News / USA

    Washington Week: Lawmakers React to US Intelligence Reforms

    Washington Week: Lawmakers React to US Intelligence Reformsi
    X
    January 19, 2014 10:55 PM
    The U.S. Congress is idle this week, but lawmakers are reacting to President Barack Obama’s speech on Friday announcing changes in U.S. intelligence operations. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, legislators’ perceptions matter because congressional action will be required to enact some of the reforms sought by Obama.
    Michael Bowman
    The U.S. Congress is idle this week, but lawmakers are reacting to President Barack Obama’s speech on Friday announcing changes in U.S. intelligence operations. Legislators’ perceptions matter because congressional action will be required to enact some of the reforms sought by Obama.
     
    The president announced changes in the storage of bulk data, called metadata, collected by the National Security Agency and proposed procedures the U.S. government must follow to access that data. He also attempted to reassure the international community that the United States is judicious when it comes to spying abroad.
     
    “The bottom line is that people around the world, regardless of their nationality, should know that the United States is not spying on ordinary people who do not threaten our national security, and that we take their privacy concerns into account in our policies and procedures. This applies to foreign leaders, as well.”
     
    The speech was ground-breaking, according to Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, who appeared on ABC’s This Week.
     
    “What he did was, for the first time, explain these programs and defend them. I think metadata, most significantly, will not be dismantled, but rather will be put in the hands of an outside, third party. I think what gave most Americans heartburn was that this data was being stored under the NSA and warehoused under the government and this administration, who, you know, quite frankly, has some trust issues," said McCaul. 
     
    Another Republican congressman, Mike Rogers, applauded Obama for defending intelligence gathering as necessary and proper. He spoke on CNN’s State of the Union.
     
    “We have to come to the conclusion as Americans, can you put the proper oversight on these programs? I think we have. I think we did. Both under [former president George W.] Bush and under Mr. Obama, to make sure we have a program that fills the gap that we know we missed on the 9-11 September attacks,” said Rogers.
     
    Congress takes the issue seriously and will act, says Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who spoke on Fox News Sunday.
     
    “The concern everybody has is allowing our government to have such a reach into your private life - my private life and everybody else's, that we have a government controlling us instead of us controlling the government. And that's what both the Republicans and Democrats are joined together on the Hill to try to change,” said Leahy.
     
    Lawmakers will weigh in more fully next week, when Congress returns from a break. Obama likely will renew his call  for intelligence reforms in his annual State of the Union address January 28.

    You May Like

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Will New Russian Force Be 'Putin’s Personal Army'?

    With broad powers to control riots, suppress dissent, National Guard may be aimed at sending a message to West as much as keeping peace at home

    Foreign Media in Pyongyang Barred From North Korean Party Congress

    Hundreds of international journalists invited to cover historic party meeting barred from entering actual event

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora