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

Less than half (47) of US Senators attended a classified briefing on Thursday afternoon, instead choosing to head home for the weekend.  The briefing was with “with James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, Keith Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency (NSA), and other officials.”


The last vote in the Senate was on Thursday around noon, so our elected officials chose to take advantage of the early weekend and leave town.  “Only 47 of 100 senators attended the 2:30 briefing, leaving dozens of chairs in the secure meeting room empty as Clapper, Alexander and other senior officials told lawmakers about classified programs to monitor millions of telephone calls and broad swaths of Internet activity.”

The former Chief Judge of the FISA court was at the briefing along with the Deputy director of the FBI, said Committee Chair Diane Feinstein (D-CA).

What kind of message is sent to the intelligence community regarding oversight if they can’t even get half of the Senate to care about this issue? I’m going to guess not much. This is a shameful dereliction of duty. Just shameful. 

According to Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) who attended a different classified congressional briefing, “the contents of a phone call could be accessed ‘simply based on an analyst deciding that.’ ” Nadler said “I was rather startled.” 

Nadler was told that the NSA can listen to a phone conversation without a warrant, if an analyst thinks it is necessary. 

The list who did not attend the Senate briefing has not been made public.