Now that they know the NSA is spying on them, Congress is really worried about domestic surveillance

It's not just Rep Pete Hoekstra [R-MI] who switched sides in the surveillance debate when he discovered that his beloved NSA had been spying on him -- a whole raft of Congressional NSA cheerleaders have followed the path that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the entire UK Parliament blazed when they learned that, as far as spies were concerned, no one was exempt.

The House Intelligence Committee -- formerly a world-beating rubber-stamp factory -- is now considering "new safeguards" for the NSA when it wants to spy on Americans, especially elected officials (us filthy, untrustworthy foreigners are still fair game, of course).

Tim Cushing calls this "small batch surveillance reform." It's chief proponent is House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, [R-CA] who, as spent most of 2015 trying to remove oversight from the NSA, cock-blocking the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and flapping his hands wildly, predicting doom if Congress stopped authorizing the NSA to wiretap every phone in the country.

The Office of the Director of the National Intelligence further clarified the proposed changes discussed during the closed-door briefing by declining to comment on the "classified" proceedings.

One thing is clear, though. Changes will be happening, presumably to further protect the content of legislators' phone calls from the NSA, or at the very least, toughen up minimization procedures. The official statement from the Committee appends "all Americans" after an ellipsis ("explore whether any additional safeguards are necessary when it comes to incidental collection—not only for members of Congress... but for all Americans") so the smart money is on trickle-down surveillance protection. Presumably, we'll all be apprised of any additional protections on a need-to-know basis.

After Spending Time As Surveillance Subjects, Intelligence Oversight Committee Suddenly Performing Some Oversight [Tim Cushing/Techdirt]

Notable Replies

  1. So happy to hear this! Welcome, honorable members of Congress, to the mess you created.

  2. tropo says:

    Call me when Feinstein is on board.

  3. Hopefully things will change to scale back domestic spying on everyone. Not just scale back domestic spying on the elite.

  4. I was relatively happy to be living in a country where the political classes weren't too dumb to realise that they were probably being 'monitored' by their own state. After all, we had the guys who'd written 1984 and tinker tailor and stuff. So it's a bit sad to see that only now are the UK's MPs making a fuss.

    I now console myself with the thought that they aren't really that stupid but instead believe they must put on an act, high in dudgeon, because they think the rest of us are.

  5. And f@#$ing Feinstein who never met any State Surveillance she didn't like until she got a whiff they might have spied on her and went nuclear. Plus since she's a D and the R's here self-destructed even earlier we can't vote her out.

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