Highlights from June 18 Open Hearing on FISA Program

Questions by Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann:

Is NSA spying today or have you spied on American citizens

Answers by NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis:

We do not target U.S. persons anywhere in the world without a specific court warrant.

Q:           Does the NSA listen to the phone calls of American citizens?

A:           We do not target or listen to the telephone calls of U.S. persons without a specific court warrant.

Q:           Does the NSA read the emails of American citizens?

A:           Same answer ma’am.

Q:           Does the NSA read the text messages of American citizens?

A:           Again, we do not target the content of U.S. person communications without a specific warrant anywhere on the earth.

Q:           Has the NSA ever tracked any political enemies of the Administration?

A:           In my time at NSA, no ma’am.

Question by Congressman Mac Thornberry:

Would you say their intention to blow up the U.S. Stock Exchange was a serious plot or was this just something they talked about with their buddies?

Answer by FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce:

The jury considered it serious since they were all convicted.

Question by Chairman Mike Rogers:

And so you have a whole other layer of legislative oversight on this particular program.  And, again, I argue the necessity of that because it, as I said, used to be a classified program of which you want additional oversight, you want members of the legislature making sure we are on track, that you don't necessarily need in a criminal matter domestically. 

 

Answer by Deputy Attorney General James Cole:

In this, you have the National Security Agency, you have the ODNI (Office of the Director of National Intelligence), you have the Inspectors General, you have the Department of Justice, you have the court monitoring what you are doing if there are any mistakes that were made, you have Congress being briefed on a regular basis.  There is an enormous amount of oversight in this compared to a grand jury situation.  Yet the records that can be obtained are of the same kind. 

Question by Congressman Mike Pompeo:

Do you think these programs are just as much needed today as they were in the immediate aftermath of 9/11?

Answer by General Alexander:

I do.

Full hearing, questions begin at 58:05: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/313429-1