And in one previously undisclosed episode, the N.S.A. tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant, according to a U.S. intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter.
The agency believed that the congressman, whose identity could not be determined, was in contact as part of a congressional delegation to the Middle East in 2005 or 2006 with an extremist who had possible terrorist ties and was already under surveillance, the official said. The agency then sought to eavesdrop on the congressman’s conversations to gather more intelligence, the official said.
The official said the plan was ultimately blocked because of concerns from some officials in the intelligence community about the idea of using the N.S.A., without court oversight, to spy on a member of Congress. |NY Times|
Warrentless wiretapping aside, what was the NSA doing investigating a congressman's contacts?
Adding: I guess the defense of this episode must go, "They weren't investigating a congressman at all! They were investigating an extremist with possible terrorist ties, and it just happened that the congressman had contact with that person, and so very naturally they wanted to listen in on some of his conversations. But they didn't, is the point!"
Well, Ok, but not everyone is a congressman and now you've got me imagining a bunch of NSA officers relaxing with a beer and playing six degrees of Osama Bin Laden.