About half the Senate skipped classified NSA briefing

Father's Day was more important

Published June 15, 2013 8:18PM (EDT)

America may currently the middle the most intense national debate about data privacy since 9/11, but you wouldn't be able to tell that by looking at the U.S. Senate. The Hill reports that more than half of the senators decided to skip out on a classified briefing on Thursday afternoon with James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, Keith Alexander, the head of the National Security Agency (NSA), and other officials.

From the Hill:

The Senate held its last vote of the week a little after noon on Thursday, and many lawmakers were eager to take advantage of the short day and head back to their home states for Father’s Day weekend.

Only 47 of 100 senators attended the 2:30 briefing, leaving dozens of chairs in the secure meeting room empty as Clapper, Alexander and other senior officials told lawmakers about classified programs to monitor millions of telephone calls and broad swaths of Internet activity. The room on the lower level of the Capitol Visitor Center is large enough to fit the entire Senate membership, according to a Senate aide.

The Hill doesn't know who attended the briefing and who didn't, but it would be interesting to know what proud father Jeff Flake decided to do.

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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Father's Day Government Surveillance Nsa Privacy Senate