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Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Reports of Unauthorized Surveillance by the National Security Agency

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[Last year during the debate over reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) sought to strengthen independent oversight by offering an amendment to mandate an inspector general audit and a shorter expiration date. Although this proposal was not included then, he has re-introduced legislation that contains many of those same proposals. The Leahy-Lee bill also addresses other key provisions of the PATRIOT Act, including Section 215, the provision used to justify the bulk collection of telephone records.]

The American people rely on the intelligence community to provide forthright and complete information so that Congress and the courts can properly conduct oversight. I remain concerned that we are still not getting straightforward answers from the NSA.

I plan to hold another hearing on these matters in the Judiciary Committee and will continue to demand honest and forthright answers from the intelligence community. Using advanced surveillance technologies in secret demands close oversight and appropriate checks and balances, and the American people deserve no less than that.


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