Seven former officials in the George W. Bush administration and a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee issued a sharp rebuke to the Republican National Committee Saturday over the RNC's passage of a resolution calling for an end of the "blanket surveillance" of phone calls and electronic communications records by the National Security Agency.
Delegates in Friday's session of the committee's winter meeting adopted by voice vote the "Resolution to Renounce the National Security Agency's Surveillance Program," calling on Republicans to endorse amendments to the PATRIOT Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act "to make it clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity, phone records and correspondence — electronic, physical, and otherwise — of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court."
Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Kansas who serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and seven former national security and Justice Department officials sent a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (shown) the next day, blasting the resolution for alleged factual errors and charging that the statement "threatens to do great damage to the security of the nation."
"The resolution falsely implies that NSA collects and has easy access to telephone metadata, when in fact every search of the data requires a reasonable and particular suspicion and is strictly limited by the courts with oversight by the intelligence committees of both houses of Congress," the letter said. "It is a shame that the resolution reached the Committee without correction of its many errors."
In addition to Pompeo, the letter was signed by former Bush administration officials Michael Hayden (CIA director), Michael Mukasey (U.S. attorney general), Steve G. Bradley (head of the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice), Michael Chertoff (secretary, Department of Homeland Security), Stewart A. Baker (assistant secretary for policy at DHS), Kenneth Wainstein (Homeland Security advisor), and Eric S. Edelman (under secretary for policy, Department of Defense).
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Photo of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus