Stop the Secrecy

Slate: It's time for Privacy Advocates on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 15:02 -- Eva Prkachin

A little oversight never hurt anybody.

Article by Albert Wong for Slate

“It’s called protecting America,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, asserted in June 2013. In the aftermath of the Snowden leaks, she has defended the domestic surveillance conducted by the NSA as something that has “not been abused or misused” and is “essential,” “necessary and must be preserved.”

The chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary offers a sharply divergent view. We “have to have some checks and balances before [we] have a government that can run amok,” Sen. Patrick Leahy said in January. He has warned that the NSA’s domestic surveillance could lead to “the government controlling us instead of us controlling the government.”

It isn’t just rhetoric: Both Feinstein and Leahy have taken action. Feinstein introduced the FISA Improvements Act, passed by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on an 11–4 vote, which would provide explicit statutory authority for the NSA’s surveillance programs. In the other corner, Leahy introduced, with White House backing, the USA FREEDOM Act, which would strongly limit the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ records.

- Read more at Slate