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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid