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:

If you can’t read those, he says:

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.?

Go on…

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.?

I see…

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.”

Filed Under: , , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “One Of Congress's Biggest Defenders Of NSA Surveillance Suddenly Aghast That NSA May Have Spied On Him”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You're Obviously Confused

Yeah I love how using the fear word of the day somehow magically erases rights and laws already established to deal with the situations. Just like Communism before it, the overreach in the name of terrorism is nothing more than power hungry people getting away with evil in the name of freedom.

Quiet Lurcker says:

Re: Re: You're Obviously Confused

Was trying to figure out what this whole anti-terror thing reminded me of, and your post called McCarthy to mind.

Was just about to thank you for that when I realized that (bright spot here maybe?) we don’t seem to have seen Gene McCarthy’s spiritual descendant or successor (Deo gratias).

At least, not yet.

Jason says:

Sadly, it’s this kind of thing that might be the only real chance we have of reining in these surveillance programs. Too many people in Congress seem to think that anything goes as long as it doesn’t affect them, so maybe getting swept up with everybody else is the only wakeup call they’ll listen to. They sure don’t seem to want to listen to their constituents.

(And I should know, Hoekstra was the Congressman from my district.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Mr Hoekstra, this is only one example of what you elected officials have visited on the citizens. I highly doubt you’ll agree with that, so embrace this moment for what it appears to be: something you helped create. Get angry and tweet all you want, but at least review your actions and comments over the years and be angry at yourself.

That’s the least you can do.

John85851 (profile) says:

Ah, he's a Republican

Sorry for the generalization, but it seems like these kinds of stories happen all the time with Republicans.
* “We need to have better family values in this country, but ignore the fact that I’m texting underage boys.”
* “Unwed teenage girls are bad and they’re a drain on our society. Oh, look, Bristol Palin had her second child from a second father and she’s not married. How brave.”
* “Drug users are bad and should go to jail for life. Except me. I don’t abuse Oxycontin- I can stop anytime I want.”
* “Obama wasn’t born in this country [though he was] so he can’t be president. Cruz was born in Canada but he can be president.”
* “Obama is a Muslim even though he attended church with a controversial Christian pastor.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ah, he's a Republican

Wait up, you are correct on most of the republican generalizations, but the same applies to democrats to.

Regarding Obama being a muslim.

there is a saying that reminds us to judge people by the fruits of their labors… so yes Obama is undeniably a Muslim by his own works! He had discontinued some Christian celebrations in the Whitehouse and has invited some Muslims celebrations.

If attending Church is all that is required to be a Christian then there are a lot more of them around than anyone knows. And if attendance is enough for proof then why do you give Obama a pass on some of the more “questionable” churches he has attended.

Looks to me like you are just a tool for the left.

The birthright bullshit is a show created for and maintained by the tards running those games. Both Obama and Cruz had American Citizens for at least 1 parent during their birth. Both are legitimate US Citizens regardless of their location of birth!

Pronounce (profile) says:

Isn't it obvious? Seems obvious to me.

Obviously State monitoring isn’t about safety, it’s about societal control.

And government is about power, and power brokers. So it’s a little unsettling for any of them to learn they didn’t have as much power as they thought.

That’s what all this noise is about. Hoekstra just found out he didn’t have as much power as he thought.

ECA (profile) says:

What do you think the NSA is for??

It amazes me that the people (supporting the NSA) dont understand WHO the NSA needs/wants to spy on..

The Citizens have been kept in the dark for years…WHO knows more about whats going on then Those in the government?? Those in the the military..?

Why would they wish to monitor it?? Blackmail? Military funding? NSA funding? any other ideas here??

The Original Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Just imagine...

Just imagine if someone with the ethics and goals of a person like, say, J. Edgar Hoover were to get their hands on the information that can be “hoovered” up by the NSA, FBI, CIA, US Marshal Service, etc…

How many members of the three branches of government are susceptible to blackmail?

The old adage about the Golden Rule used to be “he who has the gold, rules” but now it’s “he who has the information, rules.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Not surprising

They’ve also exempted themselves from insider trading regulations…

Which is one of the main reasons they were so happy to push the population into stock market gambling for financial retirement. The best way to profit from insider trading is to have a bunch of people throwing their life’s savings into your con game. Whoopee! Good for you, bad for them. Fuck ’em.

notrelevant says:


The schadenfreude is strong and tasty in this case, but I also have to question Hoekstra’s basic intelligence.
It’s like this, if a spy agency (NSA) is going to spy on foreign politicians, when are they most likely to want to? When that target is talking to someone else in power (Hoekstra) or when he is talking to a nobody (e.g. birthday wish to a neice). It seems obvious to me that Hoekstra was an ideal secondsry target.

Anonymous Coward says:

(From Days of Thunder)

Harry Hogge: All right. While we’re still under a caution, I want you to go back out on that track and hit the pace car.

Cole Trickle: Hit the pace car?

Harry Hogge: Hit the pace car.

Cole Trickle: What for?

Harry Hogge: Because you’ve hit every other goddamned thing out there, I want you to be perfect.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...