Susan Collins: I wasn’t briefed on PRISM

The Republican from Maine was a top-ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee last session

Topics: Susan Collins, Prism, NSA, Edward Snowden, Maine, Homeland Security, Republicans,

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who was a top ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee last session and now sits on the Select Committee on Intelligence, says that she was never briefed on the NSA surveillance program known as PRISM.

Ryan Grim of The Huffington Post reports that Collins said Senate leadership and the highest ranking intelligence committee members were informed of the program, which The Guardian and The Washington Post revealed last week. But, she said,  ”The rest of us did not. At the time, I was the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, so I’d think that I would’ve had more information about that since I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing. But I did not have access to this highly compartmentalized information.”

Collins added: “If they’re talking about there being widespread knowledge [of PRISM in Congress], there was not.”

HuffPo also reports that the Obama Administration held 22 briefings for Congress on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is the law that intelligence officials have used as authorization for the NSA’s surveillance program.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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