Levels of basic transparency are still being denied by the intelligence agencies.
Lawmakers should know how the laws they pass impact their constituents. That’s especially true when the law would reauthorize a vast Internet and telephone spying program that collects information about millions of law-abiding Americans.
But that’s exactly what the Intelligence Community wants Congress to do when it considers reauthorizing a sweeping electronic surveillance authority under the expiring Section 702, as enacted by the FISA Amendments Act, before the end of the year.
Intelligence officials have been promising Congress they would provide lawmakers with an estimate of the number of American communications that are collected under Section 702. That estimate is a critical piece of information for lawmakers to have as they consider whether and how to reauthorize and reform the warrantless Internet surveillance of millions of innocent Americans in the coming months.
But during a hearing on Section 702 in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, despite previous assurances, said he won’t be providing that estimate out of national security and, ironically, privacy concerns.