Sunday, January 5, 2014

Spying on congress

Senator Sanders has gotten his answer.
On Jan. 3, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) published a letter demanding to know whether the NSA “has spied, or is … currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials.”
Sanders specifically mentioned phone and Internet metadata collection, as well as browsing history and private email.
The NSA’s response didn’t directly address the question, instead asserting that elected officials have the same protections against NSA spying that private citizens do:
“NSA’s authorities to collect signals intelligence data include procedures that protect the privacy of US persons. Such protections are built into and cut across the entire process. Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all US persons. NSA is fully committed to transparency with Congress.”
Cutting through all that transparency, the plausible reading of the NSA response is 'yes': just as it honors the privacy of US persons by spying on them, it does the same with US members of Congress. Spying on congress makes sense, too. How else can the NSA prevent it from curtailing its funding or powers?

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