The Washington Post

Leahy proposes new oversight of surveillance programs

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., left, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., right, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, prepare for a hearing with FBI Director Robert Mueller, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 19, 2013. As Mueller nears the end of his 12 years as head of the law enforcement agency, the committee questioned him about the IRS, surveillance activities, and the Boston Marathon bombing. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) talks with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)  on June 19, 2013. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)  unveiled a set of proposals Monday designed to increase oversight of and install safeguards against abuse in the federal government's surveillance programs.

Leahy's bill, dubbed the FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act, would:

* Shorten the current FISA authorization by two years, making it and the Patriot Act come up for renewal at the same time in June 2015.

* Increase the evidence threshold for obtaining records through Section 215 of the Patriot Act — the section under which the PRISM program operated.

* Order formal reviews of Section 215 and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act -- the section under which collection of Americans' phone records occurred.

* Call for increased disclosure of National Security Letters and FISA decisions and an unclassified report summarizing their impact on Americans' privacy.

Leahy has proposed such reforms previously, when FISA and the Patriot Act were being renewed, but this time he has a Republican co-sponsor and potentially more bipartisan momentum  in light of recent disclosures of sensitive national security programs.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

“The recent public revelations about two classified data collection programs have brought renewed attention to the use of government surveillance powers, which deserve close scrutiny by Congress,” Leahy said in a statement. “The comprehensive legislation that I am introducing today will not only improve the privacy protections and accountability provisions associated with these authorities, but also strengthen oversight and transparency provisions in other parts of the USA Patriot Act.”

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
Republicans debate tonight. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
He says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything in the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read

politics

post-politics

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.