POLITICS
06/20/2013 11:32 pm ET Updated Jun 21, 2013

Claire McCaskill On NSA Leaks: 'Guardian Has An Agenda'

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said Thursday that there is "context that's been missing" from the Guardian's reporting on the National Security Agency's secret surveillance programs, accusing the news organization of having an "agenda."

During an appearance on CNN, McCaskill said the Guardian, who first broke the story on the NSA's broad phone records collection, had distorted facts about the controversial programs.

“I think the Guardian has an agenda,” McCaskill told CNN's Jake Tapper. “I respect the fact that the Guardian is putting this information out there and that it’s been leaked, I get that’s the role of journalism. At the same time there’s been an awful lot of distortion around the facts of this information that’s come to light and an awful lot of context that’s been missing.”

While defending the secretive programs, McCaskill said it was critical to find a balance between transparency and protecting the American public.

“I think it’s like the background checks," she said. "We’ve got to be doing oversight, but there’s a rub here to the extent that all of this becomes very transparent, some of it becomes very ineffective in getting the bad guys. So we’ve got to find the right balance."

McCaskill, who sits on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said during a Thursday hearing that the company who vetted Edward Snowden, the former Booz Allen Hamilton employee who leaked details on the NSA programs to the Guardian, is currently under criminal investigation.

"We are limited in what we can say about this investigation because it is an ongoing criminal matter," McCaskill said. "But it is a reminder that background investigations can have real consequences for our national security."

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