Sen. Bernard Sanders sent a letter Friday to NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander demanding to know whether, in its broad records collections, the secret spy agency has gathered information from members of Congress.
Judging by information that has been made public by the National Security Agency and judges who have heard cases challenging the NSA’s telephone records collection program, it seems likely that the agency has at least scooped up metadata from phone calls made or received by members of Congress.
Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent, said in his letter that he was troubled by revelations that the NSA had listened in on calls made by foreign leaders, including allies of the U.S.
“I am writing today to as you one very simple question,” Mr. Sanders said. “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.”
A White House review of the NSA’s data-gathering programs last year recommended scrapping the telephone program as it is set up right now, and instead letting phone companies store the data.
President Obama is expected to lay out his own vision in the coming weeks.