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Senator Wyden could have spoken out before Snowden..

An excellent article which explains that Senator Wyden could have spoken out.


The U.S. Constitution guarantees that elected representatives "shall not be questioned in any other Place … for any Speech or Debate in either House." In other words, they cannot be prosecuted for reading classified material into the public record -- and it is up to them, and them alone, to decide what is worth talking about.

This principle has deep roots. During the run-up to the English Civil War, members of the House of Commons were imprisoned in the Tower of London for as long as 11 years between 1629 and 1640. Their offense: insisting on their right to debate central questions of religious freedom, despite King Charles I's claim that these issues lay within his royal prerogative. The freedom of parliamentary debate was therefore an important principle of the Glorious Revolution, leading to its codification in the epochal Bill of Rights of 1689. This provision was the model for the American founders' constitutional text.

In the United States, congressional freedom of speech was last put to the test during the Pentagon Papers affair at the time of the Vietnam War. Invoking the "speech or debate clause," Daniel Ellsberg -- with whom Snowden has been compared -- approached members of Congress and tried to persuade them to submit the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record. Only after they refused did he leak them to the New York Times and Washington Post. When Richard Nixon's administration obtained injunctions in the lower courts, Ellsberg returned to Congress with more success. With the decision still pending before the Supreme Court, Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) placed 4,000 pages of the Pentagon Papers into the record at a committee hearing. Even if the court had failed to protect the newspapers, Gravel's action ensured that the truth would come out. A year later, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed Gravel's right to publish documents labeled "Top-Secret: Sensitive" under the speech or debate clause.

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With George Bush and Obama henchmen/women

Running around still defending the NSA, why focus on Wyden?

That would be like blaming Ron Paul for not doing enough to audit the Fed.

Wyden is no Ron Paul, but the guy deserves a bit of credit for speak out against the NSA.

Wyden was speaking out when "government spying" was still considered a lunatic "conspiracy theory" here at the DP.

Some people have short memories.


He comes across as pretty fake and pernicious. Should replace him if Wisconsin is paying attention.

his reasoning i think

I think those members of congress that are concerned about intelligence agency abuse are afraid to chase the intelligence community further underground away from their oversight ability. if members of congress used the speech and debate clause frequently, the intelligence community would not tell them anything in the closed door meetings at all anymore.

I think Wyden should've done it in this instance, but I think this sheds light on his reasoning for not doing it, his reasoning for continuing his whole I can't tell you but they're doing something bad angle. he was afraid that while he'd get this info into the public eye, after the public firestorm blew over the next things the intelligence community did would never even come to congress at all. he must have felt he was accomplishing something with what he was doing. anyway, I do agree he should've stood up and said something in congress, but it's possible he has some logic for not having done so.

I would like to see Wyden interviewed and

asked why he didnt' do this. Seems like a pretty enormous lapse on his part, that he could have done it much more securely than Snowden did. And earlier than Snowden did too

He's more like Senator Jay Rockefeller

He is complicit and fully on record as being one who refuses to disclose details that should be public knowledge. I'd like to see him grilled on Freedom Watch.


I would call for Senator Ron Wyden to be replaced with a new senator right away, however I'm sure the public is finally realizing that. He in no way should ever oversee something as bureaucratic as the NSA.

SteveMT's picture

Change the "could" to "should," and include all of them.

The Founders anticipated much, except the depths to which the central bankers would go to get want they want. Once a politician is owned, the Constitution is rendered irrelevant and what remains is Kabuki theater.

Washington Post article about Wyden

and what he has been doing with this (since May 2011)

"With NSA revelations, Sen. Ron Wyden’s vague warnings about privacy finally become clear
By David A. Fahrenthold,July 28, 2013

"It was one of the strangest personal crusades on Capitol Hill: For years, Sen. Ron Wyden said he was worried that intelligence agencies were violating Americans’ privacy.

But he couldn’t say how. That was a secret."

more at:


I don't get it, Puma

On the one hand, you are right - Congress should have the right to information
and they have a responsibility to inform their colleagues and us if they think
we need know something critical - good job for showing why that's the case
and the historical precedents.

OTOH - what's the preoccupation with beating up on Wyden when he (and Sen. Udall)
have done more than almost anyone in congress to get people's attention about this stuff?
At least they are making some attempt to be part of the solution - as opposed to the
all too numerous lying statist scumbags (Peter King, Lindsay Graham, Chuck Scumer,
McCain, Feinstein etc., etc.) that are definitely part of the problem. How about we save
some outrage for *them*?

From March, 2012:


He's not the only one.

This piece comes from posting on the Daily Paul, and the article is December 2012.

Great find.

Sen. Mike Gravel was a decent person.