I have an op-ed over at National Memo, explaining why we must blame Congress for the NSA’s surveillance.
Rather than challenging the administration’s authority to secretly interpret and enact laws, however, Congress instead twice authorized them to keep everything a secret. Last year, Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tried to prohibit secret legal rulings. He got voted down. That same year Senator Jeff Merkley, also a Democrat, added his own amendment to the renewal of the 2008 wiretapping law. His amendment was voted down by a strong margin in both parties.
So this latest outcry over expansive surveillance is really the culmination of over a decade of lawmaking. All three branches of government – the court order was approved by a FISA court – and both parties, in two administrations, have agreed consistently to enable and protect the practice.
Go read the whole thing over at National Memo.