Sen. Merkley Skipped Briefing on NSA Surveillance Program

Thursday, 13 Jun 2013 12:41 PM

By Courtney Coren

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, who has led criticism of the Obama administration for keeping Congress in the dark about National Security Agency surveillance, last year skipped a briefing where he would have learned about the program.

The meeting was Nov. 27 on Capitol Hill with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; Lisa Monaco, then-National Security Division chief at the Justice Department; Bob Litt, general counsel for the director of national intelligence; and Rajesh De, NSA general counsel, BuzzFeed reports.

Two other senators, Merkley's fellow Oregonian Ron Wyden and Colorado's Mark Udall, attended the briefing. The three Democrats had requested the meeting together.

The purpose of the meeting was to brief the senators on how the government was using Section 702, which is the legal provision that the NSA used to create the PRISM surveillance program that was leaked to journalists last week by technology consultant Edward Snowden.

However, an unidentified source told BuzzFeed that Merkley left the meeting early because of a scheduled appearance on MSNBC's "HardballWith Chris Matthews."

During an appearance last week on MSNBC, Merkley responded to President Barack Obama's charge that the NSA surveillance program is something that Congress not only discussed, but authorized.

Story continues below video.

 

Merkley said he "had no idea about" PRISM.

"I don't know how many people knew about it in Congress, but I suspect a very small number on the intelligence committees," the first-term senator said. "And so when the president says all — I think he said all members of Congress, or full disclosure to all your members — I think very small number of senators and congressmen have full details on these programs."

"I certainly never heard of it," he said in a separate appearance on the same network. "I doubt that more than the intelligence committee would have known about that."

Merkley's office admitted that he had missed the meeting, but said he is still disturbed by the activities of the NSA.

"Sen. Merkley is deeply concerned about the privacy of American citizens and the scope of government data collection, and has sought out various information in that regard," a Merkley spokesman said. "In this case, Sen. Merkley thought the meeting would be on an area that he had already been briefed on, and when conflicts arose he missed the meeting."

Another aide told BuzzFeed that "there was no reason for the senator to believe this was going to be a meeting about this new wide-ranging surveillance program."

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Jim Gilmore: Obama Should Appoint a Real Ebola Czar

Monday, 20 Oct 2014 19:40 PM

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore says President Barack Obama should immediately pull his choice of Ron Klain as the nati . . .

Sen. Marco Rubio Will Propose Ebola Travel Ban

Monday, 20 Oct 2014 19:20 PM

With calls increasing for a ban on travel to the United States from countries ravaged by the Ebola virus, Florida Republ . . .

Apple's Profit Bulges on IPhone, Mac Sales; IPad Sales Fall

Monday, 20 Oct 2014 18:43 PM

Apple Inc. forecast a strong holiday quarter after a better-than-expected 16 percent jump in iPhone sales, and the stron . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved