NSA Supporter Feinstein Suddenly Concerned About the Constitution

Photo via John D. Rockefeller IV

So on March 11, 2014, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) accused the CIA of going through Senate computers for classified documents and shouted for Congress to “declare war.” Without hesitation she decried how the agency “just went and searched the [Senate Intelligence] committee’s computer” without “ask[ing] the committee or its staff” about how they got the docs in question. She went so far as to say that:

[S]he had “grave concerns” the search may have violated federal law regarding domestic spying as well as congressional oversight responsibilities under the Constitution.

“I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate. I have received neither,” she said.

Wait — Senator Feinstein is raising questions about the scope of domestic surveillance? She doesn’t like it that the intelligence agency her committee oversees went through their stuff without permission and is worried about the Constitutionality of it?

She’s pranking us, right? Can this be the same Senator Feinstein who has so zealously supported the current data collection activities of the National Security Administration — another agency her committee oversees? Where do I begin….

Jun 06, 2013: Dianne Feinstein on NSA: “It’s Called Protecting America” – Politico Pro

Jan 18, 2014: Dianne Feinstein Emerges as Defender of Spy Agencies – Los Angeles Times

On January 19′s on Meet the Press:

I think that what the president has said is that he wanted to maintain the capability of the program. That, as Chairman Rogers said, it has not been abused or misused. And it is carried out by very strictly vetted and professional people.”

“And this goes to where this metadata goes. Because the N.S.A. are professionals. They are limited in number to 22 who have access to the data. Two of them are supervisors. They are vetted. They are carefully supervised. The data goes anywhere else. How do you provide that level of supervision?”

Everyone is a professional here. There’s no reason to be upset, right?

And less than one month ago on February 19, during a question-and-answer session at a Pacific Council on International Policy dinner in Century City, CA:

“There are all kinds of things that are going on. And for some reason, the fear of our government for a bona fide reason, which is to prevent a terrorist attack, raising this kind of concern, when there are only 22 people in our country who have access to this database and every one of them is vetted,” she said.

She defended the oversight of the program, rejecting a suggestion recently made by President Obama that the data be held by telecommunications firms, as well as legislation introduced Tuesday by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for a special committee to investigate the NSA. That, she said, would duplicate existing panels.

It’s fascinating how those in power pivot when the very monsters they sooth turn around to bite them.

Skyler Mann

Skyler Mann is a founding member, Managing Editor, and biweekly podcast host at Pocket Full of Liberty. She has her BA in philosophy and works in the insurance industry, moonlighting as a political pundit. She is a self-described small-l libertarian and an advocate for pragmatism -- one's political principles do not always align with what is feasible. She's a red fish in a blue sea, residing in Stamford, CT with her son and Mr, and has a Don't Tread On Me bumper sticker. Follow her on Twitter: @sevenlayercake

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