A bipartisan group of US senators is trying to ban the NSA’s blanket surveillance program in a radical bill proposed to the Senate Intelligence Committee. But a milder bill from chairwoman Diane Feinstein would sanction more snooping on US citizens.
Thursday’s Committee hearing on reforming the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reviewed the two rival bills in an effort to find a balance between security and privacy. The Committee is expected to have further lively debate on the proposed legislation next week, before the bill is sent for consideration by the full Senate.
Feinstein’s bill would also seek to expand the US government’s spying capabilities by authorizing the monitoring of terror suspects the NSA is tracking overseas when they arrive in the US.
Currently, when a suspected terrorist arrives in America, the NSA has to halt its surveillance, creating a legal loophole.
“I call it the terrorist lottery loophole,” said Republican Senator Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “If you can find your way from a foreign country where we have reasonable suspicion that you are … a terrorist … and get to the United States, under a current rule, they need to turn it off and do a complicated handoff to the FBI,” Rogers said.
The new bill would allow the NSA to legally continue eavesdropping on a person for seven days after arriving to the US without asking for authorization from a court.
Democratic Senator Wyden, who has been for years working with classified data as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also derided the NSA’s complaints about the damage to US national security caused by the recent leaks.
“You talk about the damage that has been done by disclosures, but any government official who thought this would never be disclosed was ignoring history. The truth always manages to come out,” he said.
- Sen. Feinstein: Press Must Stop Calling NSA Spying ‘Surveillance’ (news.antiwar.com)
- NSA defender Feinstein bows to growing pressure, says she’ll offer bill to limit surveillance programs (mcclatchydc.com)
- Official sidesteps queries on cellphone locations (news.yahoo.com)
- Feinstein Bill to Preserve NSA Phone Records Spying (forum.prisonplanet.com)
- Sen. Ron Wyden: NSA ‘repeatedly deceived the American people’ | Glenn Greenwald (theguardian.com)
- Feinstein may suggest changes to FISA today (mcclatchydc.com)
- NSA Chief Keith Alexander Hit With Too Few Tough Questions By Intelligence Committee (huffingtonpost.com)
- Senate pursues law to limit NSA surveillance (arkansasonline.com)
- Status Of Anti-NSA Legislation On The Hill (fortunascorner.wordpress.com)