Top Democrat says no evidence of NSA spying on US lawmakers

Washington: A key House Democrat said today that there is no evidence the intelligence community was spying on members of Congress, following a report that the National Security Agency swept up some conversations with lawmakers in the course of spying on Israel.

Rep. Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said lawmakers were fully briefed on the issue yesterday. The Intelligence Committee chairman, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, asked for the committee briefing by the NSA and Director of National Intelligence following the report last week in The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal’s report said that even after the president announced he would limit spying on friendly heads of state, the NSA kept watch on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top Israeli officials, and in the process, the agency caught some conversations with U.S. Lawmakers.

Schiff said in a statement today that following the briefing, “There is no evidence that the intelligence community was spying on members, or that the laws and procedures governing any incidental collection on members of Congress were violated in any way.”

He said lawmakers would continue to watch the issue and explore whether additional safeguards are needed. Nunes’ spokesman, Jack Langer, said the chairman was still collecting information on the issue and had no immediate comment.