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Our U.S. Sen. Mike Lee has taken a public stand questioning the surveillance habits of the National Security Agency (NSA), and I say, "Thank you!" With Lee and 25 other senators signing, the group sent a letter June 28 to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, objecting to the use of classified legal interpretations of the Patriot Act and trying to find out if NSA is violating the Fourth Amendment. To the senators, I say, "What took you so long?"

Former NSA contractor Ed Snowden isn't mentioned in the letter, but he's the one who sparked all this. He left the country May 20 with a message to the public: "Be aware. NSA is violating your rights." Silly me, I thought Congress would send a delegation to Hong Kong to debrief Snowden. Instead, Congress closed ranks and branded Snowden a "traitor." Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein proclaimed her committee's oversight of NSA was "rigorous," and all Americans' rights are fully protected.

Rigorous? Clapper has now issued a public apology for outright lying to Feinstein's committee in March when he testified under oath that the NSA "does not collect data on hundreds of millions of Americans." So who's the "traitor" here, Snowden or Clapper? And who's the fool, Congress or Congress?

Elaine Douglass


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