Sen. Ron Wyden (D – OR) has been trying to push the NSA into further disclosures of its activities at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, and has regularly been at the center of the NSA’s overt lies about the program, when he pressed for specifics they didn’t feel like giving.
Today, Wyden’s questions centered around the NSA’s mass collection of cellphone GPS data to track the movements of ordinary Americans, pointedly asking NSA Chief Gen. Keith Alexander to provide details of past or future plans to do so.
Alexander initially insisted only that no such collection is being done under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, to which Sen. Wyden reiterated his question as asking whether the program has ever happened, and not just if it is currently happening under one specific legal section. Alexander refused to answer, saying the matter was “classified.”
Wyden is privy to classified data, and often raises questions about programs he already knows are going on in open session in an attempt to get the matter out in the open. Though we don’t have any confirmation yet, it is unlikely that Alexander would attempt to address the question with a non-answer then a cop-out if there wasn’t something there.