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News Link • Intelligence: Use and Abuse

Senator says NSA spying violations ‘more serious’ than admitted

• Adam Serwer, MSNBC

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Tuesday that NSA violations of court orders placing limits on surveillance had been “more serious” than the federal government has admitted.

Last Friday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted in a letter to Wyden that the NSA had violated court orders setting limits on NSA spying, acknowledging there had been a “number of compliance problems,” but that they had been disclosed to Congress and that there had been no “intentional or bad faith violations” of the orders.

Clapper previously admitted that he was being “too cute by half” when he told Wyden in an open hearing that the government wasn’t collecting Americans’ data.

Wyden and several of his colleagues spent more than a year leveling cryptic warnings about the extent of government surveillance, the breadth of which was not fully known publicly prior to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks to The Guardian and the Washington Post.

Because of Senate rules governing classification procedures, all Wyden could do was point reporters in the right direction. “I’m not allowed to tap out the truth in morse code in a way that’s consistent with Senate classification rules,” he said.


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