Senate Democrats warn reported NSA privacy violations only 'the tip of a larger iceberg'

Sens. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallThe 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Democratic presidential race comes into sharp focus Democrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump MORE (D-Colo.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenFrustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal On The Money: Unemployment benefits to expire as coronavirus talks deadlock | Meadows, Pelosi trade criticism on stalled stimulus talks | Coronavirus recession hits Social Security, Medicare, highway funding Unemployment benefits to expire as coronavirus talks deadlock MORE (D-Ore.) warned Friday that recent revelations of privacy violations by the National Security Agency (NSA) were “just the tip of a larger iceberg.” 

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On Thursday, The Washington Post published an internal NSA audit and other documents leaked by Edward Snowden that showed the NSA had broken its own privacy rules thousands of times since 2008.

Udall and Wyden, who both sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a joint statement that the new leak vindicated past claims that “violations of [privacy] laws and rules were more serious than had been acknowledged.” 

They implied, however, that privacy violations when far further than was revealed Thursday.

“While Senate rules prohibit us from confirming or denying some of the details in today’s press reports, the American people have a right to know more details about the scope and severity of these violations,” they said.

The senators urged the Obama administration to release additional information about the nature of government surveillance and possible violations of the law. 

They also called for greater transparency in the operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and for the appointment of a public advocate to contest executive branch claims made before the court. In a press conference last week, President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill's Campaign Report: What to watch for in Tuesday's primaries Obama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements Red flags fly high, but Trump ignores them MORE promised to create such an advocate.