Most senators reportedly skipped NSA briefing to catch flights home

Only 47 senators attended a briefing with James Clapper on the agency's phone surveillance program

By Jillian Rayfield

Published June 16, 2013 2:22PM (EDT)

Fifty-three senators reportedly skipped a briefing with James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, and other top intelligence officials, on the NSA's phone surveillance program, so they could catch flights home for the weekend, according to The Hill.

The Hill reports:

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.

Jillian Rayfield

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

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