Leahy: Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on FISA next week

News Release — Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
July 25, 2013

WASHINGTON -– The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next week on the privacy rights of Americans and oversight of government surveillance programs, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Wednesday.

The hearing, entitled “Strengthening Privacy Rights and National Security: Oversight of FISA Surveillance Programs,” comes amid a national conversation about the use of government surveillance authorities and the need for proper oversight of these powers.

Leahy has long called for strong oversight of government surveillance programs. He recently introduced the bipartisan FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013, which would add important reforms and improve certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and FISA Amendments Act. It closely mirrors legislation that Leahy has championed in the last two Congresses.

“I remain deeply concerned about the expansive use of government surveillance under FISA,” Leahy said. “The authorities under this law, and the government’s interpretation of them, must be carefully scrutinized by Congress. As I have said, just because we have the ability to collect huge amounts of data, it does not mean that we should be doing so. I look forward to next week’s discussion.”

The hearing will be held on Wednesday, July 31, at 10 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Member statements, witness testimony, and a live webcast will be available online on July 31. Witnesses will be announced in the coming days.

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