The National Security Agency refuses to disclose how many Americans have had their communications monitored, claiming that the investigation itself would violate citizen's privacy, Wired's Danger Room reports. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) requested that the NSA disclose the number of Americans monitored under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which extends the agency's surveillance powers over American citizens. Their request was refused in this letter (obtained by Wired) from Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence I. Charles McCullough, who says that such an investigation is "beyond the capacity" of the agency, "would likely impede the NSA's mission," and "would itself violate the privacy of U.S. persons."

Last month a panel of Senators voted to extend the the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 until June 2017, while Senators Wyden and Udall voted against the extension and sought to obtain further information from the NSA. Their request was denied just in time for today's House Judiciary Committee meeting to vote on the renewal of the act.