NSA Defender Feinstein Blasts Spying on Allies

The Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman calls for “a total review of all intelligence programs”

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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a steadfast defender of the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs, said she is “totally opposed” Monday to the agency spying on allied countries.

“Unless the United States is engaged in hostilities against a country or there is an emergency need for this type of surveillance, I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers. The president should be required to approve any collection of this sort,” Feinstein said.

The NSA’s foreign spying activities have come under close scrutiny in recent days, after documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the agency had eavesdropped on the cell phones of at least 35 leaders of foreign governments, possibly including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Feinstein said “the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed” of the NSA’s policy of spying on allied leaders and that “a total review of all intelligence programs” is in order.

Feinstein said she had been informed by the White House that “collection on our allies will not continue.”

14 comments
jlgottfred1
jlgottfred1

I wrote Ms. Feinstein a letter expressing my displeasure with the NSA's surveillance of US citizens and that I felt they were a violation of the 4th Amendment only to receive a reply back from her that these programs are legal and more or less are going to continue. Now she's upset that we are spying on foreign leaders and the program needs to be reviewed.  
 
Here is here closing paragraph to me: "Again, please know that although we may not agree on this subject, your correspondence is important to me and I value your contribution to the ongoing debate about U.S. national security programs. If you have any additional comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841." 
 
How can she favor the rights of foreigners over US citizens??? When did they start having a more important vote than those of us who live here? Shut it down; shut it all down.....oh and recall, ugh, I mean call her too.

allthingsinaname
allthingsinaname

What bothers me is that she is upset over spying on foreign leaders, but not US Citizens.

She needs to go.

RickeyParkany
RickeyParkany

This moral coward is crying crocodile tears...she's as much to blame as anyone...NOT to be trusted, this Corporate wh0re. ;-} rap.

endthedrugwar
endthedrugwar

Are you kidding me Feinstein?! You voted in favor of virtually every single domestic spy law there's been, and are the NSA's biggest fan on capitol hill. You're just fine with the NSA spying on U.S. citizens but don't like them spying on europeans?! Do you have some mental disease or defect that prevents you from thinking in an even remotely logical or ethical way, or are you just a raging hypocrite who loves the big brother spy state you've helped to create as long as it's just spying on U.S. citizens and not anyone else?! You don't think the NSA should be spying on europeans, well guess what, the NSA shouldn't be spying on U.S. citizens either. How does Feinstein keep getting reelected? There have to be dozens of eligible California Democrats who would make a better senator for California than her.

donniemcbee
donniemcbee

So it's ok if the NSA spies on ALL AMERICANS, just not on foreigners?  And people wonder what is wrong in DC?

delight
delight

Why would NSA what to give any information to Fienstein an Israeli spy / mole. Her first priority is itty bitty tiney weney Benny and Israel.

PeterTerry
PeterTerry

The comprehensive review of all intelligence programs carried out by the US government should have taken place during the first year of President Obama's first term...not five years later.  There is no excuse for a Democrat elected with a strong majority not to have looked at every Federal expenditure authorized by his predecessor, and made whatever changes were needed in order to be in line with his mandate.  The more we hear about the ineptitude of our government, the more clear it becomes that this President did nothing of the kind, and that the top to bottom review that needs to happen will have to wait for the next President.  He or she should be on notice that a growing percentage of the electorate expect nothing less of whoever is elected to the office of the Presidency.  Without such a review, carried out in public, accountable to the public, involving the public, there will be no success at balancing the budget or enforcing major reforms, to education, immigration, or defense.


drudown
drudown

@PeterTerry 

What about holding the GOP predecessor FULLY ACCOUNTABLE for placing the unlawful NSA program in place? You seem quite content to ascribe President Obama's purported omission to act as if it were, what, somehow more egregious than the decision to "spy on our EU allies" and subvert the Bill of Rights via warrantless wiretaps on US citizens with ZERO judicial oversight. Sorry, not persuasive. 

How about a joint, independent audit of the NSA program by the Executive and Judicial branches of government on behalf of the People? The notion that 9/11 was the first time warrantless wiretapping was purportedly "justified" is a farce. There is ample case law expressly holding it is per se UNCONSTITUTIONAL. See, Scott v. United States (1978) 436 U.S. 128 ("every wiretap must be conducted in such a way as to minimize the interception of communications not otherwise subject to interception"). 

How is can the NSA seize such a vast amount of data, records and privileged communications in blatant disregard of precedent and the EXPRESS language of the 4th Amendment…with ZERO probable cause and ZERO limitations on course and scope of the intrusion?

"Wiretapping is a dirty business." - Chief Justice Taft

investor
investor

@drudown The ones who should be FULLY ACCOUNABLE are the ones who PERMITTED this scandal to CONTINUE, beyond the previous Administration.  Senator Feinstein is particularly responsible as the chairperson. She even states now that spying activities on Allies will NOT continue, admitting indirectly that they happened in the past. Two things may have happened.  Either she did not know what  NSA was doing, in which case she failed to perform her duties adequately. Or, she had full knowledge of what was happening and that is why she attacked the revelations of Snowden so vehemently.  In either case, any self-respecting politician would tender her resignation. The damage that she has caused to our relations with our closest Allies far exceeds the damage caused by Snowden.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@investor  "The ones who should be FULLY ACCOUNABLE are the ones who PERMITTED this scandal to CONTINUE, beyond the previous Administration."

There's plenty of accountability to go around. Senator Barack Obama provided the deciding vote to enact the FISA program that liberals knew lacked sufficient oversight would probably be abused. Certain centrist establishment voices *Joe* *cough* *Klein* shilled for the program at the behest of right-wing-authoritarian types like Pete Hoekstra. All accused the liberals, like Glenn Greenwald, who were proved correct (again) as being overly hysterical about the risks of going down the NSA road. Plenty of accountability to go around.

donniemcbee
donniemcbee

@drudown @investor Yes the Bush should be held responsible, BUT Obama who was going to have the most transparent government in history is the one in charge now!  He is the one who let this go on for 5 years, and it is still going on!  So I say we start with the one who is currently doing it, then move our way back to prosecute the rest!