Members of Congress are not very content with the flow of information that reaches their ears concerning the pervasive surveillance activities of the United States intelligence apparatus.
Following remarks from Senator Bob Corker that Congress often learns more from newspapers than their briefings on the National Security Agency and its cohorts, Rep. Amash blasted Congressional intelligence committees as complicit in hiding information, essentially “working with the executive branch against the interests of Congress.”
As quoted in The Hill, Rep. Amash called Intelligence committees not “friends of Congress but [instead] the opponents of Congress.”
Explaining what it was like to work with intelligence officials who are reticent to disclose information, even to the branch that is tasked with their oversight: “You don’t have any idea what kind of things are going on. So you have to start just spitting off random questions. Does the government have a moon base? Does the government have a talking bear?”
What this means is that the more information that members of Congress have going into those meetings, the better they can press for answers. Rep. Amash continued to say as much. The implication therefore is that the information that Edward Snowden leaked is providing Congress with the tools they need to execute their oversight.
As far as I can tell, oversight of the United States intelligence agencies is a farce. Those in favor of its activities obfuscate and lie, while those who wish to vet its activities are occasionally physically harassed or detained.
A final detail for flavor: Rep. Amash previously accused Rep. Rogers of withholding documents relating to the NSA’s activities from being distributed with Congress. This kept an entire new class of Representatives in the dark. Oversight!
Top Image Credit: Mark Taylor