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Senate Holds Hearing on Government Surveillance

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing this afternoon, "Continued Oversight of U.S. Government Surveillance Authorities." You can watch online here or at CSpan 3 here.

The Government's prepared statement is here. It begins:

Thank you for inviting us to continue our discussions with this Committee on our efforts to enhance public confidence in the important intelligence collection programs that have been the subject of unauthorized disclosures since earlier this year: the collection of bulk telephony metadata under the business records provision found in Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, and the targeting of non-U.S. persons overseas under Section 702 of FISA.

The statement details the Government's recent efforts to increase transparency and then lists a few changes to the FISA statute it willing to endorse, and several that it opposes. [More...]

While we remain open to working with Congress to effectuate meaningful reforms along the lines just described, we do not support legislation that would have the effect of ending the Section 215 program, which the Government continues to find valuable in protecting national security. And, while we support increased transparency, we do not support legislation that would require or permit public reporting of information concerning intelligence activities under FISA that could be used by our adversaries to evade surveillance, or which otherwise raises practical and operational concerns.

The Government statement also defends its collection of telephony metadata records.

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