Senators seek review of NSA spying – Lois Lerner at heart of tea party scandal retires

A bipartisan group of senators is calling for the inspector general of the intelligence community to do a comprehensive review of spying by the National Security Agency.

nsaspy_small3 Senators seek review of NSA spying - Lois Lerner at heart of tea party scandal retires

Nine members of the Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Patrick Leahy and top Republican Charles Grassley, sent a letter Monday to the inspector general seeking a review of two programs collecting data on telephone and Internet usage. The programs were authorized under the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the USA Patriot Act.

The lawmakers want to know how information about Americans was collected, retained, analyzed and disseminated. Disclosures about the programs this summer raised questions about protection of privacy rights as the government argued they were necessary tools to fight terrorism.

The lawmakers asked what steps were taken to protect Americans’ privacy.

IRS official at heart of tea party scandal retires

The Internal Revenue Service says an official at the center of the agency’s tea party scandal is retiring.

Lois Lerner headed the IRS division that handles applications for tax-exempt status when she was placed on paid leave in May. While she was in charge, the agency acknowledged that agents improperly targeted tea party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status from 2010 to 2012.

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Lerner first disclosed the targeting at a law conference in May, when she was asked a planted question about IRS treatment of political groups. Less than two weeks later, she refused to answer questions at a congressional hearing, citing her constitutional right not to incriminate herself.

Republicans in Congress have repeatedly called for her to be fired.

 

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