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Senators Ron Wyden, Dianne Feinstein, and Pat Roberts in an Intelligence Committee meeting.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein
In the wake of revelations about the extent of the National Security Agency's spying on Americans' phone calls and internet use, lawmakers are promising they'll debate the spy programs and maybe exercise a little oversight over the NSA. Only they can't tell you about it, because that's classified.
“To the extent that there [would be] changes, they’d probably be classified,” committee member Sen. Marco Rubio told reporters
And also, there are emphatically no guarantees there will be changes:
“We are always open to changes, but that doesn’t mean there will be any,” Intelligence Committee Chairman Diane Feinstein told reporters after a two-hour long meeting with staff from various intelligence agencies.
Boy, you sure convinced me you're open to changes there.

As Buzzfeed's John Stanton writes, it's not a certainty that Congress has to be quite so deferential to the Obama administration on secrecy, but:

More to the point, this is a problem of Congress’ own making. In the rush to secure the nation in the wake of 9/11, lawmakers in both parties gave the executive branch sweeping new powers. The Patriot Act and subsequent revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act have not only provided authority for the executive branch to conduct spying operations; they’ve also proliferated the classified information that it’s a felony to openly discuss.
If sunlight is the best disinfectant, then right now America's security apparatus is basically a dank cave far below the earth into which successive presidential administrations have been hurling vials of plague, ebola, and gangrene, with the cooperation of Congress. At this point, even lawmakers like Ron Wyden, who really do want to make changes, are forced to fight alone because they can't try to build public support for what they're trying to do.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 06:47 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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