Why Are The Congressional Intelligence Committees So Quiet On The NSA Malware Leaks?

Mike Masnick
Techdirt

Last week, we wrote about the leak of various NSA hacking tools, that showed it had zero-day exploits for a bunch of hardware, including some from Cisco. This has raised some concerns about how long the NSA sat on these vulnerabilities without telling companies — along with reaffirming what many people already suspected: that the supposed “Vulnerabilities Equities Program” (VEP), in which the NSA is supposed to disclose the vulnerabilities it finds to the companies to patch, is a complete joke.

But Marcy Wheeler has another important point about all of this. When the Snowden documents originally leaked three plus years ago, the various top members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees — the so-called Gang of Four — were quick to speak out (and condemn) the leak. But, oddly, this time they’re staying pretty quiet.

Within hours of the first Snowden leak, Dianne Feinstein and Mike Rogers had issued statements about the phone dragnet. As far as I’ve seen, Adam Schiff is the only Gang of Four member who has weighed in on this

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also spoke with Mary Louise. He said he couldn’t comment on the accuracy of any reports about the leak.

But he said, “If these allegations were true, I’d be very concerned about the impact on the intelligence community. I’d also obviously want to know who the responsible parties were. … If this were a Russian actor — and again, this is multiple ‘ifs’ here — we’d have to ask what is causing this escalation.”

Say, Congressman Schiff. Aren’t you the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee and couldn’t you hold some hearings to get to the bottom of this?

Meanwhile, both Feinstein (who is the only Gang of Four member not campaigning for reelection right now) and Richard Burr have been weighing in on recent events, but not the Shadow Brokers release.

If the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were really about “oversight” of the NSA, then shouldn’t they have jumped on this immediately? Shouldn’t they be looking into how the NSA manages the VEP? Shouldn’t they be looking into how these tools got out? Why are they just staying silent or giving meaningless statements like Schiff’s?