Monday, November 18, 2013

Senate intelligence panel sharply split on surveillance reforms

November 15, 2013

The Senate Intelligence Committee split sharply on proposals to rein in National Security Agency surveillance programs last month, rejecting several potentially significant reforms by a single vote, according to a formal committee report published this week.

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In a closed session on Halloween the panel voted, 11-4, to approve legislation addressing the public outcry over U.S. government snooping that followed leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations about a massive telephone call-tracking database and other programs collecting huge volumes of internet traffic.

While the committee billed the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Improvements Act of 2013 as a means to increase “privacy protections and public transparency of the National Security Agency call-records program,” the 15-member panel narrowly defeated a series of amendments senators offered proposing stricter reforms.

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