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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid