NSA holds emergency hearing to fight off anti-surveillance amendment in Congress

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
By Paul Martin

July 23, 2013

The National Security Agency has invited certain members of Congress to a top secret, invitation only meeting to discuss a proposed amendment that could end the NSA’s ability to conduct dragnet surveillance on millions of Americans.

A letter circulated only to select lawmakers early Tuesday announced that NSA Director General Keith B. Alexander would host a question and answer session with members of Congress in preparation of a Thursday vote on Capitol Hill expected to involve an amendment introduced last month by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan).

That amendment, a provision tacked along to a Department of Defense Appropriations Act along with nearly 100 others, aims to greatly diminish the NSA’s domestic spying powers in the wake of disclosures attributed to Edward Snowden, a 30-year-old former employee of Booz Allen Hamilton currently fighting extradition to the US where he faces charges of espionage for his role in leaking state secrets.

One of the leaked files released by Snowden to the UK’s Guardian newspaper details how the government’s interpretation of the PATRIOT Act’s Section 215 has allowed the NSA to collect call logs and other so-called “telephony metadata” pertaining to millions of Americans on a regular basis. If the Amash amendment is approved, it would end that authority.

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