Skip to comments.Is the NSA spying on Congress?
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 agencys chief, Gen. Keith Alexander. If at first glance this seems like a legislators blind fishing expedition prompted by fact-free conspiracy theory, think again. As I noted in a NSFWCORP report back in August, theres 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 Alexanders 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 wont. They didnt say no we dont have one. They said no we wont. So thats possible.
Grayson is right: presumably, if the NSA wasnt 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 isnt 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 NSAs scare tactics have worked. Not only have congressional lawmakers done nothing to rein in the agencys illegal surveillance programs, they havent until now even dared to ask whether they are a target of said surveillance.
Thats 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 NSAs 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.
Is the NSA spying on Congress?
Like; they would admit it.... LoL...
Bernie is such a retard...
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.
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??
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
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.
Obama should have been booted out a long time ago.
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.
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.
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.
When the question is, “Is the NSA spying on x” the answer is always yes..regardless of what x is.
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.
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.
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.
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