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Sanford Statement on Declassified NSA Documents

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Location: Washington, DC

Late Monday night more than 1,000 pages of declassified files concerning the National Security Agency's collection of American citizen's phone records were released by the Obama Administration.

While heavily redacted, these files show that the government in part attributed their violations of surveillance rules to "poor management, lack of involvement by compliance officials and lack of internal verification procedures, not by bad faith."

There are many cures for this, and a vital one rests in someone indeed making sure there is compliance. H.R. 3436, Representative Sanford's bill, would create an independent Inspector General's office at the NSA, just as is the case at the CIA, Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.

Representative Sanford had this to say, "It's not exactly surprising that if your career and work prospects aren't in the hands of the person who you are attempting to assess, you can be more independent in your assessment. Only in government would someone think that an employee, a direct subordinate, should be charged with the job of assessing the work of the boss. It's nice in theory, but when your ability to make the mortgage payment can be determined by the tenor of your findings, tenor changes and we see the results of doing so with this declassifying of files."

"Four years ago when the government knew that they had violated surveillance protocols, they blamed it on a lack of oversight, but they didn't take the step of creating an independent Inspector General's office at the NSA," said Sanford. "Despite the fact that this process already exists in the other intelligence related agencies."

"Yesterday's disclosures further reinforce the need for making this change at the NSA, to ensure that the Inspector General's office is operating with independence and is conducting effective oversight," said Sanford.


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