A Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee wrote a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats this week that accused him of not answering a charged question during a recent public hearing.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., didn't buy Coats' answer to the inquiry he posed last week regarding the collection of intelligence between U.S. citizens and non-citizens outside of the United States.
"At the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's open hearing on June 7, 2017, I asked you the following question and requested a yes or no response: 'Can the government use FISA Act Section 702 to collect communications it knows are entirely domestic.' You responded: 'Not to my knowledge. It would be against the law,'" Wyden wrote, according to The Hill.
Wyden accused Coats of playing semantics and included Coats' statement on the subject that was put out after the hearing:
"Section 702 (b) (4) plainly states we 'may not intentionally acquire any communication as to which the sender and all intended recipients are known at the time of acquisition to be located in the United States,'" Coats wrote. "The DNI interpreted Senator Wyden's question to ask about this provision and answered accordingly."
Wyden fired back in his letter, "That was not my question. Please provide a public response to my question, as asked at the June 7, 2017, hearing."
The issue of intelligence collection on U.S. citizens has made headlines in recent months. It was reported in May that the Obama administration requested to unmask the names of nearly 2,000 Americans who were caught up in the gathering of intelligence last year.
Coats and NSA Director Mike Rogers were grilled in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee last week on several topics, including the Russia investigation.
It was reported earlier this month that Trump asked Coats if he could ask now former FBI Director James Comey to ease up the bureau's Russia investigation — a fact Coats would not confirm during last week's hearing.
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