But, then, in another sense, maybe that proves the NSA’s scare tactics have worked. Not only have congressional lawmakers done nothing to rein in the agency’s illegal surveillance programs, they haven’t until now even dared to ask whether they are a target of said surveillance.

That’s what makes Sanders letter so important – it breaks the larger omerta surrounding the NSA and, in the process, effectively dares the NSA to try to mete out retribution.

Now sure, the NSA’s record of lying to Congress suggests the Vermont senator may not get a straight answer to his specific question. However, in so boldly putting the question out there, Sanders may end up emboldening other lawmakers to take other actions against the agency – and do so without regard to whether the NSA will deploy its surveillance apparatus against its congressional critics.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: congress; nsa; obama; surveillance
That'd explain a lot.
1 posted on 01/04/2014 2:31:59 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Is the NSA spying on Congress?


Like; they would admit it.... LoL...
Bernie is such a retard...


2 posted on 01/04/2014 2:34:27 PM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Sure would. It would move some GOPe members from collaborators to blackmail victims. It also feeds into the general fear of retaliation against those who Oppose anything the Obama Regime does.


3 posted on 01/04/2014 2:36:12 PM PST by Truth29
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Spying on citizens? [shrug] Not a big deal.
Spying on Republicans in Congress? [shrug] Not a big deal.
Spying on Democrats in Congress? [shrug] Not a big deal.

Let's get to the problem -- sir, have you the audacity to spy on me?? I'm a socialist!! Don't you realize that I am immune from your tawdry games??

4 posted on 01/04/2014 2:39:47 PM PST by ClearCase_guy
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The implied premise that the NSA is conspiring in the blackmailing Congress is absurd.

Has our hero Snowden uncovered anything concerning Congressional misrepresentation, neglect, or deceit?

I know — our representatives are pure but incompetent pawns. /s


5 posted on 01/04/2014 2:40:27 PM PST by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Why didn’t more Senators in addition to Sanders ask this same question? It seems a self evident question for any Senator who does not already know the answer.


6 posted on 01/04/2014 2:40:46 PM PST by JimSEA
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

7 posted on 01/04/2014 2:44:17 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Let's go back to Nixon and this spying theme. They booted Nixon out why??

Obama should have been booted out a long time ago.

8 posted on 01/04/2014 2:45:11 PM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Nixon-ordered-huge-spy-effort-3138079.php


9 posted on 01/04/2014 2:47:21 PM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I assume that from the very start, Obama harvested enough info on congress to immobilize any opposition - how else to explain the listless way newspapers and talking heads note that Obama’s actions are once again unconstitutional...no checks and balances on that guy.


10 posted on 01/04/2014 2:53:58 PM PST by ransomnote
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Bernie doesn’t give a rat’s ass if NSA spies on the great unwashed; but he throws a tizzy when the snooping may include looking at Congresscritters.


11 posted on 01/04/2014 2:54:20 PM PST by ought-six ( Multiculturalism is national suicide, and political correctness is the cyanide capsule.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; GeronL

Probably, yet it was a “bigger scandal” that some staffer was able to view non-locked memos between Dead Red Ted Kennedy and the NAACP regarding Kennedy’s tactic to block Boosh’s judicial nominees.


12 posted on 01/04/2014 2:58:41 PM PST by a fool in paradise ("Health care is too important to be left to the government.")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

When the question is, “Is the NSA spying on x” the answer is always yes..regardless of what x is.


13 posted on 01/04/2014 3:01:12 PM PST by Bobalu (The true secret to genius is in creativity, not in technical mechanics)
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To: ransomnote

14 posted on 01/04/2014 3:01:36 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Just continuing the long standing tradition of Hoover. If your organization is tasked with gathering secrets your #1 target group will always be your bosses, because they have the secrets that matter to you most.


15 posted on 01/04/2014 3:03:21 PM PST by discostu (I don't meme well.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; at bay

Ping


16 posted on 01/04/2014 3:03:23 PM PST by gaijin
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If the government has the capability to do something, someone in the government will do it.

There is no respect for the nation’s laws and the Constitution - they are totally ignored or just viewed as minor impediments.


17 posted on 01/04/2014 3:03:50 PM PST by Iron Munro (Orwell: There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This would explain quite a bit.

A recent example is “How did 0bama know the PUBBIES were going to cave on the debt ceiling?”

He acted like he had inside info during this period.


18 posted on 01/04/2014 3:04:54 PM PST by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton (Go Egypt on 0bama)
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To: ransomnote


19 posted on 01/04/2014 3:07:31 PM PST by Iron Munro (Orwell: There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Nixon spied on his opponents headquarters and resigned in disgrace. Obama is spying on everyone in the world, and the democrats worship and praise him for it. What is wrong with this picture is, the democrats are hypocrites. They own Nixon an apology


20 posted on 01/04/2014 3:19:32 PM PST by realcleanguy
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I suspect that since Obama took office, the NSA mission has been compromised and now takes on both military/Homeland Security intelligence gathering, and political for the WH and Democratic Party. Wanna bet??


21 posted on 01/04/2014 4:16:08 PM PST by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-hereQaeda" and its allies.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Well, duh! It’s the only possible explanation for how congress deals with obama. The SC, too.


22 posted on 01/04/2014 4:24:48 PM PST by VerySadAmerican (".....Barrack, and the horse Mohammed rode in on.")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; MestaMachine; Rushmore Rocks; Oorang; sweetiepiezer; txnuke; La Lydia; aragorn; ...

23 posted on 01/04/2014 4:37:12 PM PST by LucyT ( If you're NOT paranoid, you don't know what's going on.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
does Sanders really know what his questions does ?
If NSA would answer “no”, that takes US District Judge William Pauley’s ruling down the toilet..the linchpin being "the bulk telephony metadata collection program" encompassed everyone.
24 posted on 01/04/2014 6:25:55 PM PST by stylin19a (Obama -> Fredo smart)
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To: cripplecreek
BTTT
25 posted on 01/04/2014 6:36:06 PM PST by Chgogal (Obama "hung the SEALs out to dry, basically exposed them like a set of dog balls..." CMH)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Is the NSA spying on Congress for the Executive Branch?
26 posted on 01/04/2014 6:37:38 PM PST by Chgogal (Obama "hung the SEALs out to dry, basically exposed them like a set of dog balls..." CMH)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

27 posted on 01/04/2014 6:48:05 PM PST by JoeProBono (SOME IMAGES MAY BE DISTURBING VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED;-{)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

And yet the Fox News socialist Greg Jarrett (any relation to Valerie) says Snowden should have stayed in the USA and be imprisoned by Eric Holder because he could not be a whistle-blower, he didn’t even have a high school diploma.


28 posted on 01/04/2014 8:08:42 PM PST by charlie72
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To: discostu
Just continuing the long standing tradition of Hoover. If your organization is tasked with gathering secrets your #1 target group will always be your bosses, because they have the secrets that matter to you most.

Kennedy fired Edgar, Johnson fired Edger, Edger died in office.

29 posted on 01/04/2014 10:00:12 PM PST by itsahoot (It is not so much that history repeats, but that human nature does not change.)
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To: Truth29

“It would move some GOPe members from collaborators to blackmail victims.”

Snowden stole the wrong files (or hopefully he did and has yet to release them).

It would indeed be a beautiful day in the neighborhood if every stinking page on every person in Congress and the Administration were released to the world. If that were to happen, you would see a nearly new compliment of Senators and Representatives at the next election. And Obama would be headed to jail along with all if his henchmen. Cruz, Paul and Lee and a few more would be the exceptions. I’d pay money to see Boner, Scrotum Chin and Dingy Harry in stripes.


30 posted on 01/04/2014 11:04:59 PM PST by vette6387
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To: cripplecreek; LucyT

Interesting question. Thanks for the posts; ping.

Congress, the ussc, the prez & veep should be imprisoned or worse. Forget about miranda rights. Constitutional rights have been smashed. Founding principles have been obliterated. We didn’t form a republic to be debt slaves, a killing force to fight international civil wars, subjects of criminals/collectivist-organizers/statists/socialists/totalitarians.


31 posted on 01/05/2014 2:27:57 AM PST by PGalt
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