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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid