Senate Intelligence Committee Approves FISA Improvements Act

Increases privacy protections, oversight, transparency of critical intelligence programs

Washington—The Senate Intelligence Committee today approved the FISA Improvements Act by a vote of 11-4.

The bipartisan legislation increases privacy protections and public transparency of the National Security Agency call-records program in several ways, while preserving the operational effectiveness and flexibility of this vital national security program. The legislation:

The bill also increases privacy protections and oversight of other intelligence activities:

Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said: “The NSA call-records program is legal and subject to extensive congressional and judicial oversight, and I believe it contributes to our national security. But more can and should be done to increase transparency and build public support for privacy protections in place.

“Today the committee passed a bipartisan bill to do just that. The threats we face—from terrorism, proliferation and cyber attack, among others—are real, and they will continue. Intelligence is necessary to protect our national and economic security, as well as to stop attacks against our friends and allies around the world.

“This committee has conducted considerable oversight of FISA programs, both before and after recent leaks, and I believe the reforms in this bill are prudent, responsible and meaningful. I look forward to working with Chairman Leahy and the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to move legislation to the Senate floor as soon as possible.”

Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said: “I am pleased the bill to modify key parts of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was passed out of the Intelligence Committee today. As Congress has known for years, these NSA intelligence collection programs are vital to our national security and must continue.

“At the same time, the American people deserve to know that their privacy will be protected under these legal and necessary programs. This bill accomplishes our goals of increased transparency and improved privacy protections, while maintaining operational effectiveness and flexibility for the intelligence community.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which shares jurisdiction over FISA, is expected to consider separate legislation this fall.


Source: Office of Sen. Feinstein