Glenn Greenwald reports today on how Rep.’s Morgan Griffith (R) and Alan Grayson (D) have been shafted by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) regarding their NSA scandal-related inquiries. Here’s the key passage:
On June 19, Grayson wrote to the House Intelligence Committee requesting several documents relating to media accounts about the NSA. Included among them were FISA court opinions directing the collection of telephone records for Americans, as well as documents relating to the PRISM program.
But just over four weeks later, the Chairman of the Committee, GOP Rep. Mike Rogers, wrote to Grayson informing him that his requests had been denied by a Committee “voice vote”.
In a follow-up email exchange, a staff member for Grayson wrote to the Chairman, advising him that Congressman Grayson had “discussed the committee’s decision with Ranking Member [Dutch] Ruppersberger on the floor last night, and he told the Congressman that he was unaware of any committee action on this matter.” Grayson wanted to know how a voice vote denying him access to these documents could have taken place without the knowledge of the ranking member on the Committee, and asked: “can you please share with us the recorded vote, Member-by-Member?” The reply from this Committee was as follows:
Thanks for your inquiry. The full Committee attends Business Meetings. At our July 18, 2013 Business Meeting, there were seven Democrat Members and nine Republican Members in attendance. The transcript is classified.”
And all of this is happening at the same time that HPSCI leadership is facilitating multiple damage control briefings by NSA Director GEN Keith Alexander on the Hill. When the committee charged with overseeing the NSA–HPSCI–becomes an additional shield behind which NSA is able to hide its crimes, it’s time to change both the structure and the membership selection process of HPSCI.