Is the NSA spying on Sen. Mark Udall?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Senator Mark Udall has been one of the most consistent critics of the NSA and CIA over the NSA's spying, the CIA's torture policies, and various other national security issues. This is a good thing and anyone would agree it's difficult to criticize a National Security Establishment that is more costly and more powerful than ever, and that has quite obviously abused its funds and power against the very citizens it seeks to protect.

All this power, money and sophisticated technology has done very little for our national security, as President Obama's review panel recently found the NSA did not stop any terror attacks while using these vast, unchecked resources.

As a further response to the many stories of NSA spying overreach and incompetence, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont decided to ask another key question.

Is the NSA spying on congress?

"Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials?” Sanders asked in a letter to Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director. “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?”

Now, the NSA has been known to lie before. Its Director, Keith Alexander, most likely lied to Congress about its phone tapping capabilities, which is a felony.

So, we might be wary of the agency's pledge to be fully open with congress on the matter. And what of the non-denial non-denial in response to Bernie:

Responding to a letter from Sen. Bernie Sanders about whether the National Security Agency spies on Congress, the organization issued a statement Saturday saying its data-collection procedures protect people’s privacy — but the agency did not answer directly Sanders’ question.

“NSA’s authorities to collect signals intelligence data include procedures that protect the privacy of U.S. persons,” the agency said in an email to the Burlington Free Press and other media outlets. “Such protections are built into and cut across the entire process. Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons.”

Senator Sanders will almost surely not accept this tepid answer from our nation's top spies. Mark Udall has been very critical of these same people. Knowing the number and types of spying they have engaged in, I wouldn't be surprised to learn they are also listening in on what members of congress are saying about their jobs and responsibilities, especially those members who are most critical. 

Udall has been right to challenge the actions of these agencies that have been largely unaccountable to the American people. He should not let up now, especially went it looks like the NSA has been spying on the very people that would hold them accountable for their abuses of the Constitution and their documented incompetence.

No, it's not an easy job, but I'll support him on this.


About Zappatero

Just a guy with a keyboard trying to get CO's Dems to support key Democratic and Progressive policies.

6 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    What a silly headline.

    The NSA spies on everyone.


    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      True. And that creates a great temptation to use harvested info for reasons other than "keeping us safe". Political reasons, for instance. Like in the good old J Edgar days.

      In light of all the red flags that should have been raised just in the ordinary way of things leading up to the Boston Marathon, including direct warnings from the Russians, along with other incidents, I have trouble believing that the trade off is really keeping us all that much safer. Even if it is, we're supposed to be the damn home of the brave, land of the free, yadayadayada. That means we should be prepared to accept a certain amount of risk in order to maintain our guaranteed rights. We're not supposed to be willing to become a police state because the world is a scary place. We're supposed to be tougher than that.

      The more Mark Udall stands up against NSA spying and government sponsored torture, the more I'll feel inclined to support him strongly and not just because he's a Dem and therefore preferable to any R.

  2. Ralphie says:

    Dusting off my tinfoil hat…

  3. ZappateroZappatero says:


     …The problem with this is even more acute than just the clear violation of the constitution by doing any of this stuff without probable cause. It's the idea that the executive branch is using surveillance on the legislative branch which, last I heard, was equal to the executive. It's constitutionally very dicey to do this. In fact,  it's a clear cut violation.

    And they don't have to actually be doing it to chill the sort of adversarial inquiry that might make for some unpleasantness down at Star Fleet headquarters, do they?

    All they have to do is leave the question open: every legislator with any brains will know that their conversations, political, partisan or otherwise, might find their way to places they might not want it to end up

    The point is that even the possibility that the NSA is spying on another branch of government is cause for alarm. And unfortunately, they are not denying it, which means that the implied threat is very much in effect.


  4. If we were spying on you, we'd protect your privacy while doing so, Senator.


  5. ZappateroZappatero says:

    More on the NSA's history of spying on congress.

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