In a letter Friday to National Security Agency director Keith Alexander, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., asked if members of Congress are being spied on by the agency.
Sanders wrote: “I am writing today to ask you one very simple question. Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials?”
The response from an NSA spokesman certainly does not dispel the possibility.
According to The Washington Post, the spokesman said Saturday that Sanders and his colleagues are treated like everybody else.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, that’s not good news.
“Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons,” the spokesman told the Post. “We are reviewing Sen. Sanders’s letter now, and we will continue to work to ensure that all members of Congress, including Sen. Sanders, have information about NSA’s mission, authorities, and programs to fully inform the discharge of their duties.”
Sanders was careful to define that he meant the collection of phone records from personal as well as official telephones, “content from Web sites visited or e-mails sent,” and data that companies collect but don’t release to the public, according to the Post.
“The answer is telling,” Post reporter Brian Fung wrote. “We already know that the NSA collects records on virtually every phone call…If members of Congress are treated no differently than other Americans, then the NSA likely keeps tabs on every call they make as well.”
The scurrying about you may hear is members of Congress scrambling to draft “carve-out” legislation exempting them from such transgressions.
Sanders NSA Letter, courtesy of Talking Points Memo:
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