When Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the massive surveillance programs being run by NSA, it created quite an uproar. However, the U.S. government and NSA responded by stating that the Congress has long been aware of these measures. But that’s not true since many Congress members have been refused access to information about NSA.
In the past, the members of Congress have repeatedly tried to access more information about the programs and measures undertaken by NSA. However, their attempts have most often been thwarted by the agency, which tends to divulge only bits and pieces of information when asked.
It is surprising to note that the Obama government has been vehement in defending NSA. In a statement issued after the PRISM leaks, President Obama stated, “These programs are subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate. And if there are members of Congress who feel differently, then they should speak up.”
However, this claim was debunked as soon as members, some even belonging to Obama’s own party, admitted ignorance towards most of NSA’s programs. For instance, Senator Richard Blumenthal stated, “The revelations about the magnitude, the scope and scale of these surveillance, the metadata and the invasive actions surveillance of social media Web sites were indeed revelations to me.”
That is only part of the problem. What is even more serious is that not only are most Congress members unaware of NSA’s programs, they can’t access information on it even if they try. So they are essentially made to vote for different NSA programs without ever knowing the true nature and scope of them.
This state of affairs is very alarming. If even the Congress members are helpless when it comes to NSA, it hints that the agency has become somewhat of a state within a state.
Source: The Guardian