26 Senators vs. Secret National Security Law

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 28 2013 1:57 PM

26 Senators vs. Secret National Security Law

Ron Wyden stood with Rand, and now he's leading 25 fellow senators (not including Rand Paul) in challenging the government again.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Dan Roberts scoops that 26 senators, led by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, have sent a formal letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asking whether its spy programs "essentially relied for years on a secret body of law." Among the questions:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

- How long has the NSA used PATRIOT Act authorities to engage in bulk collection of Americans' records? Was this collection underway when the law was reauthorized in 2006?
- Has the NSA used USA PATRIOT Act authorities to conduct bulk collection of any other types of records pertaining to Americans, beyond phone records'?
- Has the NSA collected or made any plans to collect Americans' cell-site location data in bulk'?
- Have there been any violations of the court orders permitting this bulk collection, or of the rules governing access to these records? If so, please describe these violations.
- Please identify any specific examples of instances in which intelligence gained by reviewing phone records obtained through Section 215 bulk collection proved useful in thwarting a particular terrorist plot.

Remember that the reason Clapper made his "least untruthful statement" about domestic spying was that Wyden prodded him. The NSA's defenders (they do exist) claim that Wyden must have used some knowledge obtained in intel briefings to know what was happening, and know what Clapper could say.

Much fuss was made during the Rand Paul filibuster that the other senators who rolled in were mostly Republicans. (The only Democrat was Wyden.) This letter contains 22 Democratic signatures and four from Republicans Mark Kirk, Mike Lee, Lisa Murkowski and Dean Heller. According to Paul's office, the senator "didn’t think it went as far as it should" and wasn't comfortable signing the letter when his changes weren't adopted.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 7:36 AM The Inspiration Drought Why our science fiction needs new dreams.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.