SJC To Hold Additional Oversight Hearing On Government Surveillance Programs

Leahy To Preside Over Third Oversight Hearing In Recent Months

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a third oversight hearing on the government’s use of surveillance authorities later this month, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Wednesday.

Leahy has invited Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Gen. Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency, and Deputy Attorney General James Cole to testify before the Committee on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at a hearing titled “Continued Oversight of U.S. Government Surveillance Authorities.” Leahy also chaired oversight hearings in July and October on the scope of the government’s intelligence-gathering powers following revelations of massive collection of Americans’ phone records. Leahy last week introduced bipartisan legislation, the USA FREEDOM Act, to end this dragnet collection.

“The intelligence community faces a trust deficit, and I am particularly concerned that the NSA has strayed and overreached beyond its core missions,” Leahy said in a Record statement Wednesday.  “One important step toward rebuilding that trust would be for the NSA to spend less of its time collecting data on innocent Americans, and more on keeping our nation’s secrets safe and holding its own accountable.”

Additionally, the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, chaired by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), will hold a separate hearing next week on the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013. That hearing will be held next Wednesday.  Leahy is a cosponsor of Franken’s bill, which would provide more transparency about the number of FISA orders issued and the number of Americans affected.

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