Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald on Sunday chided the U.S. government for claiming it had provided “robust oversight” of the National Security Agency (NSA) even though members of Congress were forced to go to his paper to learn about secret programs that gather data on American citizens.
In an interview with ABC’s Martha Raddatz, Greenwald pointed to his Sunday Guardiancolumn that explains how “[m]embers of Congress have been repeatedly thwarted when attempting to learn basic information about the National Security Agency (NSA) and the secret FISA court which authorizes its activities.”
“We keep hearing that there’s all kinds of robust oversight by Congress,” Greenwald said, adding that lawmakers had provided “very detailed letters trying to get this information and they’re being blocked from getting it and they’ve said, and other members have said that they are forced to learn about what the NSA is doing from what they’re reading in our reporting.”
“I think the most amazing thing, one of the most amazing things in this whole episode, Martha, there is a 2011 opinion, 86 pages long from the FISA court, that ruled that much of what the NSA is doing which is spying on American citizens is both unconstitutional in violation of the Fourth Amendment and illegal, a violation of the statute,” he continued. “This opinion remains a complete secret. The FISA court has said they have no objection to having it released, but the Obama administration insists it has to be secret.”
“Both members of Congress and others have been requesting simply to read that court opinion. And the intelligence committee that is led in the House by Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), who represents the NSA district, receives all kinds cash from the defense and intelligence agencies, industries, have refused to allow them access.”