Rep. Justin Amash: House Intelligence Committee Withheld NSA Documents From Incoming Congressmen

from the Mike-Rogers'-streak-of-'dick-moves'-continues-unabated dept

Defenders of the NSA's program always point to two things: it's all legal and it's all subject to oversight. Part of the "oversight" is the FISA "thumbs up" system that has approved every request for two years in a row. The other part of the "oversight" is Congress itself.

Unfortunately, members of Congress have been lied to directly about the extent of the collections occurring under Section 215 (and 702), so that's one strike against the "oversight." Now, it appears that members of Congress are being selectively provided with information about the programs.

Rep. Justin Amash, (attempted) NSA defunder, posted this to his Facebook wall last night. It's a recently declassified document addressed to Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger. This cover letter accompanied documents detailing the bulk collections authorized by Sections 215 and 402 (pen register/trap and trace). [Click through to enlarge.]


At the beginning of the second paragraph, the cover letter (dated Feb. 2, 2011) notes:
We believe that making this document available to all Members of Congress, as we did with a similar document in 2009, is an effective way to inform the legislative debate about the reauthorization of Section 215.
There's your "oversight" for you: the assistant attorney general calling for these documents to be shared with all Congress members in order to give them the oversight capabilities NSA spokesmen keep claiming is keeping the agency in check. Except, as Amash points out on his FB page, Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger never bothered sharing these documents.
Less than two weeks ago, the Obama administration released previously classified documents regarding ‪#‎NSA‬'s bulk collection programs and indicated that two of these documents had been made available to all Members of Congress prior to the vote on reauthorization of the Patriot Act. I can now confirm that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence did NOT, in fact, make the 2011 document available to Representatives in Congress, meaning that the large class of Representatives elected in 2010 did not receive either of the now declassified documents detailing these programs.
It appears the Committee was extremely selective (hence its name?) about who it would share these documents with. Incoming Congress members need not apply.

So, when Feinstein and others greeted the leaks with a shrug and a blase "We've known about this for years," there was probably some truth to those claims. Certain Representatives and Senators knew. Some even tried to warn the public. Still others had no idea, not until the details began appearing, not in security briefings, but at The Guardian and Washington Post.

Maybe the NSA really thought every representative was on the same page. Maybe it knew there were "gaps" in the oversight but didn't care. Considering its position as the most secretive of intelligence agencies, it probably figured the smaller the loop, the better.

According to this document, it was left in the hands of Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger to disperse the information to the other members of Congress. And it appears they chose not to.

"Oversight" like this, based on selective inclusion, is a joke -- something that affects all Americans is guided into the hands of a chosen few, most of whom wholeheartedly support the NSA's programs. Mike Rogers continues to mold the "oversight" into his own image, withholding these documents in 2011 and, more recently, denying crucial information on the FISA court and the PRISM program to representatives who wished to use it to get up to speed before the vote on Amash's NSA-directed amendment.

This isn't "oversight." This is Mike Rogers abusing his position to control the narrative and keep the NSA running smoothly, safely hidden away from those tasked with overseeing these surveillance programs. The NSA and its defenders can talk all they want about "oversight," but this is nothing more than Rogers carving out a fiefdom at the expense of the American public.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    rw (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 6:31am

    He wants to be Osama's, pardon me, Obama's best right hand man.

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 6:34am

    Next: Mike Roger staffers send a DMCA notice to Techdirt ISP.

    If direct lawsuit threats don't work you can always go copyright for some free censorship ;)

    Now, on a more serious note: Rogers deliberately lies and upholds information from the Congress. I shall await his punishment.

    Ninja and a few techdirt readers after 100 years of waiting for politician misdeeds to be punished

     

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

  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Aug 12th, 2013 @ 7:47am

    Focusing on Rogers avoids the huge SYSTEMIC problem.

    Just diffuses attention. Besides, we already know the problems! It's ALL due to a totally corrupt ruling class that fully intends to enslave everyone else. NSA is just ONE of their instruments toward that goal.

    Just save time and fretting: mark Congress off your list of agents of change, because matters are now way past that stage, they've ALL proven either corrupt or ineffective.

    It's time for Populism, another New Deal to again level the playing field against The Rich who own the corporations which own the gov'ts.

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 7:51am

    Re:

    Well, at least you're all getting a little sun...

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    assemblerhead (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 8:01am

    This is sanctionable activity.

    No person can make an informed decision without ALL the info.

    He should be sanctioned and removed from the "House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence".

    Fool me once, shame on you.
    Fool me twice, shame on me.

    Don't trust him.
    No trust, at all.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Aug 12th, 2013 @ 8:06am

    Least Untruth

    It was made available to ALL members of Congress...except for the ones it wasn't made available to.

    Why doesn't everyone just understand that the second part of the sentence is automatically inferred?

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Dr. Evil, Aug 12th, 2013 @ 8:11am

    just wondering

    I don't believe in conspiracy theories, but I am beginning to wonder just exactly what the NSAzies (or the unseen handlers) have on these various gov't members.. including the president. With enough info, you can blackmail the entire 'ruling class'

    hmmmm

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    ioconnor (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 8:19am

    We Need Music for Change

    Problem is that more than 99 percent of our population consists of lemmings. These lemmings could be reached by music though. Maybe it would be easiest to take old popular breeder music and replace the lyrics with catchy thought provoking music. Make the loser/idiot/dweeb into the guy that votes Democratic or Republican. Make the narratives ridicule current political shenanigans.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Paul, Aug 12th, 2013 @ 8:20am

    I'm wondering also......

    Just when do "We The People" start to see these "LIARS" brought to JUSTICE? Where are the CRIMINAL CHARGES?? When do heads start rolling???

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2013 @ 8:22am

    Re: just wondering

    Probably where they keep their BDSM porn.

     

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

  11.  
    icon
    TasMot (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 8:26am

    Re: I'm wondering also......

    Didn't you read the news. They are chasing down Snowden as quickly as they can to shut him up. As soon as they can get their hands on him they will try him and lock him up. Who else could you be talking about.

     

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

  12.  
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    lucidrenegade (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 8:36am

    Aren't all members of Congress supposed to be "equal", and all have access to the same information? Would it not be illegal, or at least against the rules, to withhold information from other members of Congress?

     

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

  13.  
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    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    As Douglas said...

    It was "made available"... in a drawer of a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a "beware of leopard" sign on the door.. "made available" doesn't mean "handed out".

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    making the information available, as it states in the letter above, doesn't mean and obviously didn't mean that it was going to be discussed or any notice was going to be taken of anyone or the decisions made by Congress anyway. this is nothing but absolute horse shit! and the biggest dropper of it is Rogers. what a liar he is!!

     

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

  15.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    Against the rules...in a House led by a Representative who was admonished for handing out lobbyist checks on the floor of the House during session?

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Re: Least Untruth

    "Everybody is equal, but some are more equal than others"

     

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

  17.  
    icon
    SoberMoney (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 10:13am

    Re:

    These Osama comments are idiocy. Obama can create his own problems just by his actions.

    Right wing nonsense like rw's just makes people like rw look like dumb rednecks.

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    SoberMoney (profile), Aug 12th, 2013 @ 10:16am

    Re: We Need Music for Change

    As strange as your comment reads, I have to agree.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Ox, Aug 12th, 2013 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: just wondering

    Viewing this on my phone, I thought it said "NOPORN"

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2013 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Least Untruth

    They have a secret interpretation of what the word "all" means.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2013 @ 1:42pm

    Re: I'm wondering also......

    The only way that will happen is through vigilante justice. Seeing how Homeland Security has been heavily militarizing the police, how the NSA & FBI are intercepting all communications, and how coordinated our government is in punishing any dissent, well that will fail like a whale trying to fly.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Aug 12th, 2013 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: just wondering

    Probably where they keep their BDSM porn.

    I burn my BDSM porn to DVDRs as a backup. :)

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Aug 12th, 2013 @ 2:29pm

    The "oversight" in "Oversight Committee" refers to the fact that the intelligence community feels that giving Congress any influence over them was an oversight.

     

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


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