The Watergate scandal was a watershed moment in domestic American affairs. President Richard M. Nixon used his power to direct intelligence agencies to cover up his involvement in a break-in that was meant to acquire insider knowledge about political rivals, as revealed in audio recordings he was compelled to disclose.

In a satirical piece appearing in The Freelance Star on May 15, 1973, Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, and Leonid Brezhnev, the communist party secretariat of the U.S.S.R., engaged in a faux conversation about the differences between the American and Soviet political systems. In it, Brezhnev appeared baffled at Nixon’s inability to maintain control of the unraveling scandal, asking Kissinger why the president didn’t simply throw the journalists in jail, torture the bureaucrats, and “shoot everyone who had anything to do with Watergate, so that nobody would talk?” Brezhnev concludes the conversation:

I’m not sure I want to meet with a world leader who doesn’t know how to bug his enemies without getting caught.

It seems the satirized Brezhnev would be just as lukewarm about meeting with modern presidents as he was with Old Tricky Dick.

Following Nixon’s resignation, Sen. Frank Church led a massive reform effort—the Church Committee—to reign in the excesses of the national intelligence community. It spawned the most significant intelligence reforms since the creation of the FBI, CIA, and NSA. Although the recent passage of the USA FREEDOM Act has accurately been described as the most substantive pro-privacy reform package since the mid-1970s, many are still calling for a new Church Committee to address intelligence oversight, obfuscation, and overreach. And it’s no wonder why.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the NSA had “incidentally” collected the private conversations of U.S. lawmakers. The agency’s target had been Israeli leaders–mainly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu–who were creating a “political minefield” during the U.S.-Iran nuclear agreement talks this past fall. And the White House, wary of leaving a paper trail, decided to grant the NSA the decision over what it should disclose and what it should withhold regarding these surveillance activities. The NSA’s claim that these collections were merely “incidental” to the true targets brings to mind vivid recollections of James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, stating that the NSA did not vacuum up information on American citizens“wittingly”—a statement later proven to be a false and misleading in after Snowden’s revelations.

As reported by TechDirt, although spying on Congress is technically off-limits,

In reality, the NSA can grab anything involving conversations with foreign citizens, provided it feels the content of the communications contains “significant foreign intelligence.” Even so, the NSA is required to inform oversight committees when it has released unminimized, Congress-related communications to the executive branch. In this case, that information was never turned over to the oversight committees, and the executive branch deferred entirely to the NSA’s judgment on the withholding of this information.

The Obama Administration seems to be doing Nixon proud. But the most intriguing element of this story isn’t the fact that the NSA was spying on an allied leader, nor even that it spied on Congress. Rather, this story illuminates a clear double standard applied to the ongoing surveillance debate.

Writing for The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald has a great piece on the propensity for “political officials who are vehement supporters of the Surveillance State [to] transform overnight into crusading privacy advocates once they learn that they themselves have been spied on.” This is an important point worth mulling over. As both heads of state—like Angela Merkel and Benjamin Netanyahu—and public officials—including Sen. Dianne Feinstein and, most recently, Rep. Pete Hoekstra—come to realize it is they who are the targets of indiscriminate surveillance, their tunes on the surveillance state make abrupt about-faces.

So when the government spies on average Americans, sans any adherence to due process or the rule of law, it’s fine since it’s done in the name of national security. And if someone needs to be chastised, the hammer of the state falls on the heads of whistleblowers. But when members of Congress are subjected to such invasions of privacy, it’s an outrage that requires calling out the real perpetrators: the intelligence community.

Although I generally agree with Greenwald’s assertion that these Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus experiences leading legislators to a “sudden, self-interested embrace of the value of privacy” are somewhat hypocritical, there is nonetheless a silver lining. Some of the intelligence community’s biggest cheerleaders are members of Congress, and as the extent of the NSA’s perennial intrusions into lawmakers’ conversations continually come to light, the agencies will begin losing more and more support amongst representatives.

At least, that’s the hope.

Unfortunately, while the rhetoric from some lawmakers has changed in response to the piecemeal revelations of the NSA’s overreach, their legislative dispositions have yet to realign. Though she expressed considerable outrage at the surveillance being conducted on Senators engaged in reviewing the CIA’s torture programs, Sen. Dianne Feinstein nonetheless continues to support legislation that that would grant more power to the intelligence community, imperil the Fourth Amendment rights of U.S. citizens, or weaken those technologies that can help innocent Americans circumvent the unconstitutional surveillance imposed upon them.

Responding to an inquiry from the Washington Post, the NSA maintained that “Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons.” To the extent that all of us are now subject to the whims of the surveillance state, it would appear that is true.