The NSA responded today to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ letter asking if the agency spies on members of the U.S. Congress and other elected officials. Its response says the NSA treats Congress the same as regular citizens. Which seems like a roundabout way of saying “yes.”
Here’s the exact wording of the statement, courtesy The Guardian:
NSA’s authorities to collect signals intelligence data include procedures that protect the privacy of US persons. Such protections are built into and cut across the entire process. Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all US persons. NSA is fully committed to transparency with Congress.
Does this mean that members of Congress might be using hacked iPhones or other devices with NSA backdoors? The NSA sure isn’t going out of its way to say anything to the contrary. Meanwhile, the agency’s (most likely illegal) phone records collection program just got a 90-day extension from James Clapper, director of national intelligence. Knowing that Congress is likely being spied on too is very, very small solace. [The Guardian]