Sen. Rob Wyden (D-Ore.) said he plans to block the confirmation of Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh as the new leader of the National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Cyber Command until the NSA discloses information about surveillance programs.
“The American people have a right to know whether the NSA is conducting warrantless domestic surveillance of Americans in a manner that circumvents the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution,” he said in a statement placed in the Congressional Record this week.
Specifically, Wyden wants the NSA to show whether it is buying Americans’ location data and web browsing records.
The blockade is a procedural move that prevents swift consideration of a nominee. Gen. Paul Nakasone, the current head of the NSA and Cyber Command whose term already expired, will remain in those roles in the meantime.
Wyden’s move comes as Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) recently signaled that he may be willing to soften his nine-month hold on hundreds of military nominations and promotions, including Haugh’s.
“We’re going through all the people that are up for promotion,” Tuberville told reporters Thursday.
Wyden, the longest-serving member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, stepped in specifically on the Haugh nomination. He didn’t raise objections to Haugh’s background or qualifications.
Wyden said he received information marked with the dubious designation “Controlled Unclassified Information” in March 2021. The Pentagon has denied his requests to release the information publicly.
“I asked that the American people simply be provided yes or no answers as to whether the NSA is buying their location data and web browsing records,” Wyden said in his statement.
“Unfortunately, intelligence officials have been unwilling to release even that basic information.”