Senate Intel Committee Hearing

Intel. Director Facing Senate Amid Claims of Trump Pressure

Intel. Director Facing Senate Amid Claims of Trump Pressure

The hearing is focused on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), though there are likely to be questions involving the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and Russian interference in the 2016 USA election.

Privacy advocates have criticized the law though for allowing the incidental collection of data belonging to millions of Americans without a search warrant.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats defended Section 702 on Wednesday, telling the committee that 702 collection "has produced and continues to produce foreign intelligence information that is vital to protect the nation against global terrorism and other threats".

The push to make the law permanent may lead to a contentious debate over renewal of Section 702 in Congress, where lawmakers in both parties are deeply divided over whether to adopt transparency and oversight reforms.

He went on to note that without Section 702, intelligence agencies would have to obtain a court order issued due to probable cause - ostensibly the bar that needs to be cleared in order to surveil US citizens. A day later, President Trump's Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert penned an editorial for The New York Times throwing the White House's support behind efforts to reinstate Section 702 permanently.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, speaking on behalf of other intelligence agency leaders, also told the Senate Intelligence Committee panel on Wednesday that the statute should be made permanent, saying it was necessary to keep the United States safe from national security threats.

Admiral Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, also said the FISA program was vital to gaining an understanding of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

What to Watch for: Can Senators punch ticket to Stanley Cup Final?
Hornqvist, who has four goals and three assists in 13 playoff games, has been out since leaving during warmups for Game 2. During his postgame talk with the media, Malkin expressed his disappointment that he only scored once in Game 6.

It should go without saying: if the Intelligence Community is truly anxious about the privacy and civil liberties of ordinary Americans, officials will take the looming Section 702 sunset as an opportunity to give lawmakers the information they need to have an informed and meaningful debate about how government spying programs impact Americans' privacy.

Ron Wyden (D-OR) monologued instead of asking questions during Wednesday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

Coats and other officials had previously told Congress they would attempt to share an estimate publicly before the statute expires.

Still, some lawmakers remain concerned that USA officials have been unable to assess the program's impact on citizens who may be inadvertently caught up in collection efforts.

Privacy advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have argued against Section 702.

Graham was among 14 Republican senators, including every Republican member of the intelligence panel, who on Tuesday introduced a bill supported by the White House and top intelligence chiefs, that would renew Section 702 without changes and make it permanent.

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