By BJ Reyes
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was among the House members who attended a classified briefing Tuesday by senior Obama administration officials on details of the National Security Agency's recently uncovered domestic surveillance programs, her office said.
The briefing, by officials from the National Security Agency, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation and it's Office of the Director of National Intelligence, was open to all House members. Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee also were briefed with a similar meeting before the full chamber scheduled Thursday.
It was unclear if U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa attended the meeting. Her office declined to immediately comment. According to the Washington Post's Post Politics blog, while all members of the House were invited it was not immediately clear if all attended.
Gabbard did not immediately comment after the briefing.
No members of the Senate Intelligence Committee commented Tuesday. The Post caught up with a handful of House members afterward. According to the Post Politics blog:
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) said the briefing focused on how NSA collects “telephone metadata,” or raw information on telephone numbers dialed and the length of calls. But she said she had hoped to learn more about PRISM, the NSA program that allows the agency to gain access to the servers of Internet companies for a wide range of digital data.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) agreed that she learned “not as much as I wanted. I think we have a long way to go on this, but I appreciate that they were willing to give us some information.”
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said he asked the officials why the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court doesn’t hold on to the telephone metadata compiled by the NSA.
“We’d like to believe that everybody always does the right thing and that every part of the Executive Branch can be trusted, and certainly if you have the Justice Department overseeing the NSA that two Executive Branch departments ought to be enough, but I’d like to see the courts in control of the metadata if we’re going to have a billion records a day added to the data that’s kept on Americans,” Sherman said.