- The Washington Times - Friday, August 16, 2013

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday that news reports outlining how the National Security Agency broke privacy rules thousands of times are “extremely disturbing.”

The California Democrat was responding to twin reports in The Washington Post that described an internal audit from the NSA. The documents were leaked by former analyst Edward Snowden, who sought refuge from prosecution in Russia.

According to the reports, the NSA mistakenly intercepted emails or phone calls from both Americans and foreign targets after Congress granted broader powers to the agency in 2008.

“Current laws governing NSA’s collection activities contain safeguards to ensure the protection of privacy and civil liberties including provisions that require that incidents of non-compliance be reported to Congress and the [Foreign Intelligance Surveillance Act] Court,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “Congress must conduct rigorous oversight to ensure that all incidents of non-compliance are reported to the oversight committees and the FISA court in a timely and comprehensive manner, and that appropriate steps are taken to ensure violations are not repeated.”

Mr. Snowden’s leaks about U.S. snooping programs have reverberated across the globe. The former analyst, who had top-secret clearance, has been praised as a whistleblower and condemned as a traitor by various sectors of the U.S. government and public.

President Obama recently said he’s open to reforms to the programs, including an adversarial process that would put the government through its paces when it requests powers from the secretive surveillance court.

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