Tag Archive: US Congress


 photo FamilySurvivalProtocolColliseumBannergrayscale900x338_zpsb17c85d0.jpg

…………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Some governors say they won't accept Syrian refugees
Some governors say they won’t accept Syrian refugees 02:34

Story highlights

  • “The certification requirement … is untenable and would provide no meaningful additional security for the American people,” the White House said
  • The refugee issue has emerged as a key political issue in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama on Wednesday vowed to veto a GOP-drafted bill that would suspend the program allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. until key national security agencies certify they don’t pose a security risk.

“The certification requirement at the core of H.R. 4038 is untenable and would provide no meaningful additional security for the American people, instead serving only to create significant delays and obstacles in the fulfillment of a vital program that satisfies both humanitarian and national security objectives,” the White House said in a statement.

Read More Here

……………………………………………………………………………………

Could the government shut down over refugees?

Story highlights

  • President Barack Obama and House Democrats said they would oppose a GOP-drafted bill to suspend the program allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. until key national security agencies certify they don’t pose a security risk
  • The deadline to reach a spending deal is December 11, and the refugee issue could make it more difficult to reach an accord

Washington (CNN)The “je suis Paris” mood didn’t last long in Washington.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called for a bipartisan response to the ISIS terrorist attacks in France, but President Barack Obama and House Democrats said they would oppose a GOP-drafted bill to suspend the program allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. until key national security agencies certify they don’t pose a security risk.

The White House Wednesday afternoon said Obama would veto the bill, saying the certification requirement is “untenable and would provide no meaningful additional security for the American people, instead serving only to create significant delays and obstacles in the fulfillment of a vital program that satisfies both humanitarian and national security objectives.”

White House issues veto threat over refugee bill

The battle over what to do about the program, and whether it should continue receiving federal money, could trigger what Ryan was hoping to avoid — another government shutdown.

Ryan made a rare floor speech on Wednesday arguing that the legislation the House would take up on Thursday was a reasonable response to concerns about new attacks. He distanced himself from some Republican presidential candidates who have urged that the U.S. refuse asylum for Muslim refugees.

“We will not have a religious test, only a security test,” Ryan said.

The House Republican proposal would halt the program permitting refugees fleeing war in Iraq and Syria to enter the United States until the Secretary of Homeland Security signs off that those applying to come in do not have ties to terrorism. The proposal also requires that the FBI certify that those applying to enter the U.S. have had background checks, and that federal agencies regularly report to Congress about those who were vetted.

Obama’s vocal criticism of Republicans pushing for restrictions in the refugee program seemed to deepen the divide on Capitol Hill, and even take some Democrats aback.

While traveling through Turkey and the Philippines, the President called some GOP suggestions about the program “offensive” and ripped those warning that allowing those refugees fleeing the war posed a threat.

“Apparently, they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America,” Obama said, responding to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who said he would refuse entry of a 5-year-old Syrian orphan into the United States. “At first, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of 3-year-old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me.”

Obama slams Republicans over refugee stance

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said the President’s partisan rhetoric “went over the line.”

“I haven’t called for a halt or a moratorium. So I’m sympathetic to the administration’s position here,” Flake said. “But instead of blaming people or assuming people are bigots, come out and explain what the vetting process is and I think people will feel more comfortable.”

House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul of Texas pointed out it was concerns raised by officials from the FBI and Homeland Security that prompted the legislation he drafted with Rep. Richard Hudson, R-North Carolina.

“It’s not me making this up,” McCaul said.

In its veto threat, the White House added, “No refugee is approved for travel to the United States under the current system until the full array of required security vetting measures have been completed. Thus, the substantive result sought through this draft legislation is already embedded into the program.”

Read More and Watch Video  Here

…………………………………………………………………………………….

Obama threatens to veto House Republican bill on Syrian refugees

November 19, 2015, 2:29 am 3

Syrian refugee children look from their tent during a visit by UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien to the Zaatari Refugee Camp, near Mafraq, Jordan, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

Syrian refugee children look from their tent during a visit by UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien to the Zaatari Refugee Camp, near Mafraq, Jordan, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Wednesday threatened a presidential veto of House Republican legislation aimed at increasing screenings for Syrian and Iraqi refugees before they enter the United States, calling new requirements in the bill “untenable.”

The legislation, which sets high hurdles for refugee admissions, including FBI background checks and individual sign-offs by top federal officials, “would provide no meaningful additional security for the American people, instead serving only to create significant delays and obstacles in the fulfillment of a vital program that satisfies both humanitarian and national security objectives,” the White House said.

President Barack Obama would veto the legislation if it reaches his desk, the statement concluded.

Republican leaders, eager to respond quickly to Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, had described the bill as a middle-ground approach. It institutes tough new screening requirements, but steers clear of demands from some Republicans, including presidential candidates, for religious questioning or a complete end to the US refugee program.

“This is common sense. And it’s our obligation,” Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said on the House floor ahead of the veto threat. “If the intelligence and law-enforcement community cannot certify that a person presents no threat, then they should not be allowed in.”

In the Senate, lawmakers emerging from a closed-door briefing with administration officials Wednesday night said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Republican Sen. Jeff Flake planned to introduce a bill that would restrict visas for any individual who had been in Iraq or Syria in the past five years.

 

Read More Here

 

…………………………………………………………………..

 

 

 photo FamilySurvivalProtocolColliseumBannergrayscale900x338_zpsb17c85d0.jpg

………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Emily Flake

With no obvious solution on the way from Congress, the U.S. is approaching a fiscal crisis, and it’s impossible to say when it will begin to adversely affect the economy. Unless lawmakers allow his department to borrow more money, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has warned that as of about November 3, the U.S. government will begin operating on a cash basis – something that could lead to a first-in-history default on the financial obligations of the United States.

The November 3 date, however, suggests that everything will be just fine so long as something happens by 11:59 on November 2. An announcement by the Treasury Department on Thursday, though, showed why that is manifestly not the case.

Related: What’s Really Driving the Stock Market’s Big Rebound Rally?

The Treasury sells billions of dollars in government-backed securities every week, from short-term bills to medium term notes, up to the 30-year “long bond.” Sometimes this is done to take on more debt, other times it is done as a management tool, allowing the Department to distribute the government’s obligations over different maturities as cost and need require.

 

Read More Here

 photo FamilySurvivalProtocolColliseumBannergrayscale900x338_zpsb17c85d0.jpg

………………………………………………………………………………..

 

The Freedom Caucus Makes News, but What About the Chicken Caucus?

Congress has 410 different caucuses, covering everything from algae to wine.

Wikimedia Commons

By Eric Pianin

October 23, 2015

 

When members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus meet in private, they typically discuss ways to thwart or topple their more moderate House Republican leaders or alter the rules to give rank and file members more legislative clout.

Not so for the House Chicken Caucus, which was formed this year by two lawmakers, a Democrat and a Republican, from poultry regions in California and Arkansas. Members of the caucus view their mandate as educating their colleagues and the public “about the history, contributions and issues of importance to U.S. chicken producers.”

SLIDESHOW: From Babies to Bourbon: 33 Surprising Congressional Caucuses

While just a few high profile factions within the 435-member House get much attention these days — most notably the roughly 40-member Freedom Caucus as well as the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — a myriad of other mostly obscure cliques are focused on pet policies and issues important to their constituents back home.

Those issues range from Irish affairs, cement production, cut flowers and shellfish to “financial and economic literacy,” hockey, songwriters and rock ‘n’ roll. There are caucuses for rodeos and toys, submarines and small brewers, motorcycles and sugar — and admirers of Ronald Reagan. There are groups built around regional or national issues — from the Hong Kong Caucus to the Albanian Issues Group to the Friends of Liechtenstein — and ones devoted to almost every major disease or meOR: dical disorder, from blood cancers to malaria to arthritis.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), a founding member of the House Bourbon Caucus, is ever ready to sing the praises of Kentucky’s Jim Beam and Early Times bourbon whiskey and promote the distillery industry. Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Dan Benishek (R-MI) of the Invasive Species Caucus are beating the drum to raise awareness of the dangers of the Asian Carp and other alien fish that are invading the nation’s lakes and streams.

 

 

Read More Here

 photo FamilySurvivalProtocolColliseumBannergrayscale900x338_zpsb17c85d0.jpg

………………………………………………………………………………..

Wikimedia Commons

_

Hopes are dimming that Congress will intervene to block a huge Medicare premium increase of over 50 percent for nearly a third of the 50 million elderly Americans who receive their physician care and other health services through Medicare Part D.

Republicans and Democrats are deadlocked over how to come up with roughly $10.5 billion to prevent Medicare premiums from skyrocketing for millions of seniors beginning next January. The looming increase is the result of a quirk in the law that drives up premiums for wealthier Americans and poor people with chronic medical problems in years when the Social Security Administration doesn’t approve a cost-of-living adjustment for beneficiaries.

Related: Millions Face a 50 % Medicare Premium Hike If Obama and Congress Don’t Act

While both parties are interested in doing something to reduce or avert the premium hikes, Republicans are demanding that the cost of any bailout be offset by cuts in other areas of the Medicare program, while Democrats are resisting that approach. Moreover, there is a division between House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) – a major champion of a bailout – and some Senate Democratic leaders who are less enthusiastic about the effort and how to pay for it.

“It’s a big mess,” said one Washington health care expert who is following the negotiations closely.

Negotiations may pick up later this month once the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services formally releases its official 2016 premium rates, according to a report on Thursday by the Morning Consult.

 

 

Read More Here_

US Rep. Holt, D-NJ, says he won’t seek re-electionThe Washington Times

By GEOFF MULVIHILL

Associated Press

Enlarge Photo

FILE In this Thursday, July 18, 2013 file photograph, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt listens to a question during a neighborhood meeting in a home in Trenton, N.J. On Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, Holt said he will not seek re-election in November and will retire from Congress when his term ends in January. The Democrat who represents central New Jersey’s 12th District announced his decision with an email to constituents. (AP Photo/Mel Evans,file)

Democratic U.S. Rep. Rush Holt announced Tuesday that he will not seek re-election in November and will retire from Congress when his term ends next year, meaning New Jersey will have at least three new members of the House come January.

Holt, who represents central New Jersey’s 12th District, announced his decision in an email to constituents.

“There is no hidden motive for my decision,” he wrote. “As friends who have worked with me know, I have never thought that the primary purpose of my work was re-election and I have never intended to make service in the House my entire career. For a variety of reasons, personal and professional, all of them positive and optimistic, the end of this year seems to me to be the right time to step aside and ask the voters to select the next representative.”

His email didn’t say what he would do after he leaves the House. His chief of staff said he wouldn’t be available for interviews Tuesday.

Holt, 65, holds a doctorate in physics and spent most of his career in academia – including as assistant director of Princeton University’s plasma physics laboratory – before he won a House seat in 1998.

He presents himself as a teacher and a scientist first and a politician second, and it’s not uncommon in his district to see bumper stickers that say, “My Congressman IS a rocket scientist.” When he ran for the U.S. Senate last year, his biggest campaign event was dubbed “Geek Out” and was more scholarly panel than political rally. One of his main claims to fame was beating the IBM computer Watson at “Jeopardy!”

President Barack Obama said in a statement Tuesday that the research physicist had put science – and his constituents – at the forefront during his 15 years in office.

Read More Here

Enhanced by Zemanta

breakingtheset breakingtheset·

Published on Jan 23, 2014

Abby Martin Breaks the Set on Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Worst of Congress, Georgism, a Police Abuse Round Up, and Snowden’s Q&A.
LIKE Breaking the Set @ http://fb.me/BreakingTheSet
FOLLOW Abby Martin @ http://twitter.com/AbbyMartin
EPISODE BREAKDOWN: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin remarks on fears by Iraqi officials that the al-Qaeda offshoot known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant could be gaining enough strength to attack Baghdad. Abby then calls out 6 of the most corrupt and least popular members of congress, going over some of the conflicts of interests and blatant hypocrisy that have come to characterize the 113th Congress. Abby then speaks with Scott Baker, president of Common Ground NYC about the Georgism Philosophy, and how the elimination of all taxes except a land use tax could be applied and sustained. Abby then calls attention to three recent cases of police abuse in the US, including an instance where an officer ruptured a young man’s testicle. BTS wraps up the show with an interview with David Seaman, journalist and host of the David Seaman Hour, going over Edward Snowden’s recent live online Q&A in response to Obama’s speech on the most controversial aspects of the NSA’s global spying apparatus.

Enhanced by Zemanta

ZeroHedge

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The hits just keep on coming for ObamaCare. It was less than two weeks ago that I highlighted the potential premium rate death spiral that ObamaCare faces due to the fact that only old and sick people are signing up for the program. Now it seems there are further security related concerns plaguing the site, as cyber-security expert David Kennedy recently claimed that “gaining access to 70,000 personal records of Obamacare enrollees via HealthCare.gov took about 4 minutes.”

It’s actually hard to be this incompetent if you tried. More from the Washington Times:

The man who appeared before Congress last week to explain the security pitfalls of HealthCare.gov took to Fox News on Sunday to explain just how easy it was to penetrate the website.

Hacking expert David Kennedy told Fox’s Chris Wallace that gaining access to 70,000 personal records of Obamacare enrollees via HealthCare.gov took about 4 minutes and required nothing more than a standard browser, the Daily Caller reported.

Read More Here

…..

Enhanced by Zemanta

Examiner.com

Obama promises more dictatorial action in 2014: ‘I’ve got a pen and a phone’

Barack Obama promises to bypass Congress with more executive actions.

Barack Obama promises to bypass Congress with more executive actions.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In remarks before a cabinet meeting Tuesday, President Obama promised more executive action bypassing Congress, telling those assembled he would use “a pen and a phone,” The Blaze reported.

“So Congress is going to be busy, and I’m looking forward to working with Democrats and Republicans, House members and Senate members, to try to continue to advance the economic recovery and to provide additional ladders of opportunity for everybody,” he said.

“But one of the things that I’ll be emphasizing in this meeting is the fact that we are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” he added.

Translation: Obama is set to use his executive authority to bypass Congress — again.

Obama explained further: “I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible and making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.”

But the president wasn’t finished.

Read More Here

…..

Obama: I will use my pen and phone to take on Congress

President Obama seems ready to work around Congress in 2014, telling reporters before his first Cabinet meeting of the year Tuesday that he stood ready to use two tools, a pen and a phone, to provide help for Americans.

“We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need. I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating,” the president said.

“I’ve got a phone that allows me to convene Americans from every walk of life, nonprofits, businesses, the private sector, universities to try to bring more and more Americans together around what I think is a unifying theme: making sure that this is a country where, if you work hard, you can make it,” he added.

He encouraged Congress to extend unemployment insurance and pass some form of immigration reform, and said he has plans to meet with university presidents to talk about college affordability and CEOs to talk about hiring the long-term unemployed.

The president has found himself at odds with Republicans since he was first elected in 2008. Although there has been bipartisan legislation in the past, the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives made those moments few and far between and looking for other ways to affect his agenda. Still, he said he would work with both parties and both chambers of Congress to continue the economic recovery, and he predicted “we can see a lot of improvements this year” if everyone works together.

Read More here

…..

Obama: ‘We Are Not Just Going To Be Waiting For Legislation’ To Advance Agenda

yazchattiest yazchattiest

Published on Jan 15, 2014

“We’ve got a lot to do in 2014,” President Obama said on Tuesday as he prepared to convene his first Cabinet meeting of the year. And he said he plans to get things done, with or without Congress:

“But one of the things that I’ll be emphasizing in this meeting is the fact that we are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need.

“I’ve got a pen, and — and I’ve got a phone. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.

“And I’ve got a phone that allows me to convene Americans from every walk of life — nonprofits, businesses, the private sector, universities — to try to bring more and more Americans together around what I think is a unifying theme, making sure that this is a country where if you work hard, you can make it.

“And so one of the things that I’m going to be talking to my Cabinet about is how do we use all the tools available to us, not just legislation, in order to advance a mission that I think unifies all Americans — the belief that everybody’s got a big responsibility, everybody’s got to work hard, but if you do, that you can support a family and, you know, meet the kinds of obligations that you have to yourself and your family but also to your communities and to your nation.”

Obama has declared 2014 a “year of action.” He said he’s “very pleased” that the House and Senate have agreed to a $1.1 trillion spending bill for fiscal 2014: He said the funding level “will allow us to take some important steps to provide the services and help that Americans need…to get ahead in this economy.”

He urged Congress to quickly pass the budget, as well as an extension of unemployment insurance and immigration reform. In the days ahead, Obama plans to plug manufacturing, college affordability, and opportunities for the long-term unemployed.

“So overall, the message to my cabinet — and that will be amplified in our State of the Union — is that we need all hands on deck to build on the recovery that we’re already seeing. The economy is improving, but it can be improving even faster. A lot of people are doing better than they were in the depths of the recession, but there are still a lot of folks who need help.

“And I am absolutely confident that in 2014, if we’re all working in the same direction and not worrying so much about political points but worrying much more about getting the job done, that we can see a lot of improvement this year, and people will look back on 2014 as a year in which we didn’t just turn the corner in the aggregate for the economy, but everybody started feeling a little more optimistic about our futures.”

CNS News: Obama Says He Won’t Wait for Legislation: ‘I’ve Got a Pen and I’ve Got a Phone’
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/susan…

….

Enhanced by Zemanta

MOXNEWSd0tC0M MOXNEWSd0tC0M

 

Published on Jan 13, 2014

January 12, 2014 MSNBC News

…..

White House Punishes More Firms Over Iran Sanctions

WASHINGTON — Under pressure from Congress to demonstrate that it is not easing up on sanctions on Iran’s oil sector or on its nuclear and missile programs, the Obama administration on Thursday announced an expanded list of companies and individuals that it said it would target to block their trading activities around the world.

Among the newly penalized companies is a Singapore-based firm called Mid Oil Asia, which is accused of helping the National Iranian Tanker Company make payments for services through money transfers that made no mention of the vessels that were aided, or their Iranian ownership. Another Singapore company, Singa Tankers, is accused of helping Iran make “urgent payments.” The location of both companies is notable because Singapore often prides itself on running a carefully regulated shipping and banking system.

Five companies are accused of helping Iran’s nuclear and missile program, including an Iranian firm, the Eyvaz Technic Manufacturing Company, that the United States said had procured some of the most sensitive and hard-to-build components for Iran’s nuclear centrifuges. The centrifuges are the machines that, spinning at supersonic speeds, enrich uranium; over the years the United States has sought to undermine the effort with sanctions, faulty parts and cyberattacks.

Another firm is accused of helping Iran obtain components for its heavy-water reactor facility, which officials fear will ultimately give Iran another pathway to a bomb capability, using plutonium.

The administration’s announcement of its enforcement actions appeared to be timed to set the stage for a Senate Banking Committee hearing on the Iran nuclear talks and the United States sanctions policy on Thursday morning.

Wendy R. Sherman, the senior State Department official who led the American delegation at the nuclear talks with Iran, and David S. Cohen, the senior Treasury Department official who oversees the enforcement of sanctions on Iran, testified to the panel.

The aim of the interim agreement that was reached last month in Geneva is to freeze much of Iran’s nuclear program for six months so that international negotiators can pursue a more comprehensive accord.

That interim agreement, however, has not yet formally gone into effect. Ms. Sherman said that the precise start date was being taken up in technical talks, but that the agreement should start to take effect in the next several weeks.

The interim agreement can also be extended for an additional six months by mutual consent if negotiators need more time to pursue a follow-on agreement.

Read More Here

…..

Clock ticking on Iran talks, possible further U.S. sanctions

By Tom Cohen, CNN
updated 4:39 PM EST, Mon January 13, 2014
Watch this video

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: President Obama says “now is not the time for new sanctions”
  • Iran to limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief starting January 20
  • Talks will continue on a broader deal to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons
  • A bipartisan proposal in Congress calls for imposing new conditional sanctions on Iran

Washington (CNN) — The clock is ticking on an interim nuclear deal with Iran, as well as efforts in Congress to pass new sanctions for greater leverage in global negotiations on a comprehensive accord.

Sunday’s announcement that a six-month interim agreement formally begins on January 20 means that Iran must dismantle or freeze some of its nuclear program and open it to more international inspections in return for limited relief from crippling international sanctions.

Assuming all goes as planned, further negotiations between Iran and the United States, France, Russia, China, Great Britain and Germany will seek a broader agreement intended to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Meanwhile, pro-Israel members of Congress are seeking additional sanctions against Iran that would take effect if the talks break down.

Israel considers Iran’s potential nuclear capability an existential threat, and has made clear it would attack militarily if it believed Tehran could develop such weapons of mass destruction.

The question is whether the steps Iran is taking under the interim deal will blunt or bolster the congressional push for more sanctions.

President Barack Obama warns that approving new sanctions legislation now would undermine the talks, and he has promised to veto such a measure if it came to his desk.

“Now is not time for new sanctions,” Obama told reporters on Monday.

He warned the continuing negotiations with Iran would be “difficult” and “challenging,” adding that “ultimately this is how diplomacy should work.”

A bipartisan proposal that would impose new U.S. sanctions — but put off implementing them to allow time for negotiations to continue — has the support of 59 Senators so far, a senior Senate aide told CNN last week.

According to the aide, the informal count for the measure introduced by Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois surpasses 75 votes — more than enough for the Democratic-led Senate to override the promised presidential veto.

It takes a two-thirds majority of both the House and Senate to approve a law over a president’s objection. The GOP-led House would have a much easier time of reaching that threshold.

The Obama administration argues the six-month interim deal includes sufficient safeguards in the form of new compliance verification by the U.N. nuclear energy watchdog — the International Atomic Energy Agency — to make further sanctions unnecessary at this time.

Read More Here

Iran’s nuclear scale down begins Jan. 20

U.S. hails implementation of Iran deal

Businesses benefit from Iran’s nuclear accord

…..

Enhanced by Zemanta

• Agency responds to questions from Senator Bernie Sanders

• Statement cites ‘same privacy protections as all US persons’

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. Photograph: Alison Redlich/AP

The National Security Agency on Saturday released a statement in answer to questions from a senator about whether it “has spied, or is … currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials”, in which it did not deny collecting communications from legislators of the US Congress to whom it says it is accountable.

In a letter dated 3 January, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont defined “spying” as “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”.

The agency has been at the centre of political controversy since a former contractor, Edward Snowden, released thousands of documents on its activities to media outlets including the Guardian.

In its statement, which comes as the NSA gears up for a make-or-break legislative battle over the scope of its surveillance powers, the agency pointed to “privacy protections” which it says it keeps on all Americans’ phone records.

 

Read More Here

Enhanced by Zemanta
Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
[ Back to top ]