Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, announced the witnesses who will testify at his hearing on legislation to help Americans hold the government accountable by increasing transparency over the government surveillance of American citizens. The legislation is currently considered the leading surveillance transparency bill in the Senate.
Chairman Franken's hearing will focus on the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013, which he first introduced this past summer. Last week, the bill was reintroduced with bipartisan support from Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.). The legislation would expand and improve ongoing government reporting about programs under the PATRIOT Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that have recently been the subject of controversy. It would also allow companies to report on the numbers of government information requests they receive, and the number of their users affected by those requests. These provisions will provide Americans with the basic information they need to decide for themselves whether the government is giving due weight to both privacy and national security.
"Minnesotans and the rest of the American public are naturally suspicious of executive power, and when things are done secretly, they tend to think that power is being abused," said Chairman Franken. "Right now, the public isn't getting the most basic information about what's going on with government surveillance programs. That needs to change. This bill goes a long way toward giving Americans the transparency they deserve, and I look forward to discussing it in my subcommittee."
The following witnesses will testify before the subcommittee:
The Honorable Senator Dean Heller of Nevada.
The Honorable Robert Litt, General Counsel, Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Brad Wiegmann, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division, Department of Justice.
Richard Salgado, Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security Matters, Google, Inc.
Kevin Bankston, Director, Free Expression Project, Center for Democracy and Technology.
WHO: Chairman Franken and the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law
WHAT: Hearing on the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013
WHEN: Wednesday, November 13 at 10:00 a.m. EST
WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226