The Conversation

Ignorance Is Bliss, I guess

In response to More Than Half of Senators Ditch Classified NSA Intel Briefing to Head Home:

That's pretty interesting because just last week, some of the NSA spy program's harshest critics were loudly refuting Obama's claim that they had been briefed about it. 

I’m pretty good about attending meetings; I don’t remember being briefed,” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) told reporters on June 6, when the public learned the extent of the NSA’s collection of telephone metadata. 

 He voted for the Patriot Act, but said he did not intend to grant blanket authority to collect millions of phone records.

The Hill went on to report that Isakson did attend the Thursday afternoon briefing but declined to comment to reporters afterward. 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was also spotted leaving the briefing. 

Other Senators who complained that they weren't properly briefed were  Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Senator Susan Collins, and Senator Dick Durbin. Hopefully, they are among the 47 who went to the meeting?

It's good to know that the libertarian-minded Senator Paul has been briefed because some of the latest information coming out disturbs me greatly:

...the NSA records the phone calls of 500,000 to 1 million people who are on its so-called target list, and perhaps even more. "They look through these phone numbers and they target those and that's what they record..."


...Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the head of the Senate Intelligence committee, separately acknowledged this week that the agency's analysts have the ability to access the "content of a call."

...Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's Center for Democracy, says he was surprised to see the 2008 FISA Amendments Act be used to vacuum up information on American citizens. "Everyone who voted for the statute thought it was about international communications," he said.

Doug Ross recaps:

• The NSA admits listening to U.S. phone calls without warrants;

• Federal officials are targeting up to 1 million people in the U.S.;

Curiously, Major Nidal Hasan and the Tsarnaev brothers were somehow overlooked.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, author of the PATRIOT Act, says that the law does not support these kinds of activity.

And 53 Senators opted to skip a briefing about all of this in order to get a head start on their weekend?


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