Appearing on MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said that he was never briefed on the National Security Agency’s sweeping PRISM program which databases electronic communications data. Merkley said that he had no idea about the program and he suspects that a small number of members of the congressional intelligence committees were the only individuals informed of the program.
Wagner recalled that the president said that he welcomes the debate over how much privacy Americans should expect to give up in order to ensure security. She asked Merkley if he thought it was even possible to have that debate.
“I think it is possible,” he replied. “Much more possible now that there is public examination.”
“When I sought information, the only information I got was related to that, ‘yes, there is a program sweeping up broad amounts of data through the Records Act,” Merkley continued.
“This second thing we’ve just learned about called PRISM, I had no idea about,” he said. “I don’t know how many people knew about it in Congress, but I suspect a very small number on the intelligence committees.”
Merkley noted that President Barack Obama‘s assertion that members of Congress were informed of these programs was not true in his case.
Watch the clip below via MSNBC:
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