The highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Forces Committee is calling for a Congressional investigation of the National Security Agency's surveillance program.
U.S. Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma says the administration "has abused the authority granted to them by Congress" as public and political outcry grows over the NSA's intelligence program, the details of which have been exposed by fugitive Edward Snowden in documents given to The Washington Post, according to Fox News
“The NSA violations recently reported by The Washington Post are very concerning as it appears the Obama Administration has abused the authority granted to them by Congress,” Inhofe said in a statement.
“NSA has been an essential tool in fighting terrorism, as seen in preventing the New York City subway bomb plot in 2009 as well as countless other classified incidences where we could have lost a number of innocent Americans,” Inhofe said
Democrats have also expressed concern of the broad data collection of the NSA, including snooping on phone calls and online activity. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for stronger oversight but has yet to seek a full probe by Congress, FoxNews.com said.
The Post's reporting determined that the NSA's violations ranged from "significant violation of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. emails and telephone calls," Fox News reported. The paper's investigation, based on Snowden's information found that the NSA had gone beyond its authority thousands of times since 2008, when its powers were expanded by Congress, including breaking privacy laws.
“Congress has an important role to provide oversight of the NSA, and as Ranking Member of Senate Armed Services, I will work to investigate as to what laws were broken by the administration,” Inhofe said. “As we uncover any violations, it is important we strike a balance of civil liberty protections with intelligence collection against those seeking to attack us overseas and here at home.”
The Washington Free Beacon
reported that John DeLong, the NSA’s compliance director, described his agency's violations as routine mistakes.
“People need to understand there’s no willful violations here,” he said. “No one at NSA, not me or anyone else, thinks they are okay."
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