House Judiciary chair on NSA surveillance: ‚ÄėFurther protections are necessary‚Äô
Republican congressman Bob Goodlatte calls for ‚Äėrobust oversight‚Äô of NSA programs and that ‚Äėfurther protections are necessary‚Äô
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said on Wednesday that he believed ‚Äúfurther protections are necessary‚ÄĚ to protect Americans‚Äô civil liberties from the nation‚Äôs surveillance programs.
After a classified hearing with senior intelligence officials, Republican congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) called for ‚Äúrobust oversight‚ÄĚ of intelligence programs.
‚ÄúOver the past few months, the House Judiciary Committee has conducted vigorous oversight of our nation‚Äôs foreign surveillance programs, including today‚Äôs classified hearing,‚ÄĚ Goodlatte said.
‚ÄúI appreciate the witnesses‚Äô testimony today further detailing these programs and the current practices employed by the agencies to protect US citizens‚Äô civil liberties.
However, I am convinced that further protections are necessary.‚ÄĚ
At the classified hearing on Wednesday, members of the committee questioned a number of officials from the NSA, FBI, Department of Justice and the office of the director of national intelligence.
Goodlatte‚Äôs call for further protections is a sign of the dissatisfaction in Congress over the NSA‚Äôs surveillance programs. In July, an amendment calling for stricter controls over the administration‚Äôs use of phone call data failed by only 12 votes in Congress.
‚ÄúI am committed to working with members of the committee, House leaders, and other members of Congress to ensure our nation‚Äôs intelligence collection programs include robust oversight, additional transparency, and protections for Americans‚Äô civil liberties,‚ÄĚ Goodlatte said on Wednesday.
He added that any enhanced protections should maintain ‚Äúa workable legal framework for national security officials to keep our country safe from foreign enemies‚ÄĚ.
Goodlatte urged his fellow members of Congress to vote no on an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act in July. That amendment was introduced by Michigan Republican Justin Amash, who said his aim was to ‚Äúdefend the Fourth Amendment, to defend the privacy of each and every American.‚ÄĚ
The final vote was 205 in favor and 217, with the measure only failing after an unlikely bipartisan coalition including Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Republican House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) rallied party members against it.
Goodlatte suggested at the time that he thought the Amash amendment too gung-ho but insisted he was supportive of stricter controls on surveillance.
‚ÄúWhile many members have legitimate questions about the NSA metadata program, including whether there are sufficient protections for Americans‚Äô civil liberties, eliminating this program altogether without careful deliberation would not reflect our duty, under article I of the constitution, to provide for the common defense,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúWe are committed to assisting all of our colleagues in reviewing this program, and we will continue to develop appropriate additional protections.
‚ÄúWe believe such changes should recognize both the privacy interests and security needs of every American, while reflecting actual intelligence and law enforcement operations.‚ÄĚ