House Intelligence Committee Orders Investigation Into Surveillance Of Congress That It Authorized

from the oh,-look-at-that dept

So, yes, it was just revealed that, of course, the NSA spied on Congress as it was intercepting phone calls of foreign leaders, leading to hypocritical bloviating from folks in Congress who regularly support the NSA. And, of course, now the House Intelligence Committee, which approved the surveillance authorities in the first place, says it's opening a probe into this:
“The House Intelligence Committee is looking into allegations in the Wall Street Journal regarding possible Intelligence Community (IC) collection of communications between Israeli government officials and Members of Congress,” Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said in a statement. “The Committee has requested additional information from the IC to determine which, if any, of these allegations are true, and whether the IC followed all applicable laws, rules, and procedures.”
As the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer sarcastically tweeted (inspiring the title of this post), the "confused" Intelligence Committee is opening an investigation into surveillance programs that it directly authorized.

The whole thing, once again, highlights what a bunch of hypocrites surveillance state defenders are in Congress. When revelations revealed mass surveillance on everyday Americans, the focus was on attacking the leakers and attacking the credibility of the reports. But, suddenly when Congress itself is having some of its calls intercepted in a manner that shouldn't be at all surprising, it's a big deal that requires an investigation.

It's almost as if Congress thinks it represents its own interests, rather than those of the American public...

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 12:57pm

    Pass the buck

    At least it is really difficult to look in one end of a microscope and see yourself.


    Hmmmm, maybe this is a new methodology for pointing ones finger.

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

  2. identicon
    David, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 1:01pm

    Hate to tell you:

    It's almost as if Congress thinks it represents its own interests, rather than those of the American public...

    Uh, that's capitalism for you. If everybody trusts his greed, the best society develops. And everybody can feel really certain about that since the media are also controlled by money.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 1:03pm

    Separation of powers

    … when Congress itself is having some of its calls intercepted…
    Whenever the executive branch intercepts the legislative branch's communications, we have serious separation of powers concerns.

    In plain English, even if you think the President ought to be entitled to listen in to what I write to my representatives and senators, I myself think it's none of the President's business. And none of your business either, for that matter.

    Communications between citizens and legislators occupy a privileged status in any well-functioning democracy.

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 1:11pm

    Does this mean that the public will be able to view the analysis of this spying on congress when the investigation is concluded? In the manner of transparent government where we can see the delineation between illegal and legal surveillance?

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

  5. identicon
    Personanongrata, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 1:13pm

    Benefactors First, Citizens Last if at All

    It's almost as if Congress thinks it represents its own interests, rather than those of the American public...

    At the end of the day doesn't Congress thinks it represents its own interests.

    Can any person post a link to any legislation, passed after the 107th US Congress met for the first time in January 2001, that benefits American citizens as a whole and not congress or their political benefactors?

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

  6. icon
    TechDescartes (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 1:25pm

    There's a name for that...

    It's almost as if Congress thinks it represents its own interests, rather than those of the American public...
    It's called "elective amnesia."

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

  7. icon
    Peter (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 1:29pm

    What is all this buzz about - if they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear ....

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

  8. icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Hate to tell you:

    That's actually not capitalism for you. Unfortunately, we haven't had capitalism in this country for decades now. Try reading Adam Smith sometime; it's surprising how many of the things he said that, if said today, would get him branded as a dirty commie by modern "free market" proponents.

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

  9. icon
    Seegras (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re: Hate to tell you:

    ... and how many modern so-called capitalists are vigorously defending government granted monopolies -- as long as these monopolies are called "intellectual property".

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 1:43pm

    Re:

    Not hardly. First of all whomever you file your FOIA request with will neither be able to confirm, nor deny the existence of any responsive documents. Besides our search engine broke and you didn't put down the $1,000,000 deposit against the totally legitimate potential cost estimate that will cost $999,999 to produce.

    Secondly there are specialty IT people who know how to delete files without leaving any trace, including activity logs, whether they are required to be retained or not. And they carry matches.

    Thirdly that information would be classified and the classification can only be adjusted by the classifying authority who is most likely the person who would be most upset by the release of any responsive information. Who that is, is also classified.

    Fourthly, things are legal or not legal because Congress says so (just ask them) and Congress is not subject to any laws (just ask them). FYI, they only illegal surveillance is surveillance that captures Congressional speech, and then only if they find out about it.

    There you go, THE most transparent government in history.

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 2:41pm

    funny how there is an immediate change of attitude when those who say spying on everyone is fine, suddenly find out that they are also being spied on, isn't it? all that this and other governments are doing is using terrorism as a way to keep track of everyone everywhere, and, in doing so, are doing the terrorists job for them!!

    nothing but pathetic lies and excuses!!

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re:

    Cue the rimshot and laugh track. What an absolute failure of government.

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

  13. identicon
    Loki, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 3:51pm

    Not that their investigation will amount to much. It'll probably take 3 years, $40 million, and almost 7,000 pages that'll end up as a 500 page heavily redacted "executive summary" .

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

  14. icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Re: Hate to tell you:

    two of my favorite quotes regarding kapitalism:

    Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.

    john maynard keynes

    Under capitalism, man exploits man.
    Under communism, it's just the opposite.

    john kenneth galbraith

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re: Hate to tell you:

    Having read "Wealth of Nations", you come to realize that modern economists are rather picky. Examples from Smith:

    "It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion"

    Union-busting and employer-collution is nothing new:
    "...Masters, too, sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate (red. Rate relates to the value of the work). These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy till the moment of execution; and when the workmen yield, as they sometimes do without resistance, though severely felt by them, they are never heard of by other people". In contrast, when workers combine, "the masters [...] never cease to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, and the rigorous execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against the combination of servants, labourers, and journeymen."

    And I like this one in particular:
    "[a]ll for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind."

    While these are rather specific quotes, they represent the sides in it that most "free market" proponents completely ignore today. Not because they have been proven wrong, but because they do not fit into their world view.

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 6:41pm

    Make sure to not tell them what they already don't know. That way they can say they are doing something while avoiding any culpability of being held responsible

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

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 6:44pm

    The day all these traitors meet their end will be a good one. be it at the end of a rope or against a wall.

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

  18. icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:23pm

    Re: Benefactors First, Citizens Last if at All

    oh, you don't know how spot on your subject header is...
    was just reading about one of the 7th circles of bankster hell, wherein all ye here may abandon all hope:

    turns out, that latest round of regulatory relaxing and wall street's tailor-made laws, have made it so when the poo poo hits the rotating blade, and the banks start falling like dominoes, the arbitragin', scammin', HFTin', lyin', hookers and blowin' masters of the universe are FIRST AND FOREMOST in line to be paid back 100% for their leveraged market manipulations ! ! !
    actual people who put up REAL money the banksters leveraged out the ying-yang ? small-time depositors and joe and jane nobody ?
    F.U.C.K.E.D.

    long lube, but short condoms...

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

  19. identicon
    Ebernew, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:47pm

    What's the problem?

    If Congress didn't do anything wrong, surely they don't have anything to hide.

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

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 8:22pm

    Re: What's the problem?

    If Congress didn't do anything wrong, surely they don't have anything to hide.
    There is no doubt at all that the framers envisioned that Congress might have some need for secrecy, and that the Consitution —at least partially— provides for that essential secrecy.

    Article I Section 5
    Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy;
    (Emphasis added.)

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

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 8:37pm

    Re: Re: What's the problem?

    … as may in their judgment require secrecy;
    (Emphasis added.)
    Besides emphasis, I should also add that it is plain from the text that the judgment as to which matters require secrecy is confided to the legislature.

    The judgment in this—is not confided to the executive. That is clear. It is not the President's call, nor is it the military's decision. The NSA is out-of-bounds when it comes to deciding which Congressional proceedings require discretion.

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

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 9:15pm

    Advice for NSA

    Guys, Congress gave you the right to watch anything you wanted, so you should watched your step.

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

  23. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 10:32pm

    "Or what?" -The NSA

    Congress doesn't have the spine to do anything real about the NSA, the most they can do is pass useless legislation that only appears to do something about the more visible abuses of power, while in practice leaving the underlying problems untouched.

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

  24. icon
    Violynne (profile), Jan 5th, 2016 @ 8:24am

    It's almost as if Congress thinks it represents its own interests, rather than those of the American public...

    Are you fucking kidding us? That's exactly what it is.

    When was the last time our government actually did anything for the public.

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


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