Last week it was Sen. Rand Paul. This week it was President Obama's turn to be blasted by Rep. Peter King for failing to be adequately deferential to the NSA during his remarks following the release of his NSA Review Group's report.
King was extremely unhappy that anyone might dare to suggest that the NSA might have abused their powers, because we all know there's no way they'd do that, right? King also wanted the viewers on this Sunday's Meet the Press to believe that he and his cohorts in the Congress are doing anything that would resemble what could be an adequate job of overseeing the agency.
A high-ranking House Republican on Sunday attacked President Obama for failing to defend the National Security Agency in the wake of massive leaks on the spy agency's activities.
House Intelligence Committee member Peter King (R-N.Y.) decried Obama’s posture on the beleaguered spying agency after revelations that it had been collecting “metadata” and holding it.
"I wish the president would step forward and defend the NSA. What he says is, he says ‘no abuse, the intelligence is absolutely necessary.’ But then he says we have to reform it. What does he want to reform if it’s working?” the New York lawmaker asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press."
King, the former head of the House Homeland Security Committee, said that the agency did not abuse its authority – some of which was granted by Obama, himself.
He was particularly upset that the government may reform its surveillance program based on the leaks of the intelligence community’s operations by “defector” and “traitor” Edward Snowden.
Asked if the NSA was collapsing or if it will be around in the future with the same powers, King responded “if it doesn’t, it will be calamitous for the country … this is all a debate generated by the hysteria caused by Edward Snowden and why we’re listening to him is beyond me,” King said.
The New York Republican opposes reigning in the NSA’s ability to “stockpile” the metadata.↓ Story continues below ↓
“What are we to reign in? There has not been one abuse cited, and the president said that himself – so, we’re talking about something that doesn’t exist,” King said.
His fellow guest, Sen. Pat Leahy, disagreed:
“I don’t think everyone has to know what a spy agency is doing; by the nature of a spy agency, that’s how it works,” King said.
But Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said more oversight is needed.
“The Founding Fathers would be astounded to see what the NSA and others are doing,” Leahy said. “It’s not Snowden; I think he’s irrelevant in all this.”
But Leahy said the NSA shouldn’t just be written off. “Of course we need a spy agency, but let’s make it accountable to the American public,” Leahy said.
Leahy also announced that his Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next month about the NSA surveillance program. And, he said, members of the commission empaneled by President Barack Obama, which has issued a report recommending 46 changes, will testify before the committee on Jan. 14.