OUR VOICE: SD senators miss NSA briefing

Farm Forum

There was some outrage this week when it was reported that only 47 of the country’s 100 senators attended a closed-door briefing Thursday about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

While much of the country is alarmed by the revelation that the NSA has been parsing through cellphone records, text messages, emails and other forms of communication, it has been reported that many senators were taking advantage of the long Father’s Day weekend to get back home early.

We didn’t realize Father’s Day warranted a long weekend, but we digress.

For the record, we asked if South Dakota senators Tim Johnson and John Thune attended Thursday’s briefing.

“Senator (Harry) Reid closed votes early on Thursday due to weather that was expected to impact travel, and Senator Thune had official events in the state on Friday,” Thune’s press secretary Rachel Knust said. “Senator Thune attended the previous NSA classified member briefing on security provisions of the PATRIOT Act.”

“No. Senator Johnson was conducting other Senate business,” wrote Johnson representative Kate Cichy.

Did our two senators use their time wisely? We will leave that to the voters to decide.

— American News editorial board