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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2005

VICE CHAIRMAN ROCKEFELLER REACTS TO REPORTS OF NSA INTERCEPT PROGRAM IN UNITED STATES

Office of Senator Jay Rockefeller

--Senator Releases His ’03 Letter to White House Raising Questions About White House Actions and Need for Congressional Oversight-- 

Rockefeller '03 letter to White House [PDF 564KB]

Washington, DC --   Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today released the following statement regarding the President’s decision to publicly confirm the existence of a highly-sensitive National Security Agency (NSA) program for intercepting communications within the United States.  Additionally, Senator Rockefeller released his correspondence to the White House on July 17, 2003 – the day he first learned of the program -- expressing serious concerns about the nature of the program as well as Congress’ inability to provide oversight given the limited nature of the briefings.

“For the last few days, I have witnessed the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General repeatedly misrepresent the facts. 

“The record needs to be set clear that the Administration never afforded members briefed on the program an opportunity to either approve or disapprove the NSA program.  The limited members who were told of the program were prohibited by the Administration from sharing any information about it with our colleagues, including other members of the Intelligence Committees. 

“At the time, I expressed my concerns to Vice President Cheney that the limited information provided to Congress was so overly restricted that it prevented members of Congress from conducting meaningful oversight of the legal and operational aspects of the program. 

“These concerns were never addressed, and I was prohibited from sharing my views with my colleagues.  

“Now that this issue has been brought out into the open, I strongly urge the Senate Intelligence Committee to immediately undertake a full investigation into the legal and operational aspects of the program, including the lack of sufficient congressional oversight.”

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