When the host drew an analogy between the National Security Agency’s collection of data and the Internal Revenue Service scandals, Pompeo said: “Had there been this kind of oversight of Lois Lerner, this would not have happened.” He went on to explain that oversight of IRS is all by one branch of government, the executive branch. Oversight of NSA is “radically different,” he said.
Pompeo also noted that while we should not minimize the importance of the IRS scandals, national security is a much weightier matter.
Interestingly, the perception of the breadth of data that’s being collected may be overstated. In a June 18 hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Pompeo asked these questions of the Director of the NSA (video follows):
Pompeo: Gen. Alexander, from the data under Section 215 that’s collected, can you figure out the location of the person who made a particular phone call?
General Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency: Not beyond the area code.
Pompeo: Do you have any information about signal strength or tower direction? I’ve seen articles that talked about you having this information. I want to make sure for the record we’re got that right.
Alexander: We don’t have that in the database.