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Senator Bernie Sanders Asks NSA If Agency Is Spying On Congress

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the friends-of-ron dept.

Government 363

cold fjord writes with this excerpt from Fox News: "A U.S. senator on Friday pressed the National Security Agency on whether its controversial spying practices extend to monitoring 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. Sanders, a self-described 'democratic socialist,' defines spying as monitoring the phone calls, emails and internet traffic of elected officials."

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363 comments

Well, uh... (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about 4 months ago | (#45864593)

The NSA has already shown a willingness to lie to Congress, what does he expect? They're an equal opportunity usurper.

Re:Well, uh... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864631)

Head of NSA: We swear that we aren't conducting illegal spying on any individual member of Congress.
Sen. Sanders: Pinky swear?
Head of NSA: Pinky swear! Um, but not with that hand. We know what you've been doing with that hand.

Re:Well, uh... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864719)

we aren't conducting illegal spying on any individual member of Congress.

Hair splitting truth!

What IS going on:

we are spying on all members of Congress and everyone else.

Re:Well, uh... (4, Interesting)

Shavano (2541114) | about 4 months ago | (#45865149)

Actual question from the letter:
"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.”

"Yes, Bernie. You're being treated like a criminal too, because terrorism."

Re:Well, uh... (2)

rvw (755107) | about 4 months ago | (#45864633)

He should say: lie to us one more time and you will end up in jail! Then he will know for sure that they will spy on him.

Re:Well, uh... (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 4 months ago | (#45864703)

We need the CIA to spy on the NSA and see what theyre really up to.
Utilizing the NSA to keep tabs on the CIA may be a winning idea as well.

Re:Well, uh... (2)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about 4 months ago | (#45864869)

No, no, no.

The CIA can only spy on the NSA operatives working outside the country.
We need the FBI to spy on their domestic agents.
And then we'll have the Secret Service keep tabs on the G-men!

We're paying for all these agencies; we might as well get use out of them!

Let all of them spy.... (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 4 months ago | (#45864923)

Maybe we can have FBI agents spying on CIA... CIA spying on NSA and NSA spying on FBI

Re: Let all of them spy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864937)

Can we work the DEA in there somewhere?

Re:Well, uh... (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 4 months ago | (#45864963)

The FBI couldnt find their ass with both hands and a map.
We need the FBI to complicate matters.
If the NSA can rationalize what they do, the CIA can as well.
We could throw in a few other 3 letter agencies for a complete Keystone Cop scenario.
Keep em all busy.

Re:Well, uh... (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 4 months ago | (#45865017)

The FBI couldnt find their ass with both hands and a map
We need the FBI to complicate matters
If the NSA can rationalize what they do, the CIA can as well.
We could throw in a few other 3 letter agencies for a complete Keystone Cop scenario.
Keep em all busy.

Make them line item accountable to the GAO. That should royally screw them all.

Re:Well, uh... (3, Funny)

namgge (777284) | about 4 months ago | (#45865069)

This is clearly a case where out-sourcing and off-shoring is the way to go. I suggest that MSS, the Chinese secret service, should be given preferred bidder status.

Re:Well, uh... (1, Funny)

flyneye (84093) | about 4 months ago | (#45864695)

Some people are just gullible.
Disturbing that its an elected official.
Shame on Vermont for sending a bumpkin.

Re:Well, uh... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864755)

Well, you've got to remember: " Sanders, a self-described 'democratic socialist,'..."

Re:Well, uh... (5, Interesting)

glavenoid (636808) | about 4 months ago | (#45864793)

Incidentally, the comments on the fox news site are/were a bit amusing: on the one hand there's a "democratic socialist" asking important questions that might "impeach Obama", but on the other hand he's still a '"democratic socialist" so he's wrong by default. But hey, at least we have Ted Cruz to assure us this question is one “millions of Americans would like answered.”

Re:Well, uh... (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45865057)

Million of Americans would like to Know why they are NOT spying on congress etc as they well known for selling out the peoples interest to special interest groups

Re:Well, uh... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45865165)

Million of Americans would like to Know why they are NOT spying on congress etc as they well known for selling out the peoples interest to special interest groups

Because the NSA is a military org and is not supposed to conduct activities domestically. That Bernie only cares about congress being spied upon shows you that Bernie thinks he' part of a ruling class. Pigs are more equal.

Re:Well, uh... (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 4 months ago | (#45864845)

It is kind of odd.
Reminds me of an old friend who openly admitted he was a masochist. (as if no one could tell by the way his wife treated him.)
Perhaps its a related anomoly.

Re:Well, uh... (5, Insightful)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 4 months ago | (#45865135)

Some people are just gullible.

Come on, you really think Bernie Sanders doesn't know that they're liars? Maybe he just wants to get them on the record as telling (yet another) lie.

Re:Well, uh... (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about 4 months ago | (#45864727)

Well, uh... The NSA has already shown a willingness to lie to Congress, what does he expect? They're an equal opportunity usurper.

I take it you refer to Senator Wyden's stunt?

Commentary: Wyden’s Stunt Was Congress at its Worst [commentarymagazine.com]

Re:Well, uh... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864781)

God forbid that our enemies discover that the NSA is willing to commit treason by performing espionage (an act of war) against America.

Re:Well, uh... (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45864801)

The NSA has already shown a willingness to lie to Congress, what does he expect?

To make some important points. To anyone who needs it spelled out, the question serves two purposes. First, it plants a concern in people's minds by suggesting a possibility. Second, when the NSA is caught spying on congress, it's one more lie to hang them by (a fellow can hope, can't he?). It's all the better question because his fellow congresscritters will be more upset by the NSA spying on them than mere constituents.

Re:Well, uh... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864959)

"It's all the better question because his fellow congresscritters will be more upset by the NSA spying on them than mere constituents."

THIS!

And that's the crying shame isn't it!

Double question (5, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 4 months ago | (#45864865)

Multiple questions never work when you deal with spooks. If the answer to any part of the question is no, then they will simply answer no.

It can be very annoying when you work with spooks. They will look you carefully in the eyes, consider what you asked and and after a few seconds answer with a one liner, that never actually tells you anything.

Re:Double question (4, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | about 4 months ago | (#45865121)

If they have even the slightest concern about appearing to care about legalities they're probably outsourcing it to GCHQ or one of their other partners who will do just enough (with NSA consultant personell if they feel like it) to cover the bare necessities. So of course they'll say no and of course they're spying on congress.

Last post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864595)

Last post!

Re:Last post (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864607)

Sorry, chum, your post is showing up as the first one for me. Better luck next time!

Re:Last post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864737)

You're doing it wrong

Re:Last post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864955)

You're holding it wrong.

Well yes! Of Course! (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 4 months ago | (#45864611)

It's for their protection. Don't the congressmen need to be safe like the rest of us?

Re:Well yes! Of Course! (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 4 months ago | (#45864871)

More importantly, why is a member of Congress more important that I am? So it is bad to spy on me but REALLY BAD to spy on someone just because they are elected? Fucking elitism at its finest.

Re:Well yes! Of Course! (5, Insightful)

Daemonik (171801) | about 4 months ago | (#45864941)

A member of Congress or the Senate on a day to day basis will deal with 100x the sensitive material you will. Furthermore there's the question of who gets access to the records & can they abuse it to blackmail govt. officials or otherwise effect policy decisions.

So yes you are not a special snowflake.

Re:Well yes! Of Course! (5, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 4 months ago | (#45864961)

The NSA isn't spying on them to get that information. My point still stands, the NSA shouldn't be spying on anyone without a valid warrant signed by a judge, just as the constitution clearly states. That they are elected doesn't make them better than you or I, and their outrage should be the same regardless of who is being spied upon without a warrant.

Re:Well yes! Of Course! (5, Insightful)

Daemonik (171801) | about 4 months ago | (#45865047)

Seriously?
  1. a) Nobody knows exactly what information the NSA collects. They might very well have an extensive workup on everyone in Congress.
  2. b) It's not a matter of better or not better. It's a matter of access to sensitive information & ability to effect the nations laws. Nobody is going to blackmail Joe Schmoe to pass laws benefiting them but they certainly might Joe Congressman.

So yes, spying on anyone without a warrant is bad, but spying on government officials is worse.

Re:Well yes! Of Course! (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about 4 months ago | (#45865167)

According to the FISA courts, all warrants are valid by virtue of having been issued by the government for an alleged national security purpose.

Re:Well yes! Of Course! (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#45864967)

People with power in the government need to be considered differently, because the power that they hold can be corrupted through blackmail.

If Harry Reid is caught with sucking the toe of his dominitrix, he could be blackmailed into telling the truth about something. If you are caught, at best they can embarrass you in front of your friends, acquaintances, and family.

Re:Well yes! Of Course! (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 4 months ago | (#45865153)

More importantly, why is a member of Congress more important that I am? So it is bad to spy on me but REALLY BAD to spy on someone just because they are elected? Fucking elitism at its finest.

Because he has more power and influence. That's what important means.

NSA's response (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864619)

We don't spy on you, Bernie, since you're a 'useful idiot' who votes along Obama's party line. Republican members of Congress, however, are fair game.

Re:NSA's response (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864717)

Fuck you moron.

Re:NSA's response (1, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45864827)

who votes along Obama's party line

Which in issues like the NSA is the same as Bush's party line was. Still, keep believing you can score political points by pretending that the R's are better defenders of the 4th Amendment than the D's. I've also got a bridge to sell you.

Re:NSA's response (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#45865033)

Still, keep believing you can score political points by pretending that the R's are better defenders of the 4th Amendment than the D's.

Which is why we need to take as much power as possible away from ALL of them. Call the Conservative's bluff: radically trim away the power of Federal Government. We can start by heavily trimming the budgets of the acronym agencies (DOD, EPA, OSHA, FDA, CIA, NSA, etc.)

oh sure (0)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#45864629)

now that HE might be being spied on he suddenly cares?

Re:oh sure (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864669)

Sorry bud but you don't know who Bernie Sanders is if you make a comment like that.

Re:oh sure (5, Insightful)

Intron (870560) | about 4 months ago | (#45864743)

now that HE might be being spied on he suddenly cares?

Congress has constitutional protection from the executive branch, so spying on them would likely be a major problem, even if spying on the rest of us is "legal". Also, lying to Congress is frowned upon. I think this puts Alexander in a real bind if he has to sign a letter to Congress.

Re:oh sure (4, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 4 months ago | (#45864911)

> so spying on them would likely be a major problem

With the current NSA guidelines, as revealed by Edward Snowden's revelations, any communications with foreign nationals would automatically be susceptible to monitoring. So it's certainly a common practice with the pervasive, wholesale telephone and email monitoring currently in place: Congress is _expected_ to speak with foreign governments as part of diplomacy, trade agreements, investigating treaties. and on behalf of foreign families of their constituents.

Whether more targeted monitoring of Congress is done by the NSA is another matter. The NSA's charter specifically forbids them from domestic intelligence, that's the role of the FBI. And for human assets in foreign intelligence, not direct communications monitoring, that's the CIA. But of course, with the new "Homeland Security" overseeing all the group's efforts, the lines have become not only blurred but deliberately concealed. When the responsibilities are deliberately overlapped and merged "to aid communication", it puts the tools of one group for specific uses in the hands of their supervisors who may have quite different agendas or guidelines. I'd look very, very carefully look at "Homeland Security", at the people who are expecte merge and organize the data and precisely what they are ordering or being allowed access to.

They've managed to keep out of most of this NSA exposure. But as an "organizing" agency for all the other departments, they're in a very dangerous position to weave those threads together into a much tighter cocoon of monitoring at every level.

Wont the "terrorists" just become congress members (5, Funny)

dk20 (914954) | about 4 months ago | (#45864643)

I mean if they are "exempt" from being spied on it seems logical the "terrorists" would become members of congress and avoid being spied on.

Re:Wont the "terrorists" just become congress memb (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864657)

Don't you mean won't more terrorists become members of congress?

Terrorists versus Congress (1)

Livius (318358) | about 4 months ago | (#45865123)

How could someone be both a terrorist and a member of Congress? One of them has nothing but contempt and hatred for the values of the US and wants to sabotage the nation's prosperity and standing in the world while using fear to manipulate its citizens for their own political ends and actively works to undermine fundamental constitutional principles. The other engages in terrorism.

NSA has nothing to hide, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864645)

"You nothing to worry about if you have nothing to hide".
We here this all the time.

Tell that to the NSA.

YES they are spying on congress.
NO they wont admit it.

Does the NSA claim to "filter out" senators, house representatives, judges, white house staff, political organizers, lawyers, bankers, and anyone else powerful enough to be annoying?

Are we really supposed to believe in such a "WHITELIST", and if so, are we supposed to not be PISSED OFF they we aren't important enough to be on that list?

The level of bullshit is TOO DAMN HIGH.

Exempt? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864649)

By exempting themselves from mandatory law driven programs like the Affordable Care Act, surely spying could never apply to them. Right?

Re:Exempt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864761)

By exempting themselves from mandatory law driven programs like the Affordable Care Act, surely spying could never apply to them. Right?

They are exempt because none of them are smart enough to navigate the website.

Wanna bet? (3, Insightful)

no-body (127863) | about 4 months ago | (#45864653)

NSA: No
Reality: "censored" (reducted) due to harming security
People's thoughts: 50% true, 50% BS
Result: Nothing happens, business as usual

Re:Wanna bet? (1)

Selur (2745445) | about 4 months ago | (#45864861)

they (politicians) are probably monitored as strong as the president, so probably everything that can be monitored get's monitored,...
and that then is their (NSA&Co) reason why nobody should control/restrict the NSA,....

Of course they do. (5, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#45864661)

I've debated many 'True Patriots' before. The type of mindset that the NSA probably attracts. A common mode of thought for them is that the US must be protected from all enemies, forign and domestic - and that 'domestic' includes members of congress who support 'un-American' ideas. Democracy is too important to be entrusted to a democratic process.

Re:Of course they do. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864709)

I'd say that those senators who support "free speech zones" are clearly enemies of the constitution. Those who have been bought by corporations? Clearly enemies of the US.

Re:Of course they do. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45864843)

I'd say that those senators who support "free speech zones" are clearly enemies of the constitution.

I support a free speech zone - it's called the United States.

Re:Of course they do. (3, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#45865173)

The argument could be made. Or, reversing the politics, it could be argued that senators who wish to tighten the limitations imposed on the NSA or reduce funding or military spending are exposing the country to danger - even if they intend no harm, they place the existance of the country at risk and cannot be allowed to hold office. I imagine many at the NSA would see no problem with, say, monitoring their emails for juicy scandals and leaking them to opponents or the media. After all, they are only doing what they believe is in the national interest.

Re:Of course they do. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45864895)

A common mode of thought for them is that the US must be protected from all enemies, forign and domestic - and that 'domestic' includes members of congress who support 'un-American' ideas.

It became necessary to destroy the country to save it.

I hope they are... (4, Insightful)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 4 months ago | (#45864679)

And if so I hope they either:

a. Admit it.
b. Deny it then get caught lying about it.

Either way the fallout would be both spectacular and likely productive from a citizen standpoint. If either a or b happens and it gets swept under the rug, then at least we can be certain that the United States is no longer run by the United States government. Sometimes I wonder if I will one day be answering the question, "Where were you when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were permanently suspended?"

Won't do any good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864825)

Congress will just make themselves immune - all done behind closed doors, of course.

If anyone has anything to hide, it's a Congressman.

They all have affairs, molest small children, do illegal drugs, have homosexual encounters, accept "favors" and "gifts" from lobbyists and *gasp* do not attend church as they say they do.

Re:I hope they are... (4, Insightful)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 4 months ago | (#45865079)

Sometimes I wonder if I will one day be answering the question, "Where were you when the Constitution and Bill of Rights were permanently suspended?"

It's more of a "how do you boil a frog?" type of gradual decay. The question will be more of "Where were you when you realized that they had suspended the last of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution?". In either case the answer will likely be on the day that they come for you.

Just like Joe McCarthy says (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864707)

those wily communists are hiding in plain sight, in every branch of our lives! Why, in this very envelope, I have 47 members of the Communist PArty in our own State Department!!!!

More seriously, Congress is often communicating with foreign nationals about politics nad business, so *of course* the NSA is monitoring those communicaitons automatically.

Re:Just like Joe McCarthy says (0)

fche (36607) | about 4 months ago | (#45865031)

McCarthy was, on the whole, quite right about the existence of the problem of communist infiltration of american institutions.

Proof he's not qualified to ask the question. (4, Informative)

PsychoSlashDot (207849) | about 4 months ago | (#45864711)

At the very least, blanket metadata capture means the answer is absolutely, positively, unrepentantly YES.

Re:Proof he's not qualified to ask the question. (3, Interesting)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 4 months ago | (#45864891)

Well I am sue the MI5 has a list (that they share with the FBI/CIA/NSA) of American politicians who where a bit to friendly to the PIRA and probably a few of the Ultra Unionist side as well.

Its not unknown for politicians to spy for the opposition John Stone House MP for example so over the course of the cold war its probably a good bet that at least some congressmen and senators where agents - thats what Anna Chapman and the other KGB sleepers where doing trying to make contacts with influential people.

Re:Proof he's not qualified to ask the question. (1)

Teun (17872) | about 4 months ago | (#45864971)

But meta data isn't data, or so we're told.

Does it matter? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864713)

He's going to get a scripted statement starting with "we do not directly"..

Re:Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45865107)

Guess I should have been more clear.

By that I mean they already know, and since they know it's time to do something about it.

Fuck yeah they are! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864723)

They are spying on ALL OF US! EVERYONE! Yes yes that includes you mister important congressman... Oh but don't worry! They're only collecting metadata!

So it's ok... And even if it's not ok. You'll give them the ok because you already gave them the ok with your secret court shit!

Welcome to the masses. You are just another target to the NSA...

Gotta make sure those congress members are not terrorists after all. They could do alot of damage to our country!

Re:Fuck yeah they are! (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45864877)

They are spying on ALL OF US! EVERYONE! Yes yes that includes you mister important congressman...

They are also probably spying on the president, cabinet officials, etc., just like old J. Edgar used to do. It'd be easy for the NSA, since they're also involved in providing secure communications for the president, et al.

Clarification of Spying (5, Insightful)

Felix Da Rat (93827) | about 4 months ago | (#45864745)

One of the things Bernie did worth noting is clearly stating what he means as spying:

"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?

Part of me thinks he has evidence of them engaging in something like that, much like Wyden asking Clapper about the wholesale collection effort. But with the clarification, and coming in written form, it makes a 'Not Wittingly' answer less liely (granted, Wyden did forewarm Clapper of the question, and did give his office time to change their answer afterwards).

And if so... (1)

ichabod801 (3423899) | about 4 months ago | (#45864747)

Does the NSA have information on all the kickbacks Congress is getting?

Re:And if so... (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45864857)

The sad thing about congressional corruption is that most of the information about it is public. Being corrupt behind closed doors is one thing, but doing it openly is a mark of true contempt.

Socialist says it all... (-1, Flamebait)

warewolfsmith (196722) | about 4 months ago | (#45864763)

Of course the NSA spies on commies.

Re:Socialist says it all... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864795)

Socialist says it all.. --> Of course the NSA spies on commies.

The juxtaposition of your subject and comment says it all

Who cares? (4, Insightful)

Patent Lover (779809) | about 4 months ago | (#45864769)

If you're going to give this idiotic organization an unlimited budget with zero oversight you reap what you sow.

Of course YES! (1)

dav1dc (2662425) | about 4 months ago | (#45864773)

Based on what I've been reading, the dragnet collection system collects as much as it can - and then sorts it out later.

So I would argue that some Congressional conversations have been swept into the Big Brother, weather intentional or not.

Why me worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864779)

You haven't done anything bad Mr senator, so you got nothing to hide, right?

Being an official doesn't include magical pixie dust that makes one unable for a treason. For some fine jolly chaps that should have been spied upon, think about Benedict Arnold (a general), Robert Hanssen (G-man) and Aaron Burr (a vice president).

Meat Ball (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#45864783)

Let's see.

What would be the advantage an unconstitutional spy organisation would have if it possessed informational leverage over a nation's legislators?

This advantage is far from unprecedented, even in the States. Perhaps J. Edgar tended only to collect information on persons of interest instead of everyone, but he'd have used the interwebs if they were available to him.

They MUST be monitored (1)

scotts13 (1371443) | about 4 months ago | (#45864819)

After all, these politicians are well within the "three jumps" connecting them terrorists. Heck, they spend all day in meetings ABOUT terrorists!

They should be (4, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | about 4 months ago | (#45864835)

In an ideal system, the NSA would be by law required to wiretap all public officials and directly publish their communications to the Library of Congress with a daily transcript of "dirty conversations" sent to the FBI and appropriate OIG for human analysis. Given how Congress operates these days, and how successful they've been at pushing back on FBI attempts (post ABSCAM) to reign in congressional corruption, part of me while deeply opposed to what the NSA has been caught doing wants to see the NSA ordered to go Stasi on them.

If they were, would they lie about it? (3, Interesting)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 4 months ago | (#45864841)

It seems that this answer to this is a resounding "yes".

The internal logic seems to go something like this-

We are the NSA (true).

We are essential to the defense of this nation (true).

We are the subject matter experts on what it takes to perform this necessary function (true).

People who don't know what we know and who lack our accumulated organizational knowledge as a consequence can't understand the world as it needs to be understood in order for us to be effective.(true)

Any decision we've made with respect to how we should conduct ourselves and any action we've taken is because we think it will best serve the needs of this national security needs of this nation (true).

Conclusion- we would do no wrong and have done no wrong no matter what we've done and any oversight by an entity outside ourselves, including (and especially) politicians or any event which,if made public, would diminish our stature, decrease our funding or increase oversight is a mortal threat (is there any other kind!!?) to the national security of this nation and deserves to be dealt with accordingly by us, without exception (false!)

This is the logic of the computer Hal 9000 in Kubrik's 2001, A Space Odyssey .

NSA's real response (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 4 months ago | (#45864847)

Of course we don't spy on Congress. The mere notion would be preposterous. And Bernie, how about that cute 20-something uninhibited hippie chick you have in Bennington that your wife doesn't know about?

Re:NSA's real response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45864951)

I read somewhere that that was tried on one of the "senators" and it turned out it was his daughter from a first marriage. So I would say, yup, they do spy on the "oppressors" from our legislative bodies. By the way, it's time for all of you to make sure you are registered to vote, again. Remember the tradition of the American revolution only lives on if you vote.

The senator's question pisses me off. (1)

Port-0 (301613) | about 4 months ago | (#45864931)

It assumes that being a senator should have a benefits. They are supposed to be representing their constituents, not gathering special privileges for themselves. If they are not living in the system they are creating, all hope is lost. So, anyone still hopeful?

This reminds me of something from the past. (1)

jcochran (309950) | about 4 months ago | (#45864973)

A long time ago when I was in the military, I found out about a little tidbit of information. You see, sometimes congressmen go on "official trips" and they are reimbursed in full for all expenses they incur related to that trip. And sometimes, said congressmen are accompanied by members of the military. Well, the military members were not reimbursed for all their expenses and had to pay out of pocket for some items. Well, the congressmen saw the military members spending money above and beyond what they would have if they weren't on the trip and thought that was unfair. So a new law was passed. And now the military members are reimbursed in full ... provided they're on a TDY escorting congressmen.....Mind, the members of the military go on many TDY assignments and escorting congressmen is just one of them. But only TDY assignments for escorting congressmen are reimbursed in full.

And that question seems to have the context of "It's OK to spy on the general public. But it's not OK to spy on congressmen".Somewhat like the many laws we have on the books that specifically exclude congressmen.

Hey Bernie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45865111)

What, you think you're better than the rest of us or something? NSA should spy on us but not in congressmen?

Get the lies on official public record (2)

matbury (3458347) | about 4 months ago | (#45865125)

As the British journalist Claud Cockburn famously put it, "Believe nothing until it has been officially denied." We need those responsible to testify under oath on public record. We need their exact words. We need to hear how they deliberately mislead the public and congress with semantic games and outright lies... caught it the act, as it were.

But then our political leaders do the exact same thing all the time and usually get away with it too. So much for exemplary leadership and governance. I think Armando Iannucci "gets it" better than any comedian at the moment. Check out "The Thick of It" (UK TV show), "In The Loop" (film), and "Veep" (US TV show).

sanders follows lead of jfk mlk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45865145)

possibly last of his kind & he tells the truth

I'm sorry Senator, your question isn't valid (2)

Proudrooster (580120) | about 4 months ago | (#45865151)

Senator, I am sorry, your question doesn't make sense. The NSA doesn't do any spying on Americans, we just collect meta-data about your computer, phone, and US mail. We also control the worlds largest bot-net that screws with peoples computers to allow us to collect even more meta-data. As we have stated previously, meta-data is NOT data and all of our hacking is done from outside the US so it is perfectly legal. Thank you Senator for ill framed question.

Of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45865161)

Sanders has probably met the president. The president has probably met foreign leaders. That means that Sanders is two hops away from foreign leaders, which makes him a valid target as far as the NSA is concerned.

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