Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials?” asks Sen. Bernie Sanders

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(DEB) The openly Socialist Senator Benie Sanders pressed the NSA on Friday to come clean on whether its highly questionable spying practices extended to members of Congress. “Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials?” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., asked in a letter to NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander released from the senator’s office.
Fox News reported:
Sanders, who has introduced legislation to curtail the agency’s spying capabilities, said the United States must be “vigilant and aggressive” in protecting the nation from terrorism, but he also cited U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s recent ruling that certain practices by the NSA are “almost Orwellian.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, responded to Sanders’ letter, saying it’s a question “millions of Americans would like answered.”
On Saturday, the NSA responded to Sanders’ query, saying Congress has “the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons.” Not the most reassuring of answers given the fact that the NSA has been spying on all US persons.
“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,” said the agency in a statement obtained by CNN.
The response goes on to promise the agency will continue to work with Congress on the issues – without ever addressing the senator’s real question.
Via the WaPo:
The answer is telling. We already know that the NSA collects records on virtually every phone call made in the United States. That program was renewed for the 36th time on Friday. If members of Congress are treated no differently than other Americans, then the NSA likely keeps tabs on every call they make as well.
It’s a relief to know that Congress doesn’t get a special carve-out (they’re just like us!). But the egalitarianism of it all will likely be of little comfort to Sanders.”
I was very unhappy to see the Volokh Conspiracy turn this into an attack on Ted Cruz. It is no joke. All Americans… including our reps are subject to surveillance based on meta words. People lapped it up when a socialist said it… not realizing he was actually coming from a jaded view. Cruz merely provided the reality in a less jaded fashion. I could tell this was a political jab by the way Volokh turned off comments.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has written a letter to NSA’s director, asking whether the agency has spied on members of Congress. It sounds like he’s uncovered a scandal, until you read the fine print. It turns out that Sen. Sanders is simply asking whether NSA collects the metadata for calls made by members of Congress, and every sentient American already knows that answer: NSA’s program collects metadata for all US calls. So Sen. Sanders’s letter isn’t an inquiry, it’s a stunt.Fonz_jumping_the_shark (2)The Guardian is an enthusiastic participant in the stunt, with Spencer Ackerman writing that NSA “did not deny collecting communications from legislators of the US Congress.” Well, duh. Unfortunately, it looks as though Ted Cruz, who so far has avoided the worst fever swamps of NSA paranoia, also fell for the stunt, tweeting “@SenSanders asks ? millions of Americans would like answered: Are any law-abiding citizens safe from NSA spying?”
At the risk of being repetitive, Sen. Cruz, we’ve all known the answer for months. NSA’s 215 program collects all domestic call metadata, and it protects all that data by requiring that any search of the data be based on a reasonable suspicion of terrorism. All means all. All Americans’ metadata is collected. All Americans’ privacy is protected by the minimization requirements. Sen. Sanders’s stunt adds precisely nothing to what we know about the program, or to the debate.
The bloggers obviously knew their attack would not hold water with the comments section,,, so I’m commenting here in hope that if I link to it… he will notice.

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