Two senators on the intelligence committee on Monday accused the National Security Agency of publicly presenting "inaccurate" information about the privacy protections on its surveillance on millions of internet communications.
However, in a demonstration of the intense secrecy surrounding NSA surveillance even after Edward Snowden's revelations, the senators claimed they could not publicly identify the allegedly misleading section or sections of a factsheet without compromising classified information.
"We were disappointed to see that this factsheet contains an inaccurate statement about how the section 702 authority has been interpreted by the US government," Wyden and Udall wrote to Alexander, in a letter dated 24 June and acquired by the Guardian.So here we are again. These two senators who are charged with oversight of the NSA activities are trying to do their job. Yet they are forced to play cat and mouse games around the classified spin. Alexander makes all manner of public claims as to the necessity of the NSA activities, but hides behind the veil of secrecy to avoid accountability for the accuracy of those claims. We are going to have to have a better system than this.
"In our judgment, this inaccuracy is significant, as it portrays protections for Americans' privacy as being significantly stronger than they actually are," the senators write. Yet they specified the "inaccurate" statement only in "the classified attachment to this letter", which the Guardian did not acquire.