Skepticism grows among lawmakers over NSA surveillance


9196665099_f7563938d7photo by WilliamBanzaix

WASHINGTON—Republican and Democrat lawmakers expressed renewed skepticism Wednesday about the scope of the government’s surveillance operations and threatened to revoke authority for one of the programs recently disclosed by a former National Security Agency contractor that collects telephone records on tens of millions of Americans.

“I feel very uncomfortable about using aggregated…data on everybody,” Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., told Justice Department and NSA officials appearing before a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

“This is unsustainable, outrageous and must be stopped immediately.”

Noting mounting concerns since details about the telephone records program and a separate operation that collects the communications of non-U.S. citizens abroad were disclosed last month, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said there “are not enough votes to renew” the authority, at least for the vast phone records collection effort.

“This program has gone off the tracks,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said, “and it needs to be reined in.”

But Justice Department and NSA officials asserted that the programs were the subject of strict oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Congress and agency officials.

“This is not done in some rogue manner,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole told the panel. “We know of no one who has abused this in a way that would have caused discipline.”

Though former NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed the existence of the operations without authorization prompting criminal charges related to espionage, Deputy NSA Director Chris Inglis said the government has no evidence that he “abused the data.”

The strong questioning from lawmakers comes more than a month after Snowden’s disclosures triggered a heated debate over the intersection of the government’s surveillance authority and personal privacy rights.

Snowden has taken refuge in the transit area of a Moscow airport since fleeing Hong Kong last month to avoid extradition to the U.S.

Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., said that while he was “satisfied” that government officials overseeing the programs were acting in good faith, he said there was “concern that this could evolve into something quite different.”

“How do we keep this from evolving into an unchecked weapon that can be used against people’s rights?”

Cole said the phone record collection program contained multiple safeguards against inappropriate breaches of privacy. Echoing defenses offered by other administration officials, he said collection did not involve the content of phone calls, nor did it include the names of the parties to the calls.

“You can’t just wander through these records,” he said.

Responding to repeated questions about the vast nature of the collection effort, Cole said at one point: “If you are looking for the needle in a haystack, you have to have the haystack.”

Advertisements

About Old Boy

Love the past and the future but live in the present

Posted on July 21, 2013, in Crime, Government, Human rights and Liberties, politics, USA and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. The defenses for this level of surveillance are unsustainable. The ‘haystack’ they refer to is cart Blanche data collection on every citizen. It doesn’t matter that there are strict rules for it’s use. It’s still espionage against the US populace that rides roughshod over 4th Amendment freedoms. The fact that some sections of government and related corporate agencies feel they are entitled to this power is as egregious as it is blind to history.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Anybody Got A Match?

A Modern Look at Classic Hollywood

wildfiremovies

An award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter talks movies.

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Through the Shattered Lens

Where mainstream meets grindhouse, exploitation, otaku and gamers

The Darkest Art

A journey through dark art.

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

Like For Real Dough

For Those Who Wish To Be Entertained

off the leash

History, technology, books and baseball.

LEANNE COLE

Fine Art Photographer ~ Daring to be Different

Tripambitions

It contains the world best places and things.

Mademoiselle FANTASY

one person, one blog

Mary Miley's Roaring Twenties

A Unique Decade in American History

Cinematic

Read My Thoughts on Film, Television, and Music

I Found it at the Movies

My Life as a Movie Lover

Canadian Cinephile

"For me, cinema is a vice. I love it intimately." Fritz Lang

Dispatches from the Asylum

I believe in only one thing and that thing is human liberty ~ H.L. Mencken

Jacolette:

a gallery of Irish snapshot and vernacular photography.

lifesdailylessonsblog

Exploring life lessons though the Arts

Classic for a Reason

Reviews of Classic Films

Burrello Submarine's Movie Blog

cinema esoterica obscura

Motion Picture Blog

Indie Film Reviews & Essential Film Lists

First Night Design

Art, Design, Theatre, Literature, History, Food, Laughter ...

Paddy Healy's Blog

In defence of Education and the Public Services

shivashishspeaks

ALL U WANNA KNOW

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Movies Tavern

Horror e Exploitation, B-Movies & Trash, Rarità e Capolavori. Insomma, ciò che mi piace.

CravenWild

The life and times of a filmmaker: fashion, beauty, books and life.

spearfruit

....................................it's my life

vinnieh

Movie reviews and anything else that comes to mind

renxkyoko's space

Just another WordPress.com site

TheMarckoguy

"TheMarckoguy" is the alternate name for Markus. Markus is a human who reviews stuff.

Tippity Tappin Away in the Coffee Shop

I write a lot, and I wanted a place to share my flash fiction stories.

/ EXPERIENCE OF THINKING / EXPÉRIENCE DE PENSÉE / ESPERIENZA DI PENSIERO /

The world is everything that is the case. --- Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Erin's Movie corner

Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn

Come Here To Me!

Dublin Life & Culture.

Ghost Dog

Notes From the Underground with Pictures

Karmic Reaction Blog

:Arts, Culture, History, Music, Politics, Science, Writing:

Product of Half-glass.com

An average guy capable of discussing TV & film on a higher level but would rather do it from the couch.

Kate Bowyers Media Adventure

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” — Maya Angelou

Reel Realities

A blog about my love for movies

%d bloggers like this: