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:
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.