Congress Enacted the NSA Laws, But Will They Change Them Now?

Author of The Patriot Act wants Congress to curtail the spying abilities of NSA.


Chairman the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) answers questions on the millions of Verizon phone records being collected by the NSA.


Amie Stepanovich, director of the domestic surveillance project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, says short of repealing the laws entirely, her group is urging Congress to conduct oversight hearings and order an unclassified inspector general's report on NSA practices and the secret FISA court's interpretation of the law.

[OPINION: The Corporate Roots of the NSA Spying Program]

"Congress may have granted authority to the executive branch, but the way the laws have been interpreted is unprecedented, and it was not anticipated," Stepanovich says.

Stepanovich adds, however, that how much Congress does will be a direct reflection of the public's outcry.

"Before this, it has been very difficult for the public or any other oversight entity to comment meaningfully because these programs were classified and kept secret," Stepanovich says. "Hopefully now the tide will change on that."

Harper says voters, especially progressive Democrats, will have to show their frustration at the polls to force Congress's hand.

"You have a common feeling that collecting all American's phone numbers isn't relevant. Grandma isn't relevant to any terrorism investigation," Harper says. "The Republican Party is challenged and required to do better by its tea party wing. Progressives need to be ready to tea party their Democrats."


More News:

  • Liberals, Obama at Odds Over NSA Programs
  • With PRISM, FBI Has No 'Going Dark' Argument
  • NSA Spying Revelations Will Hurt Americans' Faith in Government