NSA Might Not be Reading Your Tweets, But Sen. Mikulski Is

By Joseph Marks

June 12, 2013

Among online networking giants, Twitter alone appears to have not cooperated with a National Security Agency program known as Prism that mined some Americans’ online data.

Twitter found its way into the Prism discussion on Wednesday, though, when Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., read a reporter’s tweet out loud during an Appropriations Committee hearing at which NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander was testifying.

Buzzfeed reporter Rosie Gray tweeted that Mikulski was trying to steer other senators away from questioning Alexander about Prism and back toward the hearing’s official topic: cybersecurity. 

.@senatorbarb is trying hard to keep the other senators from asking Gen. Alexander anymore about data mining programs

— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) June 12, 2013

Mikuslki, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, responded:

Not everyone might be watching C-Span so I want to say to Rosie and to others who might read from Rosie, there is no attempt here to muscle [or] stifle any senator from asking any line of question. We have an open hearing. The purpose of the hearing was on the enduring war of cybersecurity. While we might be concerned about data mining and who’s reading the phone records, etc., we’re also concerned about stealing, the cyber fraud that’s going on against our senior citizens, our identity theft, stealing cures for our cancer that are pending over at FDA. So we’re here on cyber but any senator can ask any question at this hearing that they want to. So, Rosie, it’s an open hearing.

The senator closed by saying: “Hi. Look forward to keeping in touch,” presumably addressing the Buzzfeed reporter directly, while she waved, smiled and raised her Blackberry.

Mikulski later offered a similar response, but condensed to 140 characters, via Twitter and linked to the hearing’s C-Span video.

.@rosiegray there is no attempt here to muzzle any senator from any line of questions at any @senateapprops hearing c-spanvideo.org/clip/4455639

— Barbara Mikulski (@SenatorBarb) June 12, 2013

By Joseph Marks

June 12, 2013

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