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.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?”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.
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.