Senators warn of ‘blind spots’ in NSA oversight

Documents released last week indicate that the NSA violated privacy protections surrounding the phone data bulk collection programs.

“These documents also show that the government repeatedly made serious misrepresentations to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when seeking authorization to conduct this bulk collection,” Wyden and Udall said in a statement.

Congress and the American public should be questioning the programs “if the assertion that ineptitude and not malice was the cause of these ongoing violations,” Wyden and Udall said. “The fact that this program was allowed to operate this way raises serious concerns about the potential for blind spots in the NSA’s surveillance programs.”

Wyden and Udall, who are among the fiercest critics of NSA surveillance, said it’s time for lawmakers and the public to question the effectiveness of the programs and the officials running them.

“It is up to Congress, the courts and the public to ask the tough questions and require intelligence officials to back their assertions up with actual evidence. It is not enough to simply defer to these officials’ conclusions without challenging them.”