The New York Times reported that the National Security Agency improperly wiretapped a member of Congress who was “part of a Congressional delegation to the Middle East in 2005 or 2006.” Greg Sargent wants to know who it was. Don’t we all. To the Googling stations!
My first guess was Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who visited the West Bank in January 2006. But why stop there? In March 2005, a so-called CODEL traveled to Iraq, Jordan, Israel Lebanon and Egypt. On the trip were Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Darrel Issa (R- Calif.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), James McGovern (D- Mass.), and Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.).
Those weren’t the only ones. Another March 2005 CODEL featured members taking a survey of Mideast democratization efforts. On that trip: Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), and then-Rep. E. Clay Shaw (R-Fla.). They went to the Palestinian territories, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Cyprus and two other countries I didn’t immediately identify.
Let’s continue. January 2006: a congressional delegation goes to Europe, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Middle East enough? That one had then-Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.), Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.), Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.), Rep. Melissa Hart (R-Penn.), Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) and Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.).
Then there was a December 2006 senatorial CODEL to Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) brought back photos.
So that’s 27 members of Congress who could have been illegally surveilled by the NSA. I’m sure I’m missing some CODELs, so point them out in comments if you see them. But the broader point is that there’s no obvious reason at the moment why any of these members’ trips couldn’t have put them in contact with “persons of interest” to the National Security Agency and the Bush administration, thereby making them prima facie targets of a wideranging surveillance program.
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