On Friday, a bipartisan group of congressmen sent a letter to both U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper requesting a briefing. The topic? Yahoo’s scanning of all of its customers’ inbound emails for a search string given to them by U.S. intelligence agencies. While agencies like the NSA looking at our emails is no surprise after the Edward Snowden leaks, the Yahoo news was surprising because the tech companies don’t normally search the correspondence themselves for U.S. intelligence.
“There is significant confusion about which legal authority was used, and other outlets began offering materially different descriptions of the technical mechanism used to conduct the searches,” the letter reads, citing discrepancies between what Reuters and The New York Times reported. “As legislators, it is our responsibility to have accurate information about the intelligence activities conducted by the federal government. Accordingly, we request information and a briefing as soon as possible for all members of Congress to resolve the issues raised by these reports.”
Among the most recognizable names signing the letter are Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Mark Sanford (R-SC), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Darrell Issa (R-CA).