The admission is hardly surprising, but expect lawmakers to feign outrage anyway.
By Dustin Volz
February 4, 2014
The National Security Agency “probably” collects phone records of members of Congress and their staffs, a senior Justice Department official conceded Tuesday.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole buckled under questioning from multiple lawmakers during a House Judiciary Committee hearing reviewing proposals to reform the NSA’s surveillance activity.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, began by asking Peter Swire, a member of the president’s handpicked surveillance review board, whether lawmakers’ numbers are included in the agency’s phone-records sweeps. Swire protested that he was not a government official and couldn’t best answer the question, but said he was unaware of any mechanism that “scrubbed out” member phone numbers from the agency’s data haul.
Lofgren’s time expired and Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, then put the question to Cole.
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