Sealed July ‘03 Letter: Rockefeller Warned of ‘Profound Oversight Issues’ With Warrantless Spying Program

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, first learned of the Bush administration’s warrantless domestic spying program on July 17, 2003.

That day, he wrote a letter to the White House (it was handwritten, since he couldn’t share details about the program with his staff). Rockefeller warned of “profound oversight issues,” and said he was “unable to evaluate, much less endorse these activities.”

Today, Rockefeller released that sealed letter, and criticized the administration for claiming that its briefings with members of Congress on the spying program constituted anything resembling “oversight”:

For the last few days, I have witnessed the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General repeatedly misrepresent the facts.

The record needs to be set clear that the Administration never afforded members briefed on the program an opportunity to either approve or disapprove the NSA program. The limited members who were told of the program were prohibited by the Administration from sharing any information about it with our colleagues, including other members of the Intelligence Committees.

Below, an excerpt of the original letter he wrote in 2003:

You can read the full letter here.