August 12, 2013 / by emptywheel


Mike Rogers Says 4 Briefings Recently Makes Up for Withholding Information before PATRIOT Act Vote

Here’s House Intelligence Chair Mike Rogers’ response to the White Paper’s revelation, backed by Justin Amash’s reports, that he didn’t invite all members of the House to read notice of the Section 215 dragnet.

The House Intelligence Committee makes it a top priority to inform Members about the intelligence issues on which Members must vote. This process is always conducted consistent with the Committee’s legal obligation to carefully protect the sensitive intelligence sources and methods our intelligence agencies use to do their important work. Prior to voting on the PATRIOT Act reauthorization and the FAA reauthorization, Chairman Rogers hosted classified briefings to which all Members were invited to have their questions about these authorities answered. Additionally, over the past two months, Chairman Rogers has hosted four classified briefings, with officials from the NSA and other agencies, on the Section 215 and Section 702 programs and has invited all Republican Members to attend and receive additional classified briefings on the use of these tools from Committee staff. The Committee has provided many opportunities for Members to have their questions answered by both the HPSCI and the NSA. And Chairman Rogers has encouraged members to attend those classified briefings to better understand how the authorities are used to protect the country. [my emphasis]

So even according to Mike Rogers, Mike Rogers provided briefings to members to answer the questions they’d have no notice they needed to ask before reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act because Mike Rogers hadn’t provided the explanation of what they might want to ask questions about.

And since Edward Snowden exposed all this, he has had 4 briefings.

Nowhere in Rogers’ statement does he deny he failed to pass on the notice that read,

We believe that making this document available to all members of Congress, as we did with a similar document in December 2009, is an effective way to inform the legislative debate about reauthorization of Section 215.

Which, I take, is additional confirmation (in addition to the White Paper and reports from Congress) he failed to pass on notice that DOJ and the Administration claimed they wanted shared with all of Congress.

The legality of the 215 dragnet depends, in part, on whether or not the Executive briefed Congress. And because of Mike Rogers, it appears that that legal case is beginning to crumble.

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