NSA won't say if it is "spying" on Congress
January 4th, 2014
03:45 PM ET

NSA won't say if it is "spying" on Congress

Congress is just like everyone else. That's the message the National Security Agency has for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The independent senator from Vermont sent a letter to the agency Friday, asking whether it has or is "spying" on members of Congress and other elected American officials.

The NSA provided a preliminary response Saturday that said Congress has "the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons."

"NSA's authorities to collect signals intelligence data include procedures that protect the privacy of U.S. persons. Such protections are built into and cut across the entire process. Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons," said the agency in a statement obtained by CNN.

The response goes on to promise the agency will continue to work with Congress on the issues - without ever addressing the senator's real question.

Sanders defines "spying" in his letter as "gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or e-mails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business."

The NSA would say nothing more, except that it is further reviewing the letter.

"We will continue to work to ensure that all Members of Congress, including Sen. Sanders, have information about NSA's mission, authorities, and programs to fully inform the discharge of their duties," read the statement.

Attorney General Eric Holder similarly deflected answering the same question at a congressional hearing last summer, telling Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, that the NSA had no "intent" to spy on Congress, but the issue was better discussed in private.

The intelligence community has faced heated criticism from the right and left in 2013 after Edward Snowden's leaks, and the intensity has continued fiercely in 2014.

On Thursday, the New York Times and the Guardian published scathing editorials that slammed the "violations" Snowden's leaks revealed and advocated a presidential pardon for him.

Among those charges was the notion that James Clapper Jr., the director of National Intelligence, lied to Congress while testifying last March that the NSA was not collecting data on millions of Americans.

National Intelligence was quick to push back, with a letter to the editor from by general counsel Robert Litt, published in the New York Times on Saturday.

"As a witness to the relevant events and a participant in them, I know that allegation is not true," writes Litt, explaining that Clapper misunderstood the question, but couldn't publicly correct his mistake "because the program involved was classified."

"This incident shows the difficulty of discussing classified information in an unclassified setting and the danger of inferring a person's state of mind from extemporaneous answers given under pressure."

Litt said that Clapper was "surprised and distressed" when he was informed by staff that he gave a misleading answer after the testimony.

CNN's Evan Perez contributed to this report.

Post by:
Filed under: NSA
soundoff (417 Responses)
  1. Alec Somdah

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://rumblingstrips.blogspot.com/2006/04/

    June 21, 2021 at 8:29 pm | Reply
  2. Keven Wolkowski

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl authors and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2003/05/teaching-award-glynda-hull-well.html?showComment=1570104600332

    June 21, 2021 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  3. Collin Heirendt

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl authors and blogs

    http://beyondnewhorizons.com/2010/11/friendinboxtweet-me-perceived-challenges-and-implications-of-social-media/

    June 18, 2021 at 11:13 am | Reply
  4. Ying Poeschel

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2019/03/?m=0

    June 15, 2021 at 7:04 am | Reply
  5. Karl Swire

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2013/05/?m=0

    June 15, 2021 at 7:03 am | Reply
  6. Oda Scanlan

    I don't know about you people but I infatuated with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/06/video-alaska-airlines-shows-how-sky-high-airlines-uses-chickens/

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2006/09/back.html?showComment=1157399040000&m=0

    June 13, 2021 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  7. Kevin Baile

    I don't know about you people but I am obsessed with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/03/video-of-space-shuttle-discovery-launch-viewed-from-airliner/

    http://beyondnewhorizons.com/2011/08/back-from-the-wilderness/

    June 13, 2021 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  8. Herschel Coggeshall

    I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/06/tornadoes-with-american/

    http://urlm.co/g/c/f/163873

    June 13, 2021 at 6:11 am | Reply
  9. Brenda Urenda

    I don't know about you people but I infatuated with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/08/new-united-continental-font-to-be-used/

    http://urlm.co/g/c/f/163871

    June 13, 2021 at 6:10 am | Reply
  10. Merrill Artzer

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2017/04/spanish-language-edition-of-of-new.html?showComment=1529951902859&m=0

    June 12, 2021 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  11. Eric Koczwara

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2013/08/our-new-book-new-literacies-reader.html?showComment=1386215671348

    June 12, 2021 at 7:50 pm | Reply
  12. Devorah Snith

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 11, 2021 at 9:31 am | Reply
  13. Lashell Caponi

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 5, 2021 at 8:59 am | Reply
  14. Jeannie Angus

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs

    http://adolit.blogspot.com/2006/04/materialmaterialmaterialgirl.html

    June 2, 2021 at 9:19 pm | Reply
  15. Edmund Nimon

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy

    June 1, 2021 at 9:57 am | Reply
  16. Denis Vanbergen

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl authors and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2011/06/mapping-mind.html?m=0

    May 30, 2021 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  17. Josh Prokop

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2005/11/not-yamaha-qt1.html?showComment=1133033580000&m=0

    May 30, 2021 at 3:49 am | Reply
  18. Josiah Hutton

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these Second Life websites and blogs

    http://bgblogging.com/2008/12/08/bits-and-pieces-learning-from-great-blog-conversationalists/

    May 29, 2021 at 2:58 am | Reply
  19. Hayden Renna

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2006/11/hunting-and-gathering.html

    May 28, 2021 at 2:46 am | Reply
  20. Junie Zoumis

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life authors and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2017/04/spanish-language-edition-of-of-new.html?showComment=1497436203006

    May 23, 2021 at 2:09 am | Reply
  21. Dino Kroger

    I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/10/the-time-has-come-body-scanners-arrive-in-seattle/

    http://urlm.co/g/c/f/163870

    May 21, 2021 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  22. Earnest Forster

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs

    http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2008/01/new-start.html?m=0

    May 20, 2021 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  23. Allan Dangler

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs

    http://lostbiro.com/blog/?page_i&paged=105

    May 19, 2021 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  24. Wan Roundtree

    I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2008/08/no-soup-for-you/

    http://urlm.co/g/c/f/163870

    May 19, 2021 at 1:36 am | Reply
  25. Lindsay Sinistore

    I don't know about you all but I am obsessed with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/09/video-how-to-washing-a-boeing-737s-engine/

    http://www.hotfrog.com/search/mountlake-terrace2Cwa/freight

    May 17, 2021 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  26. Vince Steptore

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl websites and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2009/05/feeling-for-mexico-after-week-in-mexico.html

    May 16, 2021 at 9:49 pm | Reply
  27. Rocco Kadow

    I don't know about you all but I infatuated with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/03/happy-st-patricks-day/

    http://www.pseconline.org/pipermail/reps_pseconline.org/2013-October/000980.html

    May 16, 2021 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  28. Ching Berlo

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusuf-hanafy-82493b183

    May 11, 2021 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  29. Johnathon Mehaffy

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

    http://amusingspace.blogspot.com/2009/06/digital-traces-and-lifespan-of-txt.html

    May 10, 2021 at 2:47 am | Reply
  30. Ginette Delamarter

    As a Newbie, I am permanently searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 4, 2021 at 9:55 am | Reply
  31. Harold Vankampen

    This web page is known as a walk-by way of for all of the info you needed about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse right here, and you’ll definitely uncover it.

    http://www.detrials.net

    February 23, 2021 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  32. Storm Proxy

    I like studying and I think this website got some genuinely utilitarian stuff on it! .

    https://dreamproxies.com/tag/myprivateproxy-sale/

    February 16, 2021 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  33. Hairstyles

    I have been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

    https://www.hairstylesvip.com

    January 21, 2021 at 3:45 pm | Reply
  34. Rashad Goletz

    I intended to create you one very little note to help thank you once again with the gorgeous basics you've shown in this case. It is quite surprisingly open-handed with you to give unreservedly exactly what a lot of people would have made available for an e-book to make some money on their own, precisely considering the fact that you could have tried it in case you desired. These thoughts in addition worked like a great way to fully grasp that other people online have similar interest just like my very own to know the truth much more with regards to this matter. I think there are a lot more pleasant moments ahead for individuals who examine your site.

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    January 21, 2021 at 1:24 am | Reply
  35. Jefferey Benjamen

    You seem to have a lot of confidense in the things you do. Nice post also! Keep it up!

    http://yourmatrixcashmachine.com

    January 12, 2021 at 2:03 am | Reply
  36. Leonel Zabielski

    Hello, you used to write fantastic, but the last few posts have been kinda boring… I miss your super writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    January 11, 2021 at 12:08 am | Reply
  37. Hairstyles

    Thanks a lot for providing individuals with an extremely breathtaking chance to read from this web site. It's usually very terrific and packed with fun for me personally and my office fellow workers to search your blog a minimum of three times in one week to study the new issues you have got. And of course, I'm just always pleased concerning the excellent thoughts you serve. Selected 2 tips in this posting are undoubtedly the most impressive we have had.

    https://www.hairstylesvip.com

    December 26, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Reply
  38. Paddle App

    It's funny I don't care if the NSA listens in on my phone calls I don't care if they listen in on my text messages. I'm not doing anything wrong so I don't care .

    June 10, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Reply
  39. Sheena

    It was stupid in this day and age, maybe it was more like one woman at a time for him. When the pine cones open all the way, you can remove the seeds to plant and grow more trees from.
    Sheena http://cort.as/7e97

    February 6, 2014 at 4:52 am | Reply
  40. mike

    They better be spying on them as well or the citizens of the US have a great class action suit against the government.

    January 9, 2014 at 6:19 pm | Reply
  41. Random

    So this is a case where people not giving a damn about it till now is biting you .

    They already admitted that inorder to pass the patriot act and other authorizations that legalize the programs All congress and senate members were exempted .

    NO they do not spy on congress. But it is the single most valuable use of the system, to verify and hold accountable all public servants, IE all politicians, all police, all judges , prison guards , etcal.

    This is the single most valuable use for the system. This is why we should not be running pitch forks drawn demanding the thing be taken down. We just need to use it more wisely. Corruption is impossible with this system if we direct it where it needs to be.

    January 9, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  42. NJD

    Bernie asked a stupid question and got a stupid answer...

    January 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Reply
    • John Ridenhower

      The Director and a number of other general military officers have been fired for writig nasty personal emails to their mistresses.

      Wonder how those emails became public especilly when it Obama is rumored to hate the military.

      January 8, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  43. California

    NSA and the government in general has spied upon itself for decades. J Edgar is proof of this fact.

    They're even spying on the White House as we speak.

    January 7, 2014 at 11:46 am | Reply
    • Edward Snowden

      We are spying on you right now, too.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  44. Tfthuk Gdgkhk

    Native Americans do nothing Hatian Americans do less than nothing and Mexicans do gardening which is all good and fine until you relize that Mexicans don't do work in cold weather thus they are half useless. The NsA (military)outlaws protest like they did with OWS which is halarious because in no small way they (military) worked hard created OWS...

    January 6, 2014 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • mique

      Skip your meds again?

      January 8, 2014 at 9:18 am | Reply
  45. Tfthuk Gdgkhk

    There will be no force change in the US because there will be no white people to actualy do anything.

    January 6, 2014 at 10:23 am | Reply
  46. Tfthuk Gdgkhk

    But worse far worse just like it is now Israel is the happest place on Earth and the US is 100th (more or less less or more)...no one actualy makes money in israel just like it was designed.

    January 6, 2014 at 10:21 am | Reply
  47. Tfthuk Gdgkhk

    In 35 years there will be next to no/0 WHITE people in the US. Nice work Israel just like the Middle east.

    January 6, 2014 at 10:18 am | Reply
    • maggie

      in 35 years caucasians will be living in the middle east....lets send all the republicans there....they can swim in the crude to their hearts content

      January 6, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  48. Tfthuk Gdgkhk

    Cut back...thats funny the US Millitary Budget doubles every administration since WWII / Ike...Where the hell are your backpacks full of cash...

    January 6, 2014 at 10:15 am | Reply
  49. John Smith

    Who cares? If you are not doing anything illegal, you do not have to worry.

    January 5, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Reply
    • Nervous Investor

      Silly boy.

      January 6, 2014 at 5:29 am | Reply
    • RealVoiceOfReason

      Well said comrade! Stalin would be proud.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • ddavid

      Small minds, have small thoughts.

      January 9, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Reply
    • Tyler

      Its about having a bit of privacy man. You should not have to feel like you are being watched 24/7 on the internet that you pay for.

      January 10, 2014 at 8:53 am | Reply
  50. Tfthuk Gdgkhk

    the big big (-N-I-G-G-E-R) s-e-c-u-r-i-t-y agency AKA (the great digital profit N-S-A)

    January 5, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Reply
  51. Bill In STL

    Is there any doubt?

    January 5, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  52. TQERTWERTQEERT345234

    WQEQWQWEPAGE HAKED
    PGIORGBLOGCOMERWERQWERQ

    January 5, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Reply
1 2 3

Leave a Reply to Damien


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.