Whenever House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte isn’t thinking about implementing a nationwide online sales tax, he’s busy thinking about the NSA. That’s only a good thing, however, as he’s one of the lawmakers that wants to subject the agency to more Congressional oversight.
The Hill reports that Goodlatte’s committee hosted a classified hearing today with senior intelligence officials. After the hearing, he said that further civil liberty protections are needed despite the administration’s claims that the agency operates under sufficient congressional and judicial oversight.
“Over the past few months, the House Judiciary Committee has conducted vigorous oversight of our nation’s foreign surveillance programs, including today’s classified hearing. I appreciate the witnesses’ testimony today further detailing these programs and the current practices employed by the agencies to protect U.S. citizens’ civil liberties. However, I am convinced that further protections are necessary. I am committed to working with members of the House Judiciary Committee, House leaders, and other members of Congress to ensure our nation’s intelligence collection programs include robust oversight, additional transparency, and protections for Americans’ civil liberties while maintaining a workable legal framework for national security officials to keep our country safe from foreign enemies.”
What would Goodlatte’s NSA legislation entail? That remains to be seen, but he already has quite a few allies in the House to get something done. Rep. Darrell Issa has called for another vote on a House bill amendment that would have defunded the NSA’s phone metadata collection program. Likewise, Reps. Justin Amash and John Conyers introduced the LIBERT-E Act back in June that would rewrite the Patriot Act to remove Section 215 – the clause that allows the agency to collect phone records.
Regardless of what happens, Congressmen in both the Senate and the House will attempt to reign in the NSA through new legislation. What’s important now is that their efforts gain enough traction among their fellow lawmakers, and more importantly, President Obama. Any potential anti-NSA legislation would probably not be able to override a presidential veto.
[Image: Congressman Bob Goodlatte/Facebook]