One Of Congress's Biggest Defenders Of NSA Surveillance Suddenly Aghast That NSA May Have Spied On Him
from the funny-how-that-works dept
Remember how Dianne Feinstein — a huge supporter of the intelligence community — absolutely freaked out about surveillance when it happened to her staffers (when the CIA snooped on their network)? It would almost be funny how the defenders of surveillance react when they’re being surveilled… if it weren’t so tragic.
As we noted earlier today, the WSJ just revealed that the NSA had no problem intercepting calls made by Congress as part of spying on foreign leaders, such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And, as you might expect, some folks are quite upset about this… including former US Representative Pete Hoekstra, who headed the House Intelligence Committee a decade ago. He sent out a pair of angry tweets about the news:
WSJ report that NSA spied on Congress and Israel communications very disturbing. Actually outrageous. Maybe unprecedented abuse of power.
NSA and Obama officials need to be investigated and prosecuted if any truth to WSJ reports. NSA loses all credibility. Scary.
Of course, this very same Pete Hoekstra, who long defended NSA surveillance, didn’t seem to have much of an issue when the NSA was spying on anyone other than himself. Just last year, in a debate with Glenn Greenwald, Hoekstra mocked the idea that anyone was upset at the NSA spying on foreign governments and said if there was anything to complain about, it was that the NSA allowed such info to leak:
If the country’s intelligence techniques leak, what is to say our enemies won’t also review the information, Hoekstra asked. He laughs at foreign governments who are shocked they’ve been spied on because they, too, gather information.
“Spying is a matter of fact,” Hoekstra said. “The mistake that we made is that we had a NSA that did not put in the protections that it need to protect (it) … they enabled someone like Edward Snowden to steal our documents and steal our national securities to the world.”
Uh huh. But suddenly when it’s his communications, the NSA “loses all credibility” and there needs to be an “investigation”?
And here’s the very same Pete Hoekstra talking about how he was personally briefed on the “safeguards” of the NSA program and how he trusts the NSA to never violate civil liberties:
?I was briefed by the vice president and then-head of the NSA, Michael Hayden, and it was from my perspective a very thorough briefing,? recalled Hoekstra in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. ?They talked about what the capabilities of the program were, how the programs functioned, and the protections that were put in place to make sure that American civil liberties were protected.?
The Michigan Republican said he met with some of the people who administered the programs and came away convinced ?they clearly understood the responsibilities that they had to No. 1, do their job, but also to protect Americans’ civil liberties.?
Also, this is the very same Hoekstra, who back when he was running the House Intelligence Committee blatantly misled the public about the surveillance powers of the NSA. In that case, somewhat ironically, Hoekstra attacked a bill called the RESTORE Act, that would have granted a tiny bit more oversight over situations where (you guessed it) the NSA was collecting information on Americans. Hoekstra falsely argued that this would make it harder to track terrorists overseas (despite the fact that their communications weren’t subject to the law). But now that his own communications got sucked up in surveillance efforts targeted at foreigners, it’s a giant scandal?
Beginning to think that being a total hypocrite on these issues should be called “being a total Hoekstra.”