US Sens. Wyden and Merkley
  • US Sens. Wyden and Merkley

You know how US Sen. Jeff Merkley has made us proud in recent days? How he's been really offended at all these new intelligence disclosures, championing the public's right to know if they're being surveilled by the government, clamoring for better congressional oversight of these things?

Well, it turns out Merkley snubbed a shot at being let in the loop last year.

According to reports from Buzzfeed (of all places) and Politico, Merkley called a meeting of top intelligence folks on Capitol Hill, who arrived promptly and were ready to brief him and other senators (Sen. Ron Wyden among them) on the legal rationale for PRISM surveillance.

But Merkley had to leave early. He was scheduled to appear on MSNBC's Hardball.

"In this case, Senator Merkley thought the meeting would be on an area that he had already been briefed on, and when conflicts arose he missed the meeting," Spokesman Jamal Raad tells Politico.

This is not to say Merkley's attention on the issue is unappreciated (he's certainly doing his job better than New York Congressman Peter King, who's calling for charges against the journalist who broke the story). After all, the senator was engaged enough in these issues to call the meeting. Just not, apparently, to attend.