The Oregonian reports: U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden scorched senior CIA and NSA officials, the secret doings inside the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and a controversial section of the USA Patriot ACT on Tuesday night during a lecture in downtown Portland.
The senior senator from Oregon performed perhaps the most skillful dodge yet – by any politician – of a question nagging many Americans: is former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden a hero, a traitor, or something in between?
Wyden declined to comment about a case now before a criminal court (Snowden faces spy charges). But he said senior intelligence officials should have told the public that the National Security Agency had collected the phone records of millions of ordinary Americans, rather than having them learn about it through Snowden’s leaks of classified files to journalists.
“This is a debate that shouldn’t have been started this way,” said Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who sits in on classified briefings of national security operations.
Wyden called for more vigorous oversight of U.S. spy agencies. He called on senior intelligence officials to end what he described variously as their “pattern of deception,” “incredibly misleading statements,” and “culture of misinformation.” [Continue reading…]