Administration’s OWN White Paper Backs Claim Mike Rogers Did Not Share Dragnet Notice

I already made this point when I was the first person to point out that the House Intelligence Committee apparently did not share the 2011 notice provided by DOJ with members outside of the House Intelligence Committee.

But no one besides me appears to have noticed it. Here’s what the Section 215 dragnet White Paper says happened to the 2009 notice provided to Silvestre Reyes and Dianne Feinstein.

In December 2009, DOJ worked with the Intelligence Community to provide a classified briefing paper to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees that could be made available to all Members of Congress regarding the telephony metadata collection program. A letter accompanying the briefing paper sent to the House Intelligence Committee specifically stated that “it is important that all Members of Congress have access to information about this program” and that “making this document available to all members of Congress is an effective way to inform the legislative debate about reauthorization of Section 215.” See Letter from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich to the Honorable Silvestre Reyes, Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (Dec. 14, 2009). Both Intelligence Committees made this document available to all Members of Congress prior to the February 2010 reauthorization of Section 215. See Letter from Sen. Diane Feinstein and Sen. Christopher S. Bond to Colleagues (Feb. 23, 2010); Letter from Rep. Silvestre Reyes to Colleagues (Feb. 24, 2010); [my emphasis]

Here’s what it says happened to the 2011 notice provided to Mike Rogers and Dianne Feinstein.

An updated version of the briefing paper, also recently released in redacted form to the public, was provided to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees again in February 2011 in connection with the reauthorization that occurred later that year. See Letter from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich to the Honorable Dianne Feinstein and the Honorable Saxby Chambliss, Chairman and Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (Feb. 2, 2011); Letter from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich to the Honorable Mike Rogers and the Honorable C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (Feb. 2, 2011). The Senate Intelligence Committee made this updated paper available to all Senators later that month. See Letter from Sen. Diane Feinstein and Sen. Saxby Chambliss to Colleagues (Feb. 8, 2011). [my emphasis]

See that word “both” when describing what the intelligence committees did in 2009? See the description of the “Senate Intelligence Committee” followed by a period in describing what the intelligence committees did in 2011, with no mention of “both” or the House Intelligence Committee whatsoever?

The White Paper is as clear as any document spewing disingenuous claims can be (there are several even in these two passages). In 2009, both intelligence committees sent a letter to their respective colleagues letting them know the notice was available. In 2011, just the Senate Intelligence Committee did.

That means at 65 of the people who voted to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act in 2011 had no way of knowing they were reauthorizing the ongoing creation of a database of the phone-based relationships of every American. At least in theory, those 65 members were more than enough to make a difference in the vote.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

9 replies
  1. jerryy says:

    This may explain one aspect of Vice President Joe Biden’s relationship with the MPAA. (If plan a fails, there
    is plan b. note: The VP’s support of the MPAA is well documented, and easily found with simple searchung.).

    http://www.geek.com/news/riaa-and-mpaa-want-spyware-on-every-computer-border-searches-of-ipods-1191592/

    http://gadgetsteria.com/2010/04/15/riaampaa-want-to-install-spyware-on-your-computer-border-search-your-gadgets-and-automate-ip-content-removal/

  2. edge says:

    I’m curious how long the administration knew that Rogers didn’t tell others. I’m also curious what their reaction was to this knowledge. Were they complicit in the decision to not tell others? If not, how hard would it have been for the administration to send out an email cc-ing every member of congress, saying, “Hey, We’ve just given this doc to the intelligence committee. You should go read it.”

  3. orionATL says:

    so the obama administration (doj) actively schemed with rogers and ruppersberger to insure that those wild and crazy tea-party types didn’t interfer with their money-making machinery, aka, vital national security needs.

    sweet.

    headline you’ll never see:

    “venal congressmen betray their institution and their colleagues.”

  4. Chris Harries says:

    Another headline you’ll never see:
    “Feinstein and Rogers among multitude of NSA apologists dumped in primaries.”

  5. Arbusto says:

    As has been stated elsewhere, 20 some odd US embassies and consulates were closed because of NSA intercepts, even though it seems al qaeda pulled Obama’s wang. Obama is willing to abridge the Constitution and kill innocents for the fig leaf of security and safety vis-a-vi the PATRIOT Act; so too is Congress.

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