Grassley Calling for IG Review of Surveillance Authorities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 24 September 2013 11:41

Monday, September 23, 2013

 

Senate Judiciary Committee Members Call for IG Review of Surveillance Authorities

Senators Request “a full accounting of how these authorities are being implemented across the Intelligence Community”

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of nine Senate Judiciary Committee members, led by Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley of Iowa, sent a letter Monday calling for the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community to conduct a full-scale review of the use of surveillance authorities and make public the findings.

Specifically, the senators are asking for detailed information on the surveillance of Americans under FISA and Patriot Act authorities and any misuse of these authorities over the last three years. Other Senators who joined the letter include: Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona.

“We urge you to conduct comprehensive reviews of these authorities and provide a full accounting of how these authorities are being implemented across the Intelligence Community,” the senators wrote. “The IC Inspector General was created in 2010 for this very purpose.  Providing a publicly available summary of the findings and conclusions of these reviews will help promote greater oversight, transparency, and public accountability.”

The bipartisan letter is part of the Judiciary Committee’s continuing oversight in this area.  The committee held a high-profile hearing in July featuring testimony from top administration officials. The committee will hold an additional hearing next week featuring testimony from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Gen. Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency.

A copy of the September 23 letter to the IG of the Intelligence Community is below.

 

September 23, 2013

The Honorable I. Charles McCullough III

Inspector General of the Intelligence Community

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Washington, DC 20511

 

Dear Inspector General McCullough:

Recent disclosures about classified government surveillance activities have generated significant public discussion about the breadth of these programs, many of which are conducted pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and the need for appropriate oversight and checks and balances.

In particular, concerns have arisen about activities conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and Section 702 of FISA, which was enacted as part of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.  Recently declassified documents appear to reveal numerous violations of law and policy in the implementation of these authorities, including what the FISA Court characterized as three “substantial misrepresentation[s]” to the Court.  These declassified documents also demonstrate that the implementation of these authorities involves several components of the Intelligence Community (IC), including the National Security Agency, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, among others.

We urge you to conduct comprehensive reviews of these authorities and provide a full accounting of how these authorities are being implemented across the Intelligence Community.  The IC Inspector General was created in 2010 for this very purpose.  Comprehensive and independent reviews by your office of the implementation of Sections 215 and 702 will fulfill a critical oversight role.  Providing a publicly available summary of the findings and conclusions of these reviews will help promote greater oversight, transparency, and public accountability.

In conducting such reviews, we encourage you to draw on the excellent work already done by the Inspectors General of several agencies, including the Department of Justice, in reviewing these authorities.  But only your office can bring to bear an IC-wide perspective that is critical to effective oversight of these programs.  The reviews previously conducted have been more narrowly focused – as might be expected – on a specific agency.

In particular, we urge you to review for calendar years 2010 through 2013:

·         the use and implementation of Section 215 and Section 702 authorities, including the manner in which information – and in particular, information about U.S. persons – is collected, retained, analyzed and disseminated;

·         applicable minimization procedures and other relevant procedures and guidelines, including whether they are consistent across agencies and the extent to which they protect the privacy rights of U.S. persons;

·         any improper or illegal use of the authorities or information collected pursuant to them; and

·         an examination of the effectiveness of the authorities as investigative and intelligence tools.

We have urged appropriate oversight of these activities long before the problems with the implementation of these FISA authorities became public.  We believe it is important for your office to begin this review without further delay.

Please proceed to administratively perform reviews of the implementation of Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and Section 702 of FISA, and submit the reports no later than December 31, 2014.  Thank you in advance for your efforts to ensure a full accounting of the implementation of these surveillance authorities across the Intelligence Community.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

PATRICK LEAHY

Chairman

Senate Judiciary Committee

 

 

 

CHARLES E. GRASSLEY

Ranking Member

Senate Judiciary Committee

 

 

 

CHUCK SCHUMER

United States Senator

 

 

 

MIKE LEE

United States Senator

 

 

 

SHELDON WHITEHOUSE

United States Senator

 

 

 

TED CRUZ

United States Senator

 

 

 

CHRIS COONS

United States Senator

 

 

 

JEFF FLAKE

United States Senator

 

 

 

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL

United States Senator

Trackback(0)
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy