In the wake of the Obama Administration’s nod towards greater transparency for its surveillance programs, some members of Congressional intelligence and judiciary committees now say that they have not had the proper opportunity to understand, much less challenge these programs. “In terms of the oversight function, I feel inadequate most of the time,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a member of the House Intelligence Committee. She spoke with The Washington Post on Saturday evening, admitting that while the programs were “approved” by Congress—”Was it approved by a fully knowing Congress? That is not the case.” Part of the problem is the mechanism by which lawmakers are granted access to intelligence officials and relevant classified material. During classified hearings, civil libertarians and others that may have an opposing or differing view are not in the room to present their case to House of Representatives members or senators. Further, House members and senators told The Post, “intelligence officials would not volunteer details if questions were not asked with absolute precision.”     

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