National Security Agency (NSA)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will ask for permission to downsize the United States Army to levels not seen since before World War II when he presents the Pentagon's budget plan to Congress on Monday. Mr. Hagel will also request to end funding for Cold War era U-2 spy planes and A-10 attack jet's. The Defense Department will need Congressional approval for both of these requests.
It’s a rare event when President Trump tweets approvingly of a journalist, but yesterday Eli Lake of Bloomberg View gained that unusual honor.
In June 2013, when a cascade of leaked top-secret documents showed the world that Barack Obama had entrenched the post-9/11 surveillance state bequeathed to him by George W. Bush, many observers were surprised. But several of Obama’s advisers thought back to an afternoon some 4½ years earlier, shortly after their administration took office. An important meeting with Obama was scheduled to begin in the Situation Room at half past noon on Friday, February 6, 2009. Officials who had been asked to participate gathered around the conference table waiting to brief the new president. He was late.
The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to restore key authorities of the PATRIOT Act that expired two days ago — and dealt Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a staggering defeat in the process. The 67-32 vote in favor of the USA Freedom Act came over the forceful opposition of McConnell and much of his leadership team, who failed to persuade enough GOP senators to make what they argued were critical changes to the bill. The measure, which passed the House last month, now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature and ends an impasse over national security that’s divided Republicans for weeks.
The Senate passed the USA Freedom Act without any amendments, on a vote of 67-32, and sent the bill to Barack Obama to sign into law. The bill will end the mass collection of Americans’ phone records by the NSA, restore some expired powers to security agencies, place record storage in private companies’ hands, create a public-interest advocate for the secret Fisa court that oversees surveillance programs, and require the court to notify Congress when it reinterprets law.
If you’re making a phone call today, there’s a chance the NSA might not know about it. The spy agency was forced to halt its collection of bulk telephone metadata early Monday after the Senate failed to extend three key provisions of the 2001 Patriot Act that expired at midnight. The lapse was a victory for Senator Rand Paul and activists who have campaigned against post-9/11 government surveillance programs—but it will likely only be a temporary one. While the Senate was stymied by Paul’s procedural hurdles on Sunday, it is likely to vote by mid-week on House-passed legislation that would reform the NSA’s spying powers while extending the Patriot Act for several years.
Three key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire first thing Monday. One of those provisions, Section 215, which the White House uses to scoop up Americans' call records in bulk, has been incredibly controversial both legally and politically. We went over the basics of all this in a separate post earlier this month, but wanted to check in on what's happened since then as the expiration date — and the Senate's rush to resolve this issue — get closer. Here are three questions that will help you understand where everything stands:
President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged the U.S. Senate to resolve its impasse over legislation authorizing collection of Americans' telephone records. The National Security Agency program is set to expire on June 1 unless Congress agrees to extend the program temporarily or replace it with an alternative passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Obama, in remarks to reporters in the Oval Office, urged senators to work through a congressional recess to address the issue.
The U.S. Senate blocked a measure to extend spy agencies' bulk collection of Americans' telephone records early on Saturday, leaving the fate of the program uncertain days before its June 1 expiration. By a vote of 54-45, the Senate failed to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to advance a bill that would have extended for two months provisions of the "USA Patriot Act" that allow the collection of vast amounts of telephone "metadata."
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