Surveillance limits could tighten
Published: Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and intelligence chiefs, hoping to stifle an outcry over the government's collection of personal communications data, said on Thursday they were open to measures tightening oversight of the government's sweeping electronic eavesdropping programs.
At a hearing on how to change the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to balance security and privacy concerns, the Senate Intelligence Committee revealed provisions of proposed legislation to set new controls on government surveillance.
Among other things, the measure would set tighter standards on which telephone and Internet records the National Security Agency can collect and limit the time that records can be held, said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the committee's chairwoman.
Acknowledging a “lowering of trust” in spy agencies, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said he would consider measures including limiting how long data is kept and releasing more information about how it is used.
Clapper and other witnesses, NSA Director Keith Alexander and Deputy Attorney Gen. James Cole, said they would consider allowing the appointment of an outside advocate for some important cases in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees the eavesdropping programs.
President Obama said in August he supported the idea, which is backed by many lawmakers.
The Intelligence Committee is considering requiring that analysts have a “reasonable articulable suspicion” that a telephone number was associated with terrorism before querying government telephone records, Feinstein said.
It would make the appointment of the director of the NSA subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Concern about surveillance — and privacy — has been growing since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information starting in June that the government collects far more Internet and telephone data than previously known.
Thursday's hearing was the latest in a series in Congress to address concerns over the scope of the NSA programs.
“There's no way to erase or make up for the damage that has already been done. We anticipate more as we continue our assessment,” Clapper said.
Many legislators — especially on the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees, which oversee the confidential programs — staunchly defended the surveillance.
The intelligence panel is due to debate its legislation next week, a prelude toward sending the bill for consideration by the full Senate.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Imam’s influence detailed as NYC terror trial begins
- Clinton donor pleads guilty in illegal campaign contributions
- Obamacare estimates beaten by 1M
- Law firm that cleared Christie recently gave $10K to GOP governors group
- Another arrest made in abduction of N.C. prosecutor’s father
- Scientists achieve cloning advance for use in treating diseases
- Denver wife killed 12 minutes into 911 call, sparking inquiry
- GAO finds just 1 percent of large partnerships audited by IRS
- Deal reached in Ukraine crisis talks, but U.S. remains wary of Russia’s end game
- Obama’s budget plan wildly off, CBO says
- National Portrait Gallery features abstract expressionism of familiar faces