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Ron Wyden at a September 2012 hearing of the Senate Energy Committee
Sen. Ron Wyden
A quarter of the Senate, plus one, actually wants to do its job of checks and balances against the executive, and is trying to get some answers on the NSA's dragnet surveillance of Americans.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is leading a group of 26 senators — 21 Democrats, four Republicans and one Independent — in demanding answers from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The senators sent a letter to Clapper Friday that includes a series of questions about the scope and focus of the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of data authorized by the PATRIOT Act.

“We are concerned that by depending on secret interpretations of the PATRIOT Act that differed from an intuitive reading of the statute, this program essentially relied for years on a secret body of law,” the senators wrote, noting that the law passed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and reauthorized in 2011 includes a business-records authority “very broad in its scope.”

The senators [Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Udall (D-CO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tom Udall (D-NM), Brian Schatz (D-HI),  Jon Tester (D-MT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mark Begich (D-AK), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Al Franken (D-MN), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Max Baucus (D-MT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Mike Lee (R-UT)] have seven specific questions for Clapper:
1) How long has the NSA used PATRIOT Act authorities to engage in bulk collection of Americans’ records? Was this collection underway when the law was reauthorized in 2006?
2) Has the NSA used USA PATRIOT Act authorities to conduct bulk collection of any other types of records pertaining to Americans, beyond phone records?
3) Has the NSA collected or made any plans to collect Americans’ cell-site location data in bulk?
4) Have there been any violations of the court orders permitting this bulk collection, or of the rules governing access to these records? If so, please describe these violations.
5) Please identify any specific examples of instances in which intelligence gained by reviewing phone records obtained through Section 215 bulk collection proved useful in thwarting a particular terrorist plot.
6) Please provide specific examples of instances in which useful intelligence was gained by reviewing phone records that could not have been obtained without the bulk collection authority, if such examples exist.
7) Please describe the employment status of all persons with conceivable access to this data, including IT professionals, and detail whether they are federal employees, civilian or military, or contractors.
The answers will help the senators, they say, clarify the misleading statements he's made to the Senate about the data collection programs.  Note that the list of Democratic senators on that list includes leadership—Dick Durbin and Patty Murray—and a lot of folks who aren't considered wild-eyed lefties. It's a group of moderate, concerned lawmakers who take their job seriously.

It’s long past time to restore the rule of law, and require the government to respect the privacy and liberties of all Americans. Tell Congress to repeal the Patriot Act by signing our petition here.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 12:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (42+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 12:25:39 PM PDT

  •  Put people under oath (14+ / 0-)

    And if they perjure themselves, let 'em face the consequences.

    We need answers.

  •  No Boxer (D-CA) again. (14+ / 0-)

    He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.

    by Publius2008 on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 12:33:47 PM PDT

  •  Finally. This could be the first step (13+ / 0-)

    in repealing the Patriot Act.  Kind of like Congress repealed The Volstead Act in the 1920s when they realized it was a really bad idea.

  •  They're cute when they pretend to care (6+ / 0-)

    They do this sort of thing from time to time getting a couple of dozen on record shocked, shocked, shocked, that there is gambling going on, round up the usual suspects blah, blah before returning to business as usual.  

    Franken's up for reelection so he gets to pretend to care.  Klobuchar doesn't care and need not pretend to care since she was just reelected.  

    This is not serious.   They will not repeal the Patriot Act or do anything that would actually end the abuses of our liberties and we'd do well not to be distracted.  

    Until we start holding them accountable for outcomes and stop giving them credit for posing nothing is going to change.  

    •  The American people have to care (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini, 3goldens

      To get real action on overturning the Patriot Act, the American people have to make more noise and we have to do a better job supporting those protests.

      Sadly, between a disinterested right wing who realize this is the Bush legacy to an unmotivated Obama facing little pressure from the left to stop the system, it'll probably remain in place.

      But the debate has started up again and that's a good thing.  

      •  They do care about being spied on. (5+ / 0-)

        This "bi-partisan group" will placate some of them, but not nearly enough. This is not really directly about the PATRIOT act, though it'll be the excuse proffered when it comes time for these talkers to actually walk the walk and rein in the NSA.

        Don't kid yourself about "no pressure from the left" on that much--because this part of "the debate" is going to get louder, and it is not going to go away. These people are going to have to do more than put on dog-and-pony shows.

      •  Who the heck is disinterested? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CroneWit, jbsoul

        Did you ever stop to think that people are afraid? The last time this happened there were threats that people caught visiting sites, even on their own PCs would make themselves ineligible for federal jobs--that means they have been saving our personal metadata indefinitely for a long time, because that was way back in 2010.

        There is a lot of propaganda being spread right now from the powers that fear, the people will catch on. Lots of fear, lots of shakey old man voices on the radio yammering on about lots of stuff.

        They are scared shitless.

    •  I think some are serious, but I wish more than 26 (4+ / 0-)

      were on board with this effort, pretending or not.

    •  A full-scale investigation, with subpeonas (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein, 3goldens, DSPS owl

      would be more reassuring, IMO. Make them answer the questions, but under oath.

  •  obviously they are all traitors who work for the (7+ / 0-)

    Cubans and Venezuela and Communist Russia.


  •  Simple: Repeal the Friggin' USA PATRIOT Act. (7+ / 0-)

    problem solved.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 01:14:11 PM PDT

  •  Better photographs of Ron Wyden are available. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why was this one chosen?

  •  Why do these Senators want the Terrorists to win? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, 3goldens, tardis10, lunachickie

    There are things that they are not told for a reason.

    It's above their security clearance.


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 01:34:56 PM PDT

  •  Don't worry. Issa's got the House covered. (0+ / 0-)

    Wait, what?

  •  This is great (6+ / 0-)

    Notable that Rand Paul wasn't on this list. Isn't he supposed to care about this stuff? But seriously, I am heartened to see so many Senators taking on this issue. This gives me hope that we may see some changes yet, if they are actually willing to stick with the issue and see it through.

    "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

    by Lost Left Coaster on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 01:37:09 PM PDT

    •  I don't think Rand plays well with others (4+ / 0-)

      He's off doing his own thing (some sort of ill-conceived lawsuit last I heard).  If he got on board with this, then he wouldn't get to be the center of attention.  He's just be another voice pushing this.

    •  Rand Paul was having a catheter... (0+ / 0-)

      ...inserted in preparation for his Fillibuster of an upcoming bill which raises the Minimum Wage as the letter was being passed around the senate.

      DiFi (my senator) was stringing a new pearl necklace that she can clutch the next time her buddies at the FBI, CIA, NSA and DNI testify about the terrorists who are now on to our counter-intelligence tactics thanks to those traitors Manning, Snowden and Greenwald.

    •  I thought he was busy trying to organize a class (0+ / 0-)

      action suit against the telecom companies involved. I am not sure how much sense that makes without direct evidence of willing collusion.

      Secret court orders might make his dream of a class action, rather silly.

  •  I will link to this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tony Situ

    next time someone says Snowden could not trust anyone with the information he had and was thus forced to broadcast it to the world.

    Wyden's been on this for years.

    Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

    by delphine on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 01:40:07 PM PDT

    •  And he has done (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      diddlysquat!  Some Senator with some love of country in their veins (I would use cajones) needs to step out of the shadows.  

      •  Do you think that (0+ / 0-)

        he might have done more if armed with Snowden's "goods"?

        I'm not saying Snowden was wrong to leak the info, but he could have leaked it to someone like Wyden and received coverage, rather than having Greenwald orchestrate all of this, leaving him twisting.

        Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

        by delphine on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 02:08:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If Snowden had tried to go to Sen. Wyden, ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... his situation would be a lot more understandable.

      2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 02:11:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is Snowden had gone to Wyden... (0+ / 0-)

        He'd be roomies with Jimmy Hoffa and the Roswell Alien right now... and taken just as seriously...

        •  I do not distrust Wyden or Merkley like you do. (0+ / 0-)

          In any event, Snowden would not have had to disgorge anything classified at that point. And shouldn't have.

          He didn't even test the system, so sure was he about his opinions and judgment. (Despite apparently having taken the converse side of the disclosure/traitor issue a few years before.)

          To the contrary, he actively accumulated records (by gaining employment with Booz Allen). He sought full disclosure (by self-aggrandizing press treatment). He exaggerated the abilities of the systems he described (at least two major erroneous description, ignored by his supporters). He made himself valuable to other countries by carrying with him laptops of information (it remains to be seen what further use will be made of these). He flees to and apparently relies on at least two countries whose interests are demonstrably inimical to ours. (And he is not a naive man!)

          The result is that Snowden is a self-made pariah. He's not a labor mobster, true, but he's no hero. Governments cannot trust him. Employers cannot trust him. He blew any chance to participate in the investigation and reconsideration of the government's powers in these areas.

          2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

          by TRPChicago on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:51:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I don't understand why you think (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbsoul, GreenMother

      Wyden could have done anything if given that information by Snowden - he already had it directly from the administration but was prohibited from making it public.  Getting an (illegal) leak from someone who was thereby violating an oath and committing a felony would not have enabled Wyden to do anything at all - except to report the leaker to the authorities.

      Play chess for the Kossacks on Join the site, then the group at

      by rhutcheson on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:25:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It needn't have been an "illegal leak". (0+ / 0-)

        Snowden could have prompted a new level of review, questions, maybe the grounds for a formal investigation, without disclosing one jot or tittle of classified information.

        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:57:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  For the life of me, (0+ / 0-)

          I can't figure out why you think that.

          Play chess for the Kossacks on Join the site, then the group at

          by rhutcheson on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 04:08:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Keep thinking. (0+ / 0-)

            Snowden would have presented an alluring opportunity for Senators already committed to challenging the Patriot Act.

            Snowden is smart, surely clever enough not to disclose any classified information without a commitment for immunity which Congress can extend to a witness.

            Sen. Wyden is on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Sen. Merkely is not on a committee that would normally have jurisdiction of intelligence and security matters, but he, too, is a clever man. I have no doubt that with these two Senators and counsel for Snowden (easily identified and retained pro bono, for a case like this), this could have been escalated to a point where Snowden would not have needed to make the sacrifices he made.

            He could have been a hero. Instead ...

            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 06:55:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  These senators have already done that time and (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              again. Because so many Americans simply do not know what is going on, there is no way for said Americans to give these Senators the public support and public scrutiny they need to really push hard for a new inquiry with teeth.

              Many of the laws of the Patriot Act are exclusively Gag Laws for various and sundry agencies, protecting certain corporate interests at the expense of the people, while benefiting from federal security assets and basically immunity.

              Throw some secret courts on the top of that, and these guys hands are tied.

              But Snowden revealing this in the public made it a matter of public record. Citizens want to know more, and are deeply concerned and these legislators have to do their job and follow those concerns up with serious indepth questioning, and research, etc., And then act in the best interests of their constituents by challenging harmful laws that violate the basic tenets of our constitution and our civil rights.

              •  I hear you, but it's specifics they needed. (0+ / 0-)

                They didn't have them and they didn't have a tool to leverage the necessary government witnesses.

                Snowden - for all his faults - offered it and could have provided it ... and saved his reputation and his future in the process.

                I grant you that offers to the Senators might not have worked. But Snowden would have been in so much better position today had he tried.

                He is a pariah whose conduct impeaches him. He needn't have been regarded that way.

                2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                by TRPChicago on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 06:04:00 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It sucks to be a whistleblower (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  No one I know of that has ever been a whistleblower, big or small comes out of it unscathed.

                  They deal with slapp suits, harassment, threats, character assassination, and in some cases, actual assassination--see Karen Silkwood.

                  Sometimes to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs.

                  Challenging a corrupt power like these, even lawfully caries inherent risk, and the biggest risk is being silenced. Snowden avoided that.

                  I doubt he could have done this any other way.

                  •  Snowden obviously thought so. (0+ / 0-)

                    But I believe there's a bigger risk than being silenced in the service of this particular truth publicized this particular way.

                    The bigger risk is for a 29 year-old to paralyze his talent (his was the public betrayal of several trusts; who will trust him now?) and jeopardize his future by exercising his judgment in this particular manner.

                    Given what he signed and how classified and "secret" he knew the NSA's operations to be, he could not have doubted the reaction of his government and his employers.

                    [It would have been very little effort for a bright guy like Snowden to identify a well-regarded DC lawyer and/or rights organization to take him under their wing and press his case to test the possibilities, all without disclosing one iota of classified information, except possibly who his employer was and a high-altitude outline job description. Unless ... he stole material that his job duties wouldn't give afford him access to; that would be a different matter. It is possible he got in too deep and his choices were too limited.]

                    I think the outcome will be a reconsideration of the Patriot Act, which Congress should have stepped up to years ago. But because of the mixed public sentiment and "the felt necessities of our time," I don't believe the result will be nearly as satisfactory as the liberty-oriented of us would like.

                    Snowden made a bigger sacrifice than he needed to. Because of how he knowingly and intentionally chose to do it, he will be paying for his judgment. It isn't impossible that he will eventually return as a hero, but I think that is very unlikely. Many will not believe he deserves it.

                    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                    by TRPChicago on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 12:12:34 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I know I know (0+ / 0-)

                      You know, way way back in the day I had to file Sexual Harassment complaint, and it was legit. I was being stalked.

                      But no one did anything about it. I felt forced to do this, though If I had had my drothers, I would have liked it all to just go away and me and the assholes never speak of this again.

                      But it wasn't to be.

                      I filed the complaint and I was labeled a trouble maker. Who could trust me now? Obviously I was not "cool" with letting people break the regulations and use me like a door mat or target or what have you. So seriously--my life is fucked--there is nothing for me now because obviously I am not a team player.

                      So this is what I have learned.

                      If you think that being a good, trustworthy person, is the ability to allow other people, to use your talents and your good name to hurt other people, or deprive them of their privacy or freedoms--then you have a seriously effed up idea about what a good, trustworthy person is.

                      Why do we hammer Snowden for refusing to be a part of this unholy cabal? This Conspiracy to gut the Constitution and rip the American people off?

                      Why do we prefer him over the people who should be in trouble?

                      Because he's an easy target. That is how humanity works. People will violently resist change, even good change, and they almost always pick the low hanging fruit, the easy target. Because if we were to really give Snowden's employers what for? Well hell that would be hard work, it could go on for years, but making Snowden an example, resists that change AND makes us feel powerful when actually the opposite is true in the face of this overwhelming police state we are faced with now.

                      •  I take your point, though the cases are different. (0+ / 0-)

                        Unfair - outrageous - as the treatment you got was, you were complaining about a wrong being done to you, as the victim, personally. You didn't seek to put yourself in a better position to complain. There was no vehicle besides a complaint to address conduct that was clearly wrong.

                        In Snowden's situation, there was at least one alternate vehicle available to him to try with much less risk before he fled and went public. He needn't have stolen documents and he needn't have released classified information he had pledged to keep secret.

                        If it didn't work, that attempt, in contrast to his self-aggrandizing martyrdom, would have validated his conduct. Doing it in a more thoughtful and judicious way would very likely have drawn more defenders than he has now, defenders who could vouch for him irrespective of how they felt about the merits. He'd have had much more respect, more authentic authority. He could have precipitated discussions on the merits without making his betrayals a central part of the story.

                        He made himself the story, the easy target.

                        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                        by TRPChicago on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 04:27:05 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I respectifully disagree with the notion (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          that Snowden had any other way to do this.

                          The Obama Administration has been tightening the noose on government whistleblowers and the like for some time. And Snowden as a civilian contractor probably had even less resources than a G-man.

                          The assumption that he did not look at various avenues for bringing this to light, given that he knew how hot this was is pretty nuts.

                          With something of this magnitude, you got one chance before the federalis show up.

  •  Blumenthal is from CT, not CO (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Unitary Moonbat, JML9999

    as referenced. Minor detail, just caught my eye. Let's hope this gets results because I totally applaud and support their efforts. Thank you Senators!!! With you!!!

    "21st Century Freedom in the USA: Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%"

    by coloradorob on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 01:42:30 PM PDT

    •  That's what I get (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for copying the list from the article and not looking at it carefully. Thanks for the heads up.

      "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

      by Joan McCarter on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 01:53:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •   General Nuisance and General Catastrophe (0+ / 0-)

    Your presence is requested.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 01:42:36 PM PDT

  •  What took them so long? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They all vote on it without knowing jack squat what is in it.

    Some country we have here.......

  •  Glad to see both of my Senators behind this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Durbin & Kirk.

    Durbin's not a surprise, but Kirk is given his past support for the Patriot Act.

  •  Just checked the list of names of those (7+ / 0-)

    Senators who signed the letter and saw my Senator's name:  Tammy Baldwin!  YAY!  She and Mark Pocan, my rep in the House, are doing very well as newcomers to their jobs (although Tammy was in the House for quite awhile).  I sort of expected Tammy to keep a low profile in her first term, but she has not hung back.  Good for her!  In the face of the Republican junta we're dealing with here in WI, Tammy and Mark Pocan give me great pride and hope.

    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

    by 3goldens on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 01:50:41 PM PDT

  •  WOOOT! Thank you Bipartisan Committee, Wyden et (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CroneWit, lotlizard


    Bring the freaken Hammer down on this PLU---EASE!

    This shit has to stop.

    I am so horrified and disgusted with this entire chain of events.

    This started in 2001 with Project Stellar Wind, which was the name given to the illegal Warrentless Wiretapping program under the Bush Administration.

    WHY Obama has kept this program going and expanded it, given the kind of planks he used in his political platform is beyond me.

    We had people retiring--quitting--protesting this horrible breach in our national character and our Constitutional Law way back then:  

    But it's like there is a Zombie-Shadow Government that keeps bringing all this up and expanding it over and over. Serious House Cleaning needs to take place here.

    in 2010 College students at various universities were warned not to visit Wikileaks sites or post material about this [like I am doing right now] or else it could hurt their chances of getting a federal job

    Now the only way that could happen if these kids are on their own PCs is if indeed the govt is collecting metadata and saving it to use specifically as a means for determining hire-ability and security clearances. Due Process? Privacy--Hell NO that doesn't exist any more and hasn't for a very long time. Seriously how else could they know? If they weren't saving IP Addy histories indefinitely to see who's been naughty or nice?

    Federal Workers too:   Not even on your own PC. And how would they know again--Oh yea right--Meta Data saved indefinitely. This is 2 months after Youtube is sharing data with NSA, one year after Paltalk, 1 1/2 year after Facebook, almost 2 years after Google etc., and so on.

    I have to say, I could walk away from my pc tomorrow and get everything I need, from the Public Library and fuck the Cable Companies, Google, NSA, Yahoo, all of them. I lived for a very very long time without a cell phone so it's not that hard people.

    I really see no need to spend money on devices or services to bring into my home that can be used to spy on me without a warrant and track me like a criminal with an ankle bracelet, because I gave some fucking g-man a woo woo feeling with general cantankerousness.

    •  GreenMother, I don't know how your library (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      works, but at mine, you sign into a public computer using your library card number.  Trackable and tracked.  And if your library (like mine) has security cams at the entrances, there's a timestamped record of you entering the library.  Sorry.

      •  Yes, I understand all that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But people walking away from these services would certainly create some heartache in the digital work-world.

        Why would I want to pay for services, that are essentially used to spy on me and upend the Fourth Amendment?

        When I could use the Library free, for bare bones essentials and at least not be paying these people to "Just follow orders".

        Everyone has the power to go low tech protester. There are many ways to do it that are nonviolent and nonconfrontational.

  •  C'mon (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    and a lot of folks who aren't considered wild-eyed lefties. It's a group of moderate, concerned lawmakers who take their job seriously.
    Is that really necessary?  What are you implying? Are the "wild-eyed lefties" not concerned or do they not take their jobs seriously.  Just who are those "wild-eyed leftie" lawmakers anyways?

    "When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. My life is a movement between these two." - Nisargadatta Maharaj.

    by mkor7 on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 02:13:15 PM PDT

  •  It's about time, I want these answers, so I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    can assess how to deal with these spy issues going forward.  Bipartisan means the checks and balances put into the three branches of government are begining to assert themselves.  GOOD. SO FAR.

  •  Thanks for including the Senators' letter (0+ / 0-)

    on the Front Page.  

    I know we often mock 'sternly worded letters', but this time I think it may be different.  Given Udall's & Wyden's long-standing outspoken concerns about the NSA's programs and its secrecy, and the number of Senators (including 4 GOP), this just feels different than the usual kabuki.

  •  Excellent news, pertinent questions! (0+ / 0-)

    I'm so glad they're being this specific, and that the Patriot Act is mentioned so often.  With luck this kind of focus may keep people aware of the essential questions, and perhaps we'll actually talk about how necessary these actions are.

    If there are genuine payoffs, real acts of terror thwarted that required draconian measures, at least we'll know losing privacy isn't just a random side-effect of fear.

    Still not sure it will matter.  Some very liberal friends were laughing about privacy concerns in the tech age.  For them corporate data gathering is more threatening- like me, they have histories that can lead to unemployment, loss of income, higher costs.  

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:22:22 PM PDT

  •  EFF sticker: an "Insider Threat" warning sign? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yet according to a former security clearance investigator, Nicole Smith, supporting the EFF is a “warning sign.” . . . [W]hile talking about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Smith told Time:  
    In a photograph posted online after Snowden revealed himself, his laptop displays a sticker touting the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a longstanding advocate for online rights and staunch opponent of government surveillance. That would have been enough of a warning sign to make it into his file, Smith says, but investigators wouldn’t have come across it because clearance interviews aren’t performed at their homes: “You’re not around that person’s personal belongings to make any other additional observations about that person’s character.”

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by lotlizard on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:23:09 PM PDT

  •  Well they could always ask Snowden... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If Congress really wants transparency, and wants to know what's going on under their own signatures...

    They could always give Snowden immunity of some kind and have him come by and tell them what the people they claim to be in charge of are doing...

    Cept I don't really believe they actually want to know, or more to the point, want anyone else to know...

  •  Lots of legislation also (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    introduced this week.

    This is what matters - it's how things get changed, and it's why we need to elect more and better Democrats.

    Out with the gloomage - in with the plumage!

    by mikidee on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 03:43:44 PM PDT

  •  Now this is what I am talking about... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's about time they actually cleared up the nagging questions about the program that is supposedly based on their legislation so they can get around to saying "no way" and making adjustments to the law to clearly prohibit that!

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 05:47:14 PM PDT

  •  The big question--HOW can the DoD keep (0+ / 0-)

    the military from finding this out? Now that it's a full blown senatorial inquiry? Will the Members of the military be allowed to follow the proceedings, or will the DoD and the NSA have to start lopping off heads of the ones who dare to follow their own national news?

    Note Pissed Off Snark!

  •  Posture, posture, posture (0+ / 0-)

    Okay, I give these guys and gals credit for putting on a good "show," but you, me and the good folks listening in at NSA all know nothing of significance will come of this.  

    Just as nothing has come of previous feigned outrage over civilians murdered by drones, administration claims to unilateral authority to suspend due process provisions of the constitution, self-issued Justice Department subpoenas to obtain journalists' home phone records - sans any probable cause or reasonable suspicion of having committed any crime, the list goes on.

    I'm only too happy to eat my laptop, piece-by-piece if I'm proven wrong, but even the United States congress has been effectively marginalized by this new police-state.  Those who continue to believe otherwise at this point are simply starting to look foolish.  

    "The highest patriotism is not blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher plain." --George McGovern

    by Progressive Pride on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 10:25:29 AM PDT

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