- NSA Refuses to Answer to Congress!
by Jason Mick (Blog), http://www.dailytech.com/
“We could tell you, but then we’d have to”
The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) implied in a letter this week that it can not answer to Congress fully due to national security.
I. Dissolving the Senate
Some members of Congress are beginning to contemplate if they made a mistake in passing the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act of 2006, even as others argue the NSA needs less accountability and more freedom to spy on Americans to secure the nation.
The NSA put its Congressional supporters in awkward spot this week, when it basically claim Congress gave it powers of secrecy that trumped Congress’s own powers to govern.
Specifically, the NSA refused to (for now, at least) answer a direct question from U.S. Senator Bernard “Bernie” Sanders (D-Verm.) regarding whether the NSA “spies” on Congress.
Sen. Sanders wrote in a leter addressed to retiring/resigning NSA chief General Keith Brian Alexander:
Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials? “Spying” would include gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business?
In a preliminary reply, given to CNN, the NSA more or less shot down the Senator’s request. It refused to directly answer his question, instead stating:
NSA’s authorities to collect signals intelligence data include procedures that protect the privacy of U.S. persons. Such protections are built into and cut across the entire process. Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons.
The NSA has already claimed it does not “spy” on Americans or “collect” their data in the language of the NSA, but it does “touch” their data. In plain English this means it does spy on Americans and collect their data. The NSA has also stated that any intercepted data from Americans is held only “temporarily”. Recent leaks reveal “temporarily” in plain English means it is housed in an NSA deep storage facility for 15 years.
II. “Innocent” Lies?
Gen. Alexander — an official who once fashioned himself a “throne” of sorts to command his “information dominance” strategy — and his cohorts may be wary of being ruled in contempt of Congress, should they deliver false information.