Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Friday asked the head of the National Security Agency to disclose whether the agency has monitored members of Congress or other elected officials.
“I am writing today to ask you one very simple question,” he wrote in a letter to NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander. “Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials? ‘Spying’ would include 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?”
Sanders proposed legislation in June that would limit the NSA’s and FBI’s domestic surveillance powers.
The bill would amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and require authorities to establish a reasonable suspicion before obtaining court approval to monitor business records related to a specific terrorism suspect.
Sens. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) have proposed similar legislation.
“I am deeply concerned about recent revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies are collecting enormous amounts of information about phone calls that Americans make, emails that we send, and websites that we visit,” Sanders wrote in his letter to Alexander. “In my view, these actions are clearly unconstitutional. As U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon wrote recently, the NSA programs are ‘almost Orwellian.'”