Intelligence chief James Clapper: don't dismantle 'important' counterterrorism tool

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As Rep. Justin Amash and lawmakers mull his amendment to the Defense appropriations bill that could defang the National Security Agency’s phone and internet data collection program, some thoughts from those who urge caution.

Straight with no embellishment: Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper has issued this statement, on the record:

“As the House of Representatives prepares to vote today on legislation to limit the authority exercised by the National Security Agency pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and court order, I join others who caution that acting in haste to defund the FISA Business Records program risks dismantling an important intelligence tool.”

“I support the positions of the House Intelligence Committee Chairman and Ranking Member, as well as that of the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman and Vice Chairman, in their call for an open and candid discussion about foreign surveillance authorities and careful consideration of the potential effect of limiting the intelligence community’s capabilities under these authorities.”

“As the head of the Intelligence Community, my top priority is to provide policy makers the most meaningful intelligence possible while always abiding by the rule of law and respecting the civil liberties and privacy of every American. I remain hopeful that as we continue to discuss foreign intelligence activities in Congress and across the nation, we will make decisions that address the concerns of the public while preserving our ability to protect our nation.”

Find the statement of Rep. Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger - who also say care should be exercised in an modifications to the program - here.

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