News / USA

US Lawmakers Seek Surveillance Reform

US Lawmakers Seek Surveillance Reformi
X
September 28, 2013 12:20 AM
U.S. senators in both parties are proposing changes in the way the National Security Agency collects information as it hunts for terrorists and other threats. As VOA's Kent Klein reports, some lawmakers want to limit or end the bulk collection of telephone and email records.
Kent Klein
U.S. senators in both parties are proposing changes in the way the National Security Agency collects information as it hunts for terrorists and other threats. Some lawmakers want to limit or end the bulk collection of telephone and email records.

The recent siege at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, is reason for the National Security Agency to continue its information-gathering activities, according to the NSA's director.

At a cybersecurity seminar in Washington, General Keith Alexander said his agency needs the tools to prevent such attacks on the United States.
 
"If you take those away, think about the last week, and what will happen in the future.  My concern is, if you think it is bad now, we get several things that happened in Nairobi in this country, and we have a whole different ball game.  And we will have failed," said Alexander.

Since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed this year that the NSA has been gathering phone and email records of Americans as well as people overseas, there have been objections at home and abroad.

Members of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee are working on legislation that would either limit the practice or eliminate it.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden wants to end the massive collection of phone and email records.

"Dozens of misleading public statements made by top intelligence officials have now damaged the credibility of the leadership in the intelligence community at home and abroad.  Foreign governments and their citizens are finding their trust in the government to be compromised.  This is not a small hiccup," said Wyden.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff canceled a state visit to the White House over the issue.  She criticized the U.S. in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly.

"The safety of a citizen of one country should not be guaranteed by the violation of human and civil rights which are fundamental to citizens of another country," said Rousseff.

But General Alexander says many Americans who oppose the NSA's collection of phone and email records are being misled by inaccurate reports in the media.  

At the cybersecurity seminar, he said the NSA is not collecting content from the phone calls or emails it monitors.

He also said U.S. allies appreciate the data gathering because it also protects their countries from terror attacks.

"Many people have asked me, how has this impacted your relationship with allies? Here is what I get: 'Keep working with us," he said. "The intelligence you get us to defend our country is what we really need.'"

The Senate committee's chairman, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, says the NSA should continue gathering phone and email records.  She favors a less restrictive bill that would bar the NSA from collecting the content of phone calls and email messages.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid