A briefing by Senior Intelligence Officials on surveillance programs failed to attract the attention of even half of the Senators. Senators, despite all their bluster, don’t seem to care that much about classified security programs. Many Senators, 53 to be exact, chose to leave early rather than attending the briefing.
The Senate held its last vote of the week around noon Thursday. They somehow could not find the time to attend the 2:30 meeting with James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA and other Senior officials. Clapper, Alexander and other Senior officials told the lawmakers that showed up about the classified programs to monitor millions of phone calls and broad swaths of internet activity. As of now the names of the attendees and non-attendees has not been released.
The exodus of colleagues exasperated Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca), who spent all week answering a gauntlet of questions from colleagues and media about the programs. She said ” It’s hard to get this story out. Even now we have this big briefing- we’ve got Alexander, we’ve got the FBI, we’ve got the Justice Department, we have the FISA Court there, we have Clapper there and people are leaving.” I share her exasperation, these Senators attack President Obama and his staff, then don’t show up for the briefing. Maybe they ” don’t know about the programs” because they don’t show for briefings. This was important, yet these Senators couldn’t find time to do their job. Tsk, Tsk, shame on you Senators.
Lawmakers have been quick to call for Congressional oversight but are even quicker out the door. They cannot seem to make the scheduling sacrafices to learn more of the secret details of the programs. You would think that lawmakers would sttend briefings before making votes on the subject. Apparently this is not an uncommon occurrence in Congress. Lawmakers would be better equipped to scrutinize the claims of Senior Intellegence officials if they attended briefings more regularly. Please remember that being a Senator is not a vacation, it is an important job where you represent the people. It would make sense for you to remember that.
Lawmakers often vote to approve the Intelligence Programs with only a vague of what they are authorizing. Feinstein contends that her colleagues have known about the programs from previous debates and meetings. Many Lawmakers say they didn’t know about the programs, but the evidence suggests differently. There are records of hearings, briefings and the renewal process with the FISA Court every 3 months. Something doesn’t jive.
Republicans should hope they were not the ones leaving. If they were, this just proves they don’t care about the people or the country, only about smearing President Obama and stopping his agenda. They offer nothing but cuts to normal people, scream about the defecit, yet will not raise taxes on the wealthy. Not showing up illegitimizes the Republican party. Democrats not showing up is not quite as bad, because most support the President. Those who did not support the programs and didn’t show up deserve the same fate as Republicans. This is not a come and go as you please position, this is governing tye greatest country in the world. Maybe if these lousy politicians looked at it that way we wouldnt have any scandals.