Following a briefing for senators yesterday from U.S. intelligence officials regarding the recent disclosure of NSA terrorism surveillance programs encompassing a wide array of Americans' communications, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, said Congress must exercise its oversight responsibility to ensure these programs comply with the law, including looking at solutions to better protect the information of innocent Americans.
"I think there's an important congressional oversight role to play here to ensure the administration is using the authority it's been granted by Congress in a lawful manner. My support for anti-terrorism provisions has been based on the understanding that our government would be targeting foreign terrorism suspects under strict limits and with appropriate oversight and protections for the civil liberties of innocent Americans. The classified briefing from the intelligence community provided for senators yesterday was helpful in providing information about the extent and the purpose of accessing Americans' communications in this way, but Congress should continue to work with the administration to address civil liberties concerns without undermining important tools to prevent terrorist attacks on our country," said Corker.
In advance of yesterday's intelligence briefing, Senator Corker sent a letter to President Obama seeking answers and a briefing regarding reports of the NSA's collection of U.S. phone records on Verizon's network of 121 million customers.