Political Radar

'Troubling details'

June 12th, 2013

U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono are among 13 Senators calling for an investigation into National Security Agency surveillance programs recently uncovered by media that may place at risk the privacy of millions of Americans.

In a letter sent Wednesday to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board -- an independent agency created by Congress charged with overseeing actions of the executive branch -- the senators detailed their concerns over the two programs, one that gathers hundreds of millions of U.S. cellphone records; the other collected Internet usage data on foreign users from nine U.S. tech companies.

The letter was posted online on the Scribd account of U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. and asks the Board to make it an urgent priority to review the matters and provide an unclassified report to Congress and the public. The full letter:

2013 Letter to Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board by Tom Udall

The programs are authorized under provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Both Schatz and Hirono in December voted against a measure reauthorizing amendments made in 2008 to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

All senators are scheduled to be briefed on the programs Thursday by officials from the NSA, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and it’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee were briefed Tuesday. All House members also were invited to a similar briefing.

2 Responses to “'Troubling details'”

  1. Kolea:

    We now have Senators Hirono and Schatz expressing concerns about these government surveillance programs. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard signed a similar letter from freshman members of congress.

    Where is Colleen Hanabusa in all this? Hanabusa is the only member of the Hawaii delegation to have supported an extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I worry she is defining herself as what used to be called a "Cold War Democrat," ingratiating herself with the military (and "national security") industrial complex" in exchange for campaign contributions and the ability to bring federal military spending into Hawaii.

    In addition to large military bases in Hawaii, we also "host" major NSA facilities at Pearl Harbor and Whitmore Village. Just as some members of congress support expanding military spending in other states as part of the horse-trading necessary to bring military "pork" into their state, we must assume similar dynamics create unquestioning support for the NSA, the National Reconnaissance Office and other government spying agencies.

    Has Hanabusa set herself on that career track?

  2. Goober:

    For the one bird.

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