Nadler Walks It Back

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) is walking back his contention made in a public hearing with FBI Director Robert Mueller that he was told in a classified briefing that the NSA listens in on our phone conversations without a warrant from the FISA Court.

In the exchange, Nadler asks Mueller if they can listen in without a warrant, and Mueller says no.  Nadler asks if that is classified information, and Mueller says no.  Nadler then says that if Mueller’s answer isn’t classified, Nadler can then say that he was told the opposite in a classified briefing.  I’m not sure that’s correct.  Mueller may have been lying because he was put on the spot in a public hearing when asked by a Congressman who had opposite, classified information, just as happened to DNI James Clapper when questioned by Sen. Ron Wyden.  I think they think it’s okay to lie under those circumstances because if they told the truth, they’d be revealing classified info.  So they think they’re lying for national security reasons.

Nadler may have been told to back off or face getting into trouble for revealing classified info at a public hearing.  Note that he did something different from Wyden.  Nadler explicitly stated that he’d been told the opposite at a classified briefing.  Wyden simply asked the question if the government was collecting data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.  He didn’t argue with Clapper when Clapper denied it, but Clapper knew that Wyden knew the truth from his classified briefings.  Clapper knew that Wyden set him up to either lie or reveal classified information.

So now there’s an effort to discredit the CNET story about Nadler and warrantless eavesdropping, but I’m not convinced the story is wrong.  I’m more convinced pressure has been applied to Nadler to STFU.

They’re Not Getting Warrants!

It seems Edward Snowden wasn’t exaggerating when he said he could access the contents of anybody’s communications.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) says he learned during a classified briefing that the NSA isn’t getting warrants to listen to our phone calls, and by extension to reading our emails and texts.  He was told that low-level analysts can make that decision.

For more, see “NSA admits listening to U. S. phone calls without warrants,” Declan McCullagh, CNET News.

Note that Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo is questioning the accuracy of this story.  But Marshall seems to be relying on an unclassified briefing (he uses video from C-Span), whereas Nadler is referring to a classified briefing.