Beltway Confidential

Justin Amash: Without Edward Snowden, Congress would not have known about NSA spy programs

By |
Beltway Confidential,Fox News,ABC,NSA,Ashe Schow,Edward Snowden,Analysis

Forget about the American people not knowing about the National Security Agency’s metadata collection programs, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., says that if it were not for Edward Snowden, “members of Congress would not have really known about it.” That’s right, the people elected to represent America, to be a link to the government, wouldn’t have known that the NSA was spying on citizens were it not for Snowden.

Amash, speaking with Fox News’s Christopher Wallace on Sunday, objected to claims by proponents of the NSA program that members of Congress knew what was going on.

“There are allegations that this information was given to Congress,” Amash said. “But members of Congress were not really aware on the whole about what these programs were being used for, the extent to which they were being used. Members of the intelligence committee were told, but members who are rank-and-file members really didn’t have the information.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., one such proponent of the NSA, told ABC’s Martha Raddatz Sunday that members of Congress “that are most critical publicly ask the least amount of questions privately.” King said that Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, and his staff have answered every question asked by congressmen, and that “Anyone who says that congress is somehow being stonewalled is just wrong and is generally, I think, raised by people who are trying to make a name for themselves.”

Amash reiterated his stance that the Fourth Amendment protects American’s from the kind of data collection that the NSA was engaged in, saying “The framers of the Constitution put it in place precisely because they were worried that you would have national security justifications for violating people’s rights. They weren’t worried that the government was going to say ‘well, we want to come into your home to host a nice dinner party’ or ‘we want your papers because we want to find some recipes.’”

View article comments Leave a comment