On Friday morning, President Barack Obama defended his administration’s massive telephone records surveillance programs by explaining that “every member of Congress has been briefed on this program.”

There’s only one problem: both Republican and Democrat Congresspeople say that isn’t true. On Friday afternoon, the press office for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), one of the authors of the Patriot Act, tweeted, “Obama’s claim that ‘every Member of Congress’ was briefed is FALSE.”

It wasn’t just Sensenbrenner. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said that only certain members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees had been told about the program, and he only knew about it because he received “special permission” to be briefed after hearing about it through the grapevine. “I knew about the program,” he said on MSNBC, “because I specifically sought it out. It’s not something that’s briefed outside the Intelligence Committee.” Merkley added that the administration had ignored the law. “Clearly the administration has not followed what an ordinary person would consider to be the standard of the law here,” he said.

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