Lawmakers: No we weren't briefed
Yesterday the president went before the cameras and announced that our lawmakers had been "fully briefed" on the government's secret, wide ranging data gathering.
But that cannot possibly be true.
Democrat Senator Dick Durbin explains that's not the way it typically works, and says he wouldn't have known how they DO work if Ron Wyden hadn't told him: "...they wouldn’t have known about the programs unless they were on an intelligence committee, attended special sessions last held in 2011 or specifically asked to be briefed " something they would only know to do if they were clued in by an colleague who was already aware."
"Durbin said he learned about the two programs himself only after requesting a briefing under “classified circumstances” after being urged to do so by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)."
Use your heads. Did Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence committee, sound like he had been "fully briefed" back in March when he questioned James Clapper about data gathering?
Wyden: “Does the NSA collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
Clapper: “No, sir. … Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.”
Durbin, FTA: "Congressional leadership and intelligence committees had access to information about the programs, he said " but the “average member” of Congress likely wouldn’t have been aware of the breadth of the telephone and Internet surveillance."
FTA: "President Obama’s explanation allows him to sound a nothing-to-see-here note that paints the programs as both prosaic and innocuous. After all, if all 535 members of Congress knew about them, how bad could they really be?"
President Obama, FTA: "These are the folks you all vote for as your representatives in Congress, and they’re being fully briefed on these programs,” said Obama. “And if, in fact … there were abuses taking place, presumably those members of Congress could raise those issues very aggressively. They’re empowered to do so.”
FTA: "But as Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) complained to Attorney General Eric Holder during a Thursday hearing, the idea that Congress has been “fully briefed” on these programs is coming as news to many of the lawmakers themselves."