Congressmen Denied Access to NSA Info, Must Read News Instead (Video)

| by Michael Allen
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Members of Congress, who are supposed to be providing oversight of the National Security Agency (NSA), are reportedly being blocked by House intelligence committee leaders Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) from getting information about the NSA.

Instead, Congressmen are learning about the NSA spying program by reading news reports, according to Glenn Greenwald, of The Guardian, who originally broke the NSA spying story.

“Members of Congress, members from both political parties, actually came to us and showed us all kinds of letters and emails that they've been exchanging, in which they're trying to get the most basic information about what the NSA is doing in spying on American citizens," Greenwald told ABC’s 'This Week,' noted RawStory.com (video below).

"Morgan Griffith, Republican from Virginia, and Alan Grayson, the Democrat from Florida showed us... 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.”

According to Greenwald's column in The Guardian:

"If I can't get basic information about these programs, then I'm not able to do my job," Rep. Griffith told me.

"I know many of my constituents will ask about this when I go home," he said, referring to the August recess when many members of Congress meet with those they represent. "Now that I won't get anything until at least September, what am I supposed to tell them? How can I talk about NSA actions I can't learn anything about except from press accounts?"

Greenwald told ABC News' Martha Raddat: “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."

“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 and Dutch Ruppersberger, who represents the NSA district, receives all kinds cash from the defense and intelligence agencies, industries, have refused to allow them access," added Greenwald.

That's extraordinary to have a court opinion ruling that our government violated the Constitution and the law, but we can't read it and neither can our representatives in Congress."

Source: RawStory.com and The Guardian