Lawmakers press Lynch for briefing on Yahoo secret email scanning reports

October 14, 2016
In The News
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling for a briefing by Attorney General Loretta Lynch on reports that Yahoo searched all of its users emails at the behest of the U.S. government.
 
Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) on Friday penned a letter to Lynch and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, calling for clarity after reports that Yahoo complied with a U.S. intelligence request to scan all of its users’ emails in search of specific information.
 
“As legislators, it is our responsibility to have accurate information about the intelligence activities conducted by the federal government,” they wrote. 
 
“Accordingly, we request information and a briefing as soon as possible for all members of Congress to resolve the issues raised by these reports.”
 
The letter was co-signed by a bipartisan coalition of 48 representatives including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). 
 
Lawmakers have been hesitant to directly criticize Yahoo or intel officials over the reports. Earlier this month, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) issued a statement saying that if the National Security Agency had surveilled citizens in the manner described by reports, then “the executive branch has an obligation to notify the public.”
 
The American Civil Liberties Union was less cautious, as lawyer Patrick Toomey blasted both Yahoo and the government in a statement this month.
 
"The government appears to have compelled Yahoo to conduct precisely the type of general, suspicionless search that the Fourth Amendment was intended to prohibit,” Toomey wrote.
 
“It is deeply disappointing that Yahoo declined to challenge this sweeping surveillance order, because customers are counting on technology companies to stand up to novel spying demands in court.”