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Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who's complained about being kept in the dark about a key aspect of the Obama administration's recently-disclosed surveillance efforts, was offered a briefing on the subject late last year but passed it up, a source familiar with the planned briefing told POLITICO on Wednesday.

Merkley showed up at the planned briefing and announced he couldn't stay, before departing for a Hardball interview, according to the source.

He has been all over television claiming he did not know this and did not know that when all along it was his own fault.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Tuesday that he doesn't have much patience for lawmakers who have claimed they weren't briefed on the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, contending that those elected officials need only look in a mirror if they want someone to blame.

"For senators to complain that 'I didn't know this was happening,' we've had many, many meetings that have been both classified and unclassified that members have been invited to," Reid said during a briefing with reporters, as noted Tuesday by TPM.

He added: "If they don't come and take advantage of this, I can't say enough to say they shouldn't come and say 'I wasn't aware of this,' because they've had every opportunity to be aware of these programs."

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