Senator Bernie Sanders Asks NSA If It Spies On Congress

Tyler Durden's picture

The real life magic-mushroom, banana dictatorship envisioned by George Orwell just went full retard.

From VT Senator Bernie Sanders:

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today asked the National Security Agency director whether the agency has monitored the phone calls, emails and Internet traffic of members of Congress and other elected officials.


Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials?” Sanders asked in a letter to Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director. “Spying” would include gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business?”


Sanders said he was “deeply concerned” by revelations that American intelligence agencies harvested records of phone calls, emails and web activity by millions of innocent Americans without any reason to even suspect involvement in illegal activities. He also cited reports that the United States eavesdropped on the leaders of Germany, Mexico, Brazil and other allies.


Sanders emphasized that the United States “must be vigilant and aggressive in protecting the American people from the very real danger of terrorist attacks,” but he cited U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s recent ruling that indiscriminate dragnets by the NSA were probably unconstitutional and “almost Orwellian.”


Sanders has introduced legislation to put strict limits on sweeping powers used by the National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation to secretly track telephone calls by millions of innocent Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.


The measure would put limits on records that may be searched. Authorities would be required to establish a reasonable suspicion, based on specific information, in order to secure court approval to monitor business records related to a specific terrorism suspect. Sanders’ bill also would put an end to open-ended court orders that have resulted in wholesale data mining by the NSA and FBI. Instead, the government would be required to provide reasonable suspicion to justify searches for each record or document that it wants to examine.

Uhm... yes?


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max2205's picture

Of course they do you dumb motherfucker ...aca wouldnt have paased without them


And look at all the generals fired....gezzzxx what a moron

nope-1004's picture

His request can be translated as:  "Holy crap.  Do they know about my dirty closet?  I better ask......"


pods's picture

What an idiot Sanders is.

So by his big bad letter on offical letterhead he thinks they might actually tell him something?

What if they say no?  Is there any way that he can verify that?  Of course not.
And since Keith is a KNOWN liar, why would he believe anything in response to his question?

Plain and simple, this is a setup for OUR consumption.


jbvtme's picture

trolling for votes. vermont is loaded with well worn antiques masquerading as politicians

BaBaBouy's picture

YEAH, Everybody SO HONEST...

Obama’s Half-Brother ‘Floored’ About President’s Lying About Meeting Him By Andrew Johnson January 2, 2014 4:57 PM

Mark Obama Ndesandjo said he was surprised to hear his half-brother President Barack Obama say they had only recently met for the first time. “I was floored by it — I don’t know why he said it,” Ndesandjo said to Laura Ingraham, adding that he had met the president several times over the years and still isn’t sure what his motivation was for making the claim. “I think he was being president and was not being my brother,” Ndesandjo said. From their first meeting, which took place in the 1980s in Kenya, where he lived as an American ex-pat, Ndesandjo? said both he and the president had different views: Ndesandjo was trying to distance himself from his father and his father’s name, while Obama was looking to further embrace his father’s roots. When Ingraham pointed out that Obama doesn’t spend very much time with his extended family and seems to prefer the company of celebrities such as Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Ndesandjo said she “had a point.” Ndesandjo, who has a book coming out in February, said ultimately that he isn’t very political and tends to focus on “the art side.”

Stackers's picture

Now our "freedoms" are being protected by the one sitting member of the socialist party of america......

ronaldawg's picture

My guess is that they won't answer - at least directly. 

If the answer is "No" - here comes Snowden to trickle the information out again - and they are caught in big fat lie.

Good move on Bernie's part.  Let's see if there is any follow through.

Bangin7GramRocks's picture

You are so right on this. Sanders served up a meatball for Snowden to crush it out of the park. The day after the NSA categorically denies, Snowden releases documents proving a lie. Of course, nothing will happen and few Americans will care, but it will be fucking hilarious!

Gen. Keith Alexander's picture

We categorically do not not spy on Congress.

Five8Charlie's picture

Thanks. I certainly feel better now.



Dr. No's picture

Well, if they did spy on CONgress, it would be the one time there was acutal probable cause.  I mean not a day goes by in that place a criminal is up to no good.

Newsboy's picture

This letter is a strategic move, and a good one.

It creates discomfort and uncertainty at the NSA.

Lie to Congress, or admit spying on Congress?

(heh, heh, heh...)

Stuart's picture

Gen Alexander is going to lie through his asshole.  He will not/cannot ever admit they are spying on Congress.  Shit would obliterate the fan.

Keyser's picture

Of course they are spying on politicians. How else are the spooks going to get dirt on the demigods, so they can blackmail them into voting for their black programs. 


Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Sure and then they will pass some law loaded with loopholes and present it the the public as a fix to NSA spying. Political brownie points for everyone but nothing will change.

AlaricBalth's picture

The question that must be asked is not "who is the NSA spying on?" The answer is obvious, they are gathering data on everyone.

What needs to be asked is who exactly is the NSA working for? Certainly not the American people. Is it the MIC, CFR, BIS, globalists, corporate interests, or all of the above.

Or are they a rogue outfit with ulterior motives just trying to guarantee their own survival. A clandestine government cloaked as a benign data gathering agency.

Seer's picture

It's the Secret Government.  Bill Moyers did a documentary on it back in 1989.

If it exists then you're fucked, just like if you're only a little pregnant you've been fucked.

This is how it always goes.  We pretend that we can control such things but it never happens.  POWER eventually destroys everything around it before consuming itself.

satoshi101's picture

Hell yes, that's why I say here, if you were paying attention you would know that the USA died long before 1989.

Hell Microsoft had backdoors in windows before 1986, NSA was already in  your shorts,


Today essentially the SPY racket is 99% of employment, its so big that it had to be made public, sort of like hiding the space aliens cuz the masses weren't ready yet,



Muppet Pimp's picture

It is simply a case of the prisoners dilemma writ large.  On the bright side, if the status quo remains, the economy remains.  All the right power players globally are on the payroll and the economy is the golden goose.  If the golden goose dies, they lose the best thing ever invented.  So, we get bubblicious boom/bust economy with asymetric information and they get virtually unlimited power money and prestige.  Its a big club, and you and I ain't in it.

You do understand why the Rothschild owned Reuters has a finance website called counterparties right?  If the alternative to the present system is giving the power to the goons in DC, we may as well stick with the current system.

Oh, and Bernie, the answer is "Yes, now what the fuck are you gonna do about it"



clymer's picture

Bernie.. Really?


(I know there is no direct correlation but this reminded me of debate '88:


SHAW: Now to you, Vice President Bush. I quote to you this from Article III of the 20th amendment to the Constitution. Quote: "If at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President the President-elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become president," meaning, if you are elected and die before inauguration day

BUSH: Bernie.)

Seer's picture

"if the status quo remains, the economy remains."

Anything can be judged a success given a short enough time slice.  Nothing lasts forever, and the current "status quo" is no exception to this rule.  The overwhelming majority of our modern infrastruture, of which POWER resides over, has been made possible by a finite resource- oil.  The TRICK has always been for TPTB to get the dumb masses to extract more than what is necessary for themselves and this excess then is consolidated within TPTB.  Though it doesn't look like the masses are going to wisen up, it DOES appear that the ability to generate excess for the bloodsuckers is starting to wane, and when this happens they lose their control.  It's basically the job of the NSA to keep this going: remember Dick Cheney saying that "the American way of life is not negotiable," and you realize that he was right- it's highly fragile and requires massive amounts of military actions and NSA spying (I'm guessing that TPTB had Cheney's pace maker's frequency on speed dial)

As much as Eisenhower knew back in his day even he was unable to do anything.  I'm not thinking that folks here would label Ike as some effeminate socialist...

Muppet Pimp's picture

Nothing will ever be perfect, and those in power usually abuse their positions.  That being said, Americans would agree with Dick Cheney quote en masse, we are not willing to negotiate on our way of life.  And frankly with technology and the media having become so powerful and with large portions of the electorate so disconnected from reality (kardashians, etc.), are you actually asserting that if the masses had more sway over things they would improve?  Are you seriously suggesting that?  The best the masses should hope for is plenty of opportunity (jobs), freedom of speech without consequece, low taxes, good roads and services. 

The democrats are currently offering the following: Handouts in lieu of increeased opportunity, demonization of those who try to work within the confines of the free markets to create opportunity for themselves and others, higher taxes, repurcussions for speech that differs from their liberal worldview, unionized public workforces focused on greed over public services.  Florida, Texas et al got it right.  We will continue to see how right they got it as more and more yankees escape their self created prisons to freedom down south over the next decade or two.

chumbawamba's picture

The Honorable Bernard Sanders, Senator, State of Vermont, is:

a) naive as fuck?

b) ignorant as all get out?

c) douchily obtuse?

d) all this and more.

I am Chumbawamba.

Oh regional Indian's picture

He could be gaming th egamers too you know. Smart move. Paint them in a corner?

It's a game with-in a game with-in a game all wrapped up in WORDS....


chumbawamba's picture

I gave him the benefit of the doubt with the "and more" clause in option d).


old naughty's picture

"You want to know the truth?

You can't handle the truth !"

sunaJ's picture

@Newsboy -

I think you are right that it is a strategic move, but for whom?

I'm quite convinced, both in my professional experience and in the information being brought forth by one patriot in a den of thousands (claiming to be patriotic but that seem to have no idea what that means), that it is the US intelligence apparatus that is collecting ALL information possible on ALL people (Americans or non-citizens).  So, is it strategic for Sanders to pretend that he did not know this is true, or is this lawmaker so daft that he does not get it yet (while he is making and voting on laws that directly affect government intelligence gathering privileges)?  And, if it is the former, did he expect anything other than a "no" response?


Actually, this whole letter offends me, because he should know - being a lawmaker - and he should be more concerned about the privacy of people he has been PUBLICLY selected to represent than what interest the NSA may have in him personally because of his elected post.  What a fucking tool.  The answer of whether the NSA is unlawfully out of control is staring us in the face, but Mr. Sanders wants to know exactly what the NSA has on him before he decides to do more than politely ask questions to a man that has been a proved liar in testimony before congress.   Bernie writes his letter defining spying as the very things that have been revealed the NSA collecting on virtually every American.  What a joke.


Newsboy's picture


Strategic move "for whom?"

That would include all who want General Alexander and the NSA weakened, right?

It is a move that puts Alexander in a lose/lose situation.

All he can do is stall a bit, while he checks his level of support, to see what he can pull off.

There is certainly already documentary evidence in the hands of Sanders and others that the NSA is spying on congresscritters. Alexander must be aware of the extent of it.

Alexander is the head of a vast spy network, with the dirt and leverage on everybody, but he's a man.

It's an opening, an Achilles heel, a chink in the armor.

sunaJ's picture

You seem to have more confidence in Mr Sanders than I do, but it makes me feel warm inside if I suppose that Sanders is trying to do a greater good for the American people (weaken NSA grasp) than fulfilling some motive of self-interest or displaying his complete ignorance of the constitutional matter.  I vaguely remember having that mindset too!  :)  Perhaps I'm just older and more cynical - or just wrong.  As far as I'm concerned, the "I forsake all for the fight against terrorism" crowd are more on their heels now than ever, and by orders of magnitude.  If this is the best we can muster - asking in a sweetly composed letter (not directly before congress and televised under oath, mind you) written by some senator that sounds more like a private communication and not a public inquiry, then our representatives are as bought or ball-less as I presume them to be.  I want injunctions, public inquiries, arrests and trials, because frankly, if we do not have some sort of reconciliation, then who cares who wrote whom politely about whether or not they were personally being spied upon?  No.  When I see a truckload of court summons and FBI agents raiding the front door of Keith and his ilk, I'll be right there with you in cheering on our representatives.


Newsboy's picture


I'm 55, so you can judge our age differential.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend", is what I'm going to apply here.

Alexander must have a fair number of enemies by now.

Pile-On Folks!

sunaJ's picture

With all respect to Bernie, if he is sincere, he may not know who his enemy advice to him in the BEST of these circumstances is more along the lines of 'know thy enemy.'  My only contention is that the game we are observing is much different than the one being played.


I'm younger than you (not by much), so I'm either just more cynical or wrong :)


Let's see what happens!




Seer's picture

Sanders has placed this into the procedural hopper where it has to be processed for all to see/hear.  And I'd think that it should slap all those in Congress into waking up.  No, I don't believe that Congress will get anything done here...  I'm sure, however, that Alexander is going down.  As someone else noted, Snowden's duffle bag will be able to pull out a LOT of rabbits.

McCarthy got his comeupance, proving that Congress does have some power if it so chooses to use it.

Alexander will step down shortly.  The shit will blow over and the game continues...

sunaJ's picture

Yeah, I believe you are right about Alexander, perhaps about Sanders.  Alexander will fall upon the sword to protect the republic that has been envisioned by many that thought they are protecting us and did naughty things to bring it to pass in their ideology.  But I don't want those naughty things to continue, their ideolgy is pathetic, and resignations are often only a political conciliation toward a continued trend.  I even understand how they think they were being patriotic, but they are wrong and it's too important to look for a scapegoat and say all is well.  Our country needs a change, not a resignation.  I'm not sorry if I am more revolutionary than that.  I'm looking for consequences and change, which is I believe reasonable as a citizen of this country, who puts his silly dollars towards its purpose.  We don't have much say in what goes on anymore, I believe, but I think that we can stop paranoid voyeurs (even if they are boyscouts) from creeping into our lives to this extent, if we have the will (which I think we, the people have).  My paradigm is that I see the way our political system actually is, and that we, the people, cannot speak in the cacauphony of money that is swirling about.  If you cannot trust your political system, yet your political system has for some time been based upon money and media (ie, money), then forgive me for being cynical.


I was a police detective for many years.  I remember talking to victims of crimes and I felt that it was important in the beginning to tell them that the wheels of justice turn slowly, meaning that they will have to go through a lot of effort and time to receive justice, and what I found is that the majority of victims just did not want anything to do with the memory anymore - they wanted to move on - which is a good trait in many regards - or simply fear.  But this attitude does harm to the greater good, meaning that there will always be another rape or burglary from this specific individual.  However, we are not talking about a burglary or a rape of an individual, we are talking about the way 350 million people are governed by a very, very few.  First of all, I know that justice is a human invention, which means that it is easily if not frighteningly manipulated - or abrogated completely.  Still, my belief has always been to be strong and have the strength to do what is needed to bring a sense of justice.  "Moving on," in this context, without a redress of grievance, is the same as saying that it didn't happen at all.  Accepting a resignation is the same as telling someone that raped somebody that he better not do it again, but by all means, go about your life, enjoy it, and continue.  A resignation, in this respect, would be resignation to a rapists will.  Prosecute the motherfucker.  He knew what was going on and lied about it because he thought his super-secret clearance gave him privileges above the constitution.  It's that simple.  Use his testimony to find others that wanted to torture people or violate human rights - it's right there in front of you.  I'm not looking for a witch hunt, I'm looking more for truth and reconciliation, even if we have to pass through the soap opera of who sent letters to whom before they face something other than a CNN poll of "What do you think about Bernie Sanders' letter to Keith Alexander?" 




Seer's picture

"But I don't want those naughty things to continue, their ideolgy is pathetic, and resignations are often only a political conciliation toward a continued trend. "

Well, it's an ugly world... I don't like those "naughty things" either.  Sadly, just like all the other "sins" I'm afraid that we're destined to continue on with them.

As the world's population continues to rise and its resources dwindle the pressures on the infrastructure (of which TPTB are responsible for- they exist OFF of it, so I don't believe that they can be indifferent to its problems [which affect us]) continue to mount.  And so many ideologies have amassed power that it's a constant threat (others want their "share" too), more pressures to maintain a given entity's standard of living.

It's all a losing battle.  This outcome was dictated when we decided that it was possible to base our civilizations on the basis of perpetual growth on a finite planet (always, of course, dismissing that "finite planet" thing).

Animals kill in order to survive.  Humans are animals...   Much of the killing has been made distant.  This is changing as world resources become scarcer- we no longer can not see.  The NSA is but a mechanism to hide us from all this, and should we start seeing and start to warn others of the ugliness that the NSA is supposed to oppress (of course, they do get paid for doing so, so it's not just ideological to/for them).

As I told someone I used to know who was in intelligence in the military and thought that it was necessary to maintain some secrets- Secrecy Kills.  I suspect that if he recalls me telling him that that he's by now sure to get it...

I'm kind of neutral on most of this.  I see the system as requiring it all, in which case it makes sense and fits.  But, I don't believe in the system, in "making it smaller" or "more efficient" etc. etc., as the lie that it's all built on is its essence and cannot be changed (only replaced by something different).

It's going to end.  I just like to monitor things (not in any NSA kind of way) and to promote logical thinking (and discourage hypocrisy, name-calling, and bigoted shit).

kralizec's picture

NSA spies on everybody...even others in the's what they do.

Citxmech's picture

"Almost Orwellian?"


Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

That's like telling your wife you aren't really having anal sex with her because your dick is only half way in her ass. She might think otherwise.

James-Morrison's picture

Dear Bernie,  We only spy on YOU, the rest of congress is "safe".



EscapeKey's picture

I'm sorry, but it's the comments here which have gone full retard.

Of course he bloody knows they spy on him. This is about getting a response, on the record, from the NSA.

AlaricBalth's picture

Never ask a question in court or politics unless you already know the answer.

During the drama over the so-called Amash Amendment General Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, went to Capitol Hill to lobby against the law. During the course of his lobbying members of Congress responded to his presentations with a reasonable question – can we see our own files? Alexander said no. 

Sirota also spoke with Rep. Alan Grayson who told him that in the course of the conversation about the NSA and files they might have on members of Congress said “one of my colleagues asked the NSA point blank will you give me a copy of my own record and the NSA said no, we won’t. They didn’t say no we don’t have one. They said no we won’t.” Dare anyone accuse the NSA of being cryptic?

Just ask former Maryland Rep. Michael D. Barnes. His calls to Nicaraguan government officials were intercepted and recorded by NSA – as he learned only after transcripts were leaked by the Reagan White House, he says.

spankfish's picture

Maybe he got an email from the Snowed Inn?

Ying-Yang's picture

NSA - "Cue up the kiddie porn package launch for Senator Sanders"

"You fucked with the wrong Marine"

Keyser's picture

And let's not forget Sen Bob Menendez and his trips to the Dominican Republic to diddle underage girls. They had him dead to rights, yet the pedo is still on the Hill. Pathetic.

DaveyJones's picture

we only spy on the idiots, the drunks and the pedophiles

oh wait