The Young Turks highlighted the about-face senators made Tuesday when they learned intelligence agencies had been spying on them.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has been a staunch defender of domestic surveillance programs that target ordinary Americans, but she delivered a speech Tuesday on the Senate floor accusing the CIA of compromising the legislative branch’s oversight role.
But Young Turks host Cenk Uygur noted that Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Community, had made numerous statements defending the same practices as necessary to prevent catastrophe when they were used against ordinary citizens.
“She loves the NSA, she believes it is very important that they spy in on average Americans when we found out through Edward Snowden’s revelations that they had actually been spying in on 300 million Americans and finding the metadata from our phone calls, finding out who we called, when we called them, etc., and by the way, rummaging through our emails and our online searches, etc.,” Uygur said. “There was one person who was absolutely sure that NSA spying and government spying overall was the right thing to do – that was Dianne Feinstein.”
But the Democratic senator changed her tune when she learned the CIA had apparently monitored senators and their offices during investigation into waterboarding and other torture programs, accusing legislative aides of illegally obtaining information about the probes.
“All of a sudden, shoe, meet other foot,” Uygur said. “Dianne Feinstein says, ‘What? Are you telling me that, like, because we were doing an investigation of you that you would call us criminals? And you were spying in on us?’”
Uygur blasted lawmakers for ignoring constitutional concerns when ordinary Americans were targeted by domestic surveillance.
“All of a sudden, it turns out that intelligence agencies might be violating the Constitution,” Uygur said. “Now you remember earlier, Dianne Feinstein was saying, ‘There’s very big bombs out there.’ I mean, they had to violate your rights in the Constitution because of the malevolence out there. Now when it’s their rights being violated, their privacy being violated, ‘I just – what is this? I picked up a Constitution, (and) it turns out what they’re doing is outrageous!’”
He said it was deeply ironic for Feinstein and other senators to accuse Snowden and others of criminal actions for their revelations of domestic surveillance programs and other questionable government practices.
“It’s OK when you run roughshod over regular Americans, but if you touch the powerful, that is an issue of the separation of powers – how dare you!” Uygur said.
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