More than half of the U.S. Senate neglected to attend a Thursday briefing meant to specifically address concerns about recently revealed National Security Agency programs.
Only 47 of 100 senators attended the briefing. It was scheduled in response to lawmakers who claimed they had not been briefed on the NSA’s surveillance programs.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made a point of recessing the Senate for an hour on Thursday, saying it was so no one would have an excuse for missing the briefing.
"For senators to complain that, 'I didn't know this was happening,' we've had many, many meetings that have been both classified and unclassified that members have been invited to," Reid told reporters.
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Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein was clearly frustrated by the lack of attendance.
"We have discussed this, we have voted on this in committee, on the floor," Feinstein said. "People should go out and see how the program is set up, see how it's conducted, ask questions, come to the briefings. It's hard to get this story out. Even now we have this big briefing — we've got Alexander, we've got the FBI, we've got the Justice Department, we have the FISA Court there, we have Clapper there — and people are leaving."