Shameful: Senators Ditch Classified Briefing On NSA Snooping For Flight Home

Senior intelligence officials were to provide a detailed briefing on NSA’s surveillance programs, but they failed to garner the attention of even half of the United States Senate. Did senators have something more important to do? No, they just needed to catch their flights back home.

The Hill reports:

Many senators elected to leave Washington early Thursday afternoon instead of attending a briefing with James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, Keith Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency (NSA), and other officials.

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The Senate held its last vote of the week a little after noon on Thursday, and many lawmakers were eager to take advantage of the short day and head back to their home states for Father’s Day weekend.
Only 47 of 100 senators attended the 2:30 briefing, leaving dozens of chairs in the secure meeting room empty as Clapper, Alexander and other senior officials told lawmakers about classified programs to monitor millions of telephone calls and broad swaths of Internet activity. The room on the lower level of the Capitol Visitor Center is large enough to fit the entire Senate membership, according to a Senate aide. 

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The Hill was not provided the names of who did, and who didn’t, attend the briefing.

Ironically, it was gun grabbing Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wondering why senators weren’t staying. “It’s hard to get this story out. Even now we have this big briefing — we’ve got Alexander, we’ve got the FBI, we’ve got the Justice Department, we have the FISA Court there, we have Clapper there — and people are leaving.”

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who has been a top critic of the surveillance programs, was one senator spotted leaving the briefing.

This is one of the most important challenges to individual liberties and over half of the senators are AWOL, not caring about the details of what is Big Brother in our land.

Additionally, the briefing included the former chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court and Sean Joyce, the deputy director of the FBI.

Rick Moran asks a very poignant question that he would have liked to ask in the briefing. “I would have asked the judge why there have been 39,000 requests for secret warrants since 1979 and only 11 had been declined.”

Danielle Pletka, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said “If members were more diligent about attending briefings they would be far better informed about what’s going on, and they would also be far more willing to challenge the intelligence community on the conclusions that they come to.”

“The truth is that members always come in at the end of the game, and as a result they take as gospel the assessments that they receive from the intelligence community,” she added.

While Alexander has claimed that the surveillance has helped to thwart dozens of terrorist attacks, one has to ask, has it been done according to the law?

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) was in the NSA briefing and says it is an example of big government not working. He told Greta van Susteren, “The more we centralize the power, the more we bring the money to Washington, the worse the country goes.”

Scott said “checks and balances” and needing to “keep this administration in check,” is important to getting a handle on the growth of the Federal government.

I agree, but the problem is that we continue to see the Obama administration doing whatever it wants to do and no one is stopping them from doing it. The NSA scandal, among others seems to be to be a high crime and a treasonous violation of the Constitution and attack on the American people. The IRS scandal and the DOJ’s snooping into reporters’ emails and such seem to line up along those same lines. Benghazi and Fast and Furious are, at the least, an example of losing faith with the people and any honorable man would step aside, but we aren’t dealing with honorable men here. Therefore, we need honorable men to hold them accountable.

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