- The Washington Times - Friday, August 16, 2013

The Senate’s most senior lawmaker said Friday that the intelligence community is still not being truthful about its snooping activities and how they may be picking up communications from Americans, and vowed to hold hearings when Congress returns from its summer vacation.

“The American people rely on the intelligence community to provide forthright and complete information so that Congress and the courts can properly conduct oversight,” Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, said. “I remain concerned that we are still not getting straightforward answers from the NSA.”

Mr. Leahy is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and he said he will hold another hearing to get to the bottom of what’s going on.

His comments came after The Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency broke privacy rules or overstepped their legal authority thousands of times each year by collecting information on Americans or other protected foreign nationals in the U.S.

Most of the collections were unintended, according to the report.

The latest report comes as President Obama is fighting to save the snooping programs. Many members of Congress say the intelligence community needs to be reined in, and a vote last month in the House nearly shut down the NSA’s phone-records collection program.

SEE ALSO: Nancy Pelosi calls NSA privacy revelations ‘disturbing’

Top intelligence and Justice Department officials testified to Mr. Leahy’s committee that there have been a small number of violations in the phone-records collection program, but they said none of them were purposeful and they were detected by checks built into the system.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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