Beltway Confidential

Justin Amash on latest NSA scandal: 'This is what happens when you have secret laws'

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Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., an ardent opponent of the National Security Agency's bulk private-data collection program, said the latest revelations in the controversy came because "this is what happens when you have secret laws."

Amash's comment appeared on his Facebook page and Twitter, condemning the NSA for, as reported by the Washington Post, violating privacy rules thousands of times and "accidentally" targeted Americans, something supporters of the program claim didn't happen.

"This is what happens when you have secret laws, no meaningful oversight, and people in charge who think the Constitution wasn't written for them," Amash wrote. "There are good people working in the intelligence community, but the culture is broken because of the failed leadership of Democrats and Republicans in Washington."

President Obama announced modest reforms of the NSA data collection program during his Aug. 9, 2013, news conference that was intended to calm the furor. During his opening statement at the news conference, Obama claimed, "if you look at the reports, even the disclosures that Mr. Snowden has put forward, all the stories that have been written, what you're not reading about is the government actually abusing these programs and, you know, listening in on people's phone calls or inappropriately reading people's e-mails."

Turns out he was wrong.

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