As public pressure builds against the NSA over more revelations over international and domestic spying, lawmakers are considering major overhauls.
“It is time for serious and meaningful reforms so we can restore confidence in our intelligence community,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. “Modest transparency and oversight provisions are not enough. We need real reform.”
Lawmakers are trying to expand the surveillance powers of intelligence agencies to make spying more seamless when a terror suspect enters the U.S., the Associated Press reports.
The idea is to close the gap between NSA and FBI electronic surveillance, which occurs because of different legal standards between the two agencies.
That gap poses challenges in keeping surveillance uninterrupted as suspects enter the U.S.
The AP reports:
The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told The Associated Press that her committee is drafting a bill that would amend the law’s Section 702 provision, which authorizes targeting non-Americans outside the U.S., to allow uninterrupted spying on a suspect for “a limited period of time after the NSA learns the target has traveled to the United States, so the government may obtain a court order based on probable cause.”
The proposed changes will include testimony from top intelligence officials.
A top Brazilian official has expressed anger over the U.S.’s secret surveillance of telephone and email conversations in his South American country, The USA Today reports.
Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said he’d learned that the NSA has subjected Brazilian residents to espionage through the widespread surveillance of phone and email records.
The USA Today wrote that Patriota and others are lobbying the U.N. to establish measures to protect countries from against unwanted surveillance.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence responded: “The U.S. government will respond through diplomatic channels to our partners and allies in the Americas … While we are not going to comment publicly on specific alleged intelligence activities, as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.”
The Justice Department tracked a journalist suspected of receiving secret material related to possible leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009, The Washington Post reports.
In addition to obtaining telephone records from James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News,, investigators used security badge access records to track the reporter’s traffic in and out of the State Department, the Post wrote.
Justice Department investigators also obtained a search warrant for Rosen’s e-mails.
This follows the discovery that the Justice Department also seized telephone records from the AP.
It appears some FBI agents are having a little bit too much fun on the job, internal disciplinary reports obtained by CNN show.
The reports indicate agents bugged a boss’ office, sent naked photos to co-workers, sexted on the job and paid for sex at a message parlor, CNN reported.
The FBI, whose motto is fidelity, bravery, integrity, has been dealing with “a rash of sexting cases” in which agents are using government-issued phones to send lurid pictures and suggestive texts.
“We’re hoping (that) getting the message out in the quarterlies is going to teach people, as well as their supervisors … you can’t do this stuff,” FBI assistant director Candice Will told CNN this week. “When you are given an FBI BlackBerry, it’s for official use. It’s not to text the woman in another office who you found attractive or to send a picture of yourself in a state of undress. That is not why we provide you an FBI BlackBerry.”
U.S. campuses aren’t just for educating our youth.
Bloomberg news reports that the FBI is concerned about countries using universities to gather intelligence.
“We have intelligence and cases indicating that U.S. universities are indeed a target of foreign intelligence services,” Frank Figliuzzi, the FBI’s assistant director for counterintelligence told Bloomberg.
Bloomberg reports that authorities are seeing growing signs of spying on U.S. campuses.
Kessler is the author of “The Secrets of the FBI.”
By Ronald KesslerNewsmax
Because of the terrorist threat, the FBI and CIA have become as important as the military in preserving our freedom. Yet while thanking our military is standard practice in American life, no one thinks of thanking the FBI, the CIA, or the rest of the intelligence community for keeping us safe since 9/11.
Instead, the media and many on the extreme left and extreme right demonize the men and women of those agencies for allegedly “spying on innocent Americans.”
Last year, two Washington Post reporters took two years to uncover this story: The intelligence community is big and secret and uses a lot of contractors. Presented as an exposé, the series, “Top Secret America,” found no abuse. Instead, it presented the conclusion that the intelligence community is a “hidden world” that is “growing beyond control.”