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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling civilian nuclear cooperation between the two countries; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid