Senator Bernie Sanders Asks: Is the NSA Spying on Congress?
In a letter written to General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, on Friday, January 3, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote: “I am writing today to ask you one very simple question. Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials? ‘Spying’ would include gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business.”
Sanders began the letter by writing: “I’m deeply concerned about recent revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies are collecting enormous amounts of information about phone calls that Americans make, emails that we send, and websites that we visit. In my view, these actions are clearly unconstitutional. As U.S. District court Judge Richard Leon wrote recently, the NSA programs are ‘almost Orwellian.'”
Sanders also wrote: “Equally disturbing was to learn that the NSA has been involved in listening in on the phone calls made by government leaders of countries such as Brazil, Germany, France, Mexico and other U.S. allies.”
Senator Rand Paul To Sue NSA for Violating Fourth Amendment
According to Breitbart News, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is planning to file a class action lawsuit soon in the D.C. District Court against the National Security Agency (NSA). Paul intends to file as an individual, not as a U.S. Senator. More than 300,000 Americans have already indicated they will sign onto Paul’s suit when it is officially filed. Two prior class action lawsuits were filed in June.
The focus of the lawsuit will be how the NSA’s actions violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The lawsuit will reportedly target the NSA’s metadata program.
Rohrabacher Calls for Anti-Terrorism Cooperation With Russia
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee, is calling for closer security cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in the runup to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and said he is planning a hearing on the topic in the near future. “Whenever unarmed citizens are victims of terrorist attacks, we should stand in solidarity with their countries especially with Russia,” Rohrabacher said in a Jan. 2 statement. “Unfortunately, our own recent relations with Moscow have called into question what should be Washingtons automatic response.”
According to The Hill, Rohrabacher has long admired Russia’s “tough handling” of Islamist militants and visited the site of the 2004 terrorist assault on a school in Southern Russia that left hundreds of school children dead and has also said that closer cooperation with Russia might have prevented the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. In August he told RIA Novosti that US officials should “quit villainizing Russia and try to find a way to work with Russia” to counter threats from radical Islamists.
“Our security cooperation should be at a much higher level and much more extensive,” Rohrabacher said. “Whether it is 9/11 or the murders of Russian schoolchildren or attacks in Egypt, radical Islamic terrorists should know that the good people are standing together and will not cower when confronted with monstrous crimes against unarmed and innocent civilians.”