Rep. Mike Rogers Blocking Other Congressional Reps From Access To Info On NSA Surveillance

from the look-at-that dept

When the Ed Snowden leaks first hit the Guardian and the Washington Post, many officials claimed that there was full oversight from Congress of these programs and that everyone was aware of them. In fact, President Obama himself declared:
"When it comes to telephone calls, every member of Congress has been briefed on this program," Obama said to reporters last Friday.
And other defenders insisted, at the very least, that anyone could get a full briefing -- if they just asked for it:
The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, chimed in later: "We provided detailed briefings and papers on this to explain the law, to explain the process it was governing," he said on NBC News last Saturday.

And then Monday on Fox News, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who's on the House Intelligence Committee, told his colleagues to stop whining: "You know, these members of Congress who said they didn't know about it — they could have gotten a briefing whenever they wanted to."
Oh really? Even back then, many in Congress said that was hogwash, and that it was incredibly difficult to get the details of these programs out of those who knew about them. While there were these "briefings" that Clapper and King mention above, they're anything but clear. As some noted, the "briefings" don't really brief you on anything -- unless you already know exactly what questions to ask:
“Sometimes these briefings are a game of 20 questions. If you don’t ask exactly the right question, you don’t get the answer,” said Harman.
Either way, Glenn Greenwald's latest shows that the claims that any member of Congress can simply find out what's going on is flat out false -- so we can add that to the list of "lies" from those defending the NSA surveillance programs. Greenwald highlights how two Congressional Representatives -- Morgan Griffith and Alan Grayson -- shared with him their attempts to get access to certain details about the NSA surveillance program. Griffith sent over a bunch of requests to the House Intelligence Committee... and got back nothing, even as he asked that his request be expedited so he could vote knowledgeably on the Amash amendment. Instead... silence.

Even worse, however, is the completely obnoxious response that Grayson received from (you guessed it!) Rep. Mike Rogers, saying that his request had been denied:
On June 19, Grayson wrote to the House Intelligence Committee requesting several documents relating to media accounts about the NSA. Included among them were FISA court opinions directing the collection of telephone records for Americans, as well as documents relating to the PRISM program.

But just over four weeks later, the Chairman of the Committee, GOP Rep. Mike Rogers, wrote to Grayson informing him that his requests had been denied by a Committee "voice vote".
Oh, and it gets worse. Grayson spoke to Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (basically the number two guy on the Intelligence Committee after Rogers) and was told that "he was unaware of any committee action on this matter." A staff member for Grayson asked the Intelligence Committee for the details of the voice vote, including the member-by-member voting. The response?
Thanks for your inquiry. The full Committee attends Business Meetings. At our July 18, 2013 Business Meeting, there were seven Democrat Members and nine Republican Members in attendance. The transcript is classified."
Say what? Here is a Congressional Representative -- who we are told over and over again can have full access to this information -- being told by the NSA's staunchest defenders, Rep. Mike Rogers, that his request is denied "by a voice vote" and then told that the details of that vote are now classified? At some point, you have to recognize that Rogers and the House Intelligence Committee are out of control. I realize they're trying to do damage control, but denying such direct requests from a Congressional Representative is really quite stunning.

And that's not all. Looking through the email exchange, it notes that Grayson had spoken to NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis to find out more about the program, and was requesting a follow up meeting. There are then a whole series of follow up emails with Grayson's office repeatedly trying to schedule a meeting. Finally, they are told that someone from the House Intelligence Committee would be calling to "close the loop," and there's a note that "closing the loop" meant merely calling to tell Grayson that he could not have a follow up meeting with the NSA.

It's no secret that Grayson has been one of the vocal critics of the surveillance program, but now the House Intelligence Committee, led by Mike Rogers, is looking to actively block him from doing his job, denying him access to the very documents, individuals and briefings that all the defenders of the program have said repeatedly are open to all Congressional reps. It really makes you wonder: what are they so afraid of?




Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 5:00am

    what are they so afraid of?

    Their sand castle where they can feed their megalomaniac mental disturbs is under fire. Of course they'll lash out in the most absurd ways. The public and its representative outfits (and that includes politicians themselves) should keep a steady and high pressure. Along with Snowden and other whistleblowers the circus won't hold for long.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    rw (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 5:44am

    "What are they so afraid of?"

    Simple, daylight.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 5:47am

    All I can say to the members of Congress who keep blocking information to this program: the Internet is watching.

    Public opinion already is swaying towards this program being well out of control. Keep proving us right, especially YOU Peter King!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    RyanNerd (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 5:49am

    from the look-at-that dept

    Shouldn't this be from the you-can't-look-at-that dept ?

     

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  5.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 5:51am

    Re: from the look-at-that dept

    There was a voice vote on that issue and that meeting has been classified.

     

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  6.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 5:55am

    Well that explains it...

    And it becomes all the clearer why some people in congress are throwing such massive fits over the info Snowden has been leaking. They have all but locked down the 'official' channels to get informed on the programs/agencies, but the leaks provide a vastly better 'unofficial' route to the same information that members of congress and the public otherwise would not have.

     

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  7.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 6:02am

    They are afraid that the spin will not work this time.

    They almost managed to tip the scales with Snowden, got their selected media lapdogs to gloss over Manning, and I'm sorry its really FUCKING convenient we suddenly are on red alert because of the chatter they picked up at NSA right when they need something to distract.

    They violated their oath of office and the Constitution. They are worried that even the most partisan supporters will eventually turn on them if it all comes out.

    They will never be punished for what they have done, unless becoming a lobbyist is actually a punishment. Their actions have made the country weaker and as long as they get paid they don't care. They pushed the country faster towards ripping itself apart, all for a buck.

    The only upside is they are so inept at trying to hide the truth, we get a little entertainment as we kick back in the handbasket.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 6:34am

    Re: Well that explains it...

    Great parallel with the availability of content via legal/illegal methods and people wondering why piracy is so widespread, when there's this great *cough Ultraviolet cough* method here.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 6:34am

    Rep. Mike Rogers

    I dont understand this guy, he is evangalical christian, why cant he just leave defense of the country in gods hands. We all know America is gods favorites country.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    esquireLLC, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 6:36am

    Re:

    He is from a rural district in Alabama, most of his constituents canít read, much less use the internet (which the believe is a tool of satan).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Medbob, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 6:41am

    Grayson?

    I fully support the cause, but Grayson is a Class A butthole.
    I wouldn't give him access to my blog, let alone anything important.

    On a different aspect; We've known about Echelon for a long time. That makes the classification of this newest program a total farce. I don't understand why CongressCritters don't merely notify the powers that be, that they are doing a full review of Classification Justification and develop a Special Committee for that.

     

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  12.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 6:44am

    Re: Rep. Mike Rogers

    Because he had to make sure his wife got her cut of the 10 billion dollar contract she landed for her job. As she is chattel, the money is now his.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Jasmine Charter, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 6:46am

    Why?! OH WHY?!

    WHY... Why oh God... would you trust ANYONE in Congress?!

    Congress is the new Mafia... only with more power and less scruples.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Dan S (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 7:02am

    Re:

    Fortunately, a sand castle under fire quickly becomes a glass house...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Rep. Mike Rogers

    Wait Iím still confused, according to Jesus a rich man canít get into heaven (or that itís about as likely as a camel fitting through the eye of a needle, which is of course impossible), it would seem an evangelical Christian would want to avoid becoming rich?

     

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  16.  
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    Ben S (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Rep. Mike Rogers

    With that quote, you've got to take the context into consideration. The "eye of the needle" was a term that referred to the archway entering into certain larger cities. It was too small for the camel to just walk through. Getting the camel through required a fairly significant amount of work, it wasn't an easy task, but it was possible.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 7:34am

    "The transcript is classified."

    Fine, the transcript is classified. In discussing the request they may well have touched upon classified issues. I have no problem with that.

    But the vote itself should NOT be classified. The vote dealt only with a congressman's request for information. There is no legitimate interest in hiding who voted for or against.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 7:41am

    I'm not surprised that a republican told Alan Grayson to go pound sand. You only need to look at his history in the house during his first term there.
    He lost his seat then moved down the road to win in a new district 2 years later.
    I suspect he will lose that seat in 2014.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Wolfy, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 7:42am

    We're trying to get rid of Mr. Rogers... I certainly did not vote for him.

    He is perhaps one of the worst offenders in the "Disregard Your Oath to the Constitution" club.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Rob, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re:

    Peter King is from New York. Mike Rogers is from Michigan. From a map, neither district looks particularly rural.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Rob, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 7:47am

    Re:

    A Republican would never have moved between districts to win an election. A Republican would have moved the district.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    Re:

    The whole 22 embassy shutdown is BS political theater. There will probably be a raid(s) or a drone strike(s), followed by congratulations all around at "stopping the terrorist threat". Then they are going to say "Thanks to the work of the NSA spying program we were able to prevent this attack". This will be used in an attempt to justify keeping the program up and running.

    This is the first time since the president took office that we find something that is transparent.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 8:07am

    fuck it. I don't care anymore. lets just rename this planet.

    planet bend-over

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 8:15am

    Re:

    Yeah, wasn't that red alert convenient? Anytime they're coming under political fire, they issue a terror alert. Knowing how they operate, they'll probably stage another attack using their CIA-created boogeymen, Al Qaeda, then blame it on Americans for wanting to protect their Constitutional rights.

    I was reading comments on news forums about this topic and thankfully people seem alert to what's really going on. There is hope.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Cixelsid (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 8:15am

    Vote independent

    Can't you guys just get everyone over there to vote the republicans and democrats out of the house? It's time to admit a 2 (actually 1) party system doesn't work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re:

    Anything to distract and to give legitimacy to their unconstitutional actions.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 8:25am

    Re: Rep. Mike Rogers

    Correction: he *claims* he's a Christian. Although I'm in no position to judge him, I can judge his actions. If he's knowingly lying and helping the government violate people's rights, that's inherently anti-Christian behavior.

    Then again, politics has become almost synonymous with lying and stealing, so par for the course. How many of them have ties to Freemasonry (i.e. pagan)?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 8:29am

    don't even replace them. just kick them out and lock the doors.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 8:31am

    Re: Vote independent

    What good would that do? Who do you think runs the voting booths? The only way things are going to change for the better is if the entire government is overhauled from top to bottom and all excess agencies are done away with. Never gonna happen at the voting booth, sorry to say.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 8:39am

    Re:

    Economic vampires. Hiding away from the sun, living on public funding and silencing anyone getting close to finding their modus operandi.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    [citation needed or GTFO], Aug 5th, 2013 @ 9:39am

    Re:

    Is that what we call "Uranus" these days?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 10:08am

    Hold the phone a minute...

    The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, chimed in later: "We provided detailed briefings and papers on this to explain the law, to explain the process it was governing," he said on NBC News last Saturday.


    WTF is the DNI doing EXPLAINING THE LAW to the very people responsible for WRITING THE LAWS in the first place as if they aren't capable of understanding what they have written. To make a statement like that takes real balls.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    tracker1 (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    In other news...

    Today congressman Alan Grayson has disappeared... when the DoJ was asked if they were responsible, they stated that they cannot comment on the existence or non-existence of an investigation surrounding the congressman that may, or may not be related to the PATRIOT Act.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Jeff (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Mike - you should be careful...

    ...This might add fuel to the fire for the lawsuit Rep Rogers will be bringing against you... After all, you are siding with somebody 'on the other side' (AKA the 'terrists!)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re:

    Note that embassies are on foreign soil, and presumably the threat was detected by foreign intelligence. It will be a huge stretch to use this to justify spying on Americans. I

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Hold the phone a minute...

    Mr. Clapper,

    Look, Congress writes the laws. It's your job to follow them. Not the other way around. Furthermore, if I may offer you a small piece of advice. There is something in the Constitution (I know you aren't a fan of it but this could benefit you greatly.) called the 5th amendment that says basically that you can STFU so that you don't get yourself in more trouble. As just about every word that comes out of your mouth seems to make you look worse and worse, I'd advise you to read this tasty little tidbit and take advantage of the benefits that it affords.

    BTW Shouldn't you be in jail yet for this crap?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 1:12pm

    If I were a congressman being denied any information on these unconstitutional programs, I would simply draft and vote for legislation to defund these unconstitutional programs.

    If congress can't even do that, which they failed to do with the Amish Amendment, then they truly are traitors to the Constitution and American people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re:

    good one, except bend-over is actually getting screwed

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Livingston County, Aug 6th, 2013 @ 1:30am

    Re: Re: Rep. Mike Rogers

    Well, I'm in a position to judge him because this jackass is from my hometown. He's a convenient-Christian. That is, he talks up his religion as much as he can to guarantee he's got the rural Michigan vote but when it comes time to protecting any of our interests, he seemingly forgets that helping your neighbor is a theme among The Bible.

    What an embarrassment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 7th, 2013 @ 4:30am

    Re:

    Just the Constitution.
    Corporations are people now, and they are serving them very well.
    Lucrative contracts to spy on everyone with no oversight or budget limitations.
    Its good to be a corporate person, you "donate" a couple thousand and win billions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Rob, Aug 7th, 2013 @ 10:04pm

    Julian Assange is a saint when you compare him to these guys.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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