Feinstein, who has steadfastly defended the NSA's mass surveillance programs, added that both Barack Obama and members of her committee, which is supposed to received classified briefings, had been kept in the dark about operations to target foreign leaders.To be blunt:
"It is abundantly clear that a total review of all intelligence programs is necessary so that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are fully informed as to what is actually being carried out by the intelligence community," Feinstein said in a statement to reporters.
"Unlike NSA's collection of phone records under a court order, it is clear to me that certain surveillance activities have been in effect for more than a decade and that the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed.
“With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of U.S. allies -- including France, Spain, Mexico and Germany -- let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed," Feinstein said. "I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers. The president should be required to approve any collection of this sort," she added, placing the blame on the previous administration and officials in the intelligence community who did not subsequently divulge the activities that could be likened to espionage friendly fire.If the blame is going to fall on previous administrations and officials, the current administration and current officials are going to have to prove they are different by being different. That total review of all intelligence programs must mean total and all. Which may go places Feinstein herself will not like. Because changes must be substantive and demonstrable, and oversight legitimate and transparent.
That even Dianne Feinstein finally has had enough ought to be a good sign. It had better be.