GOP lawmakers balk at privacy advocate in FISA Court

by UPI.com  |  published on August 12, 2013

WASHINGTON — A White House idea to add a privacy advocate in the secret court overseeing National Security Agency phone-data logging is a mistake, key U.S. Republicans said.

“I don’t think that’s the right way to go,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

He was responding to President Obama’s suggestion in a news conference Friday U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court procedures could be changed “to make sure civil-liberties concerns have an independent voice in appropriate cases by ensuring that the government’s position is challenged by an adversary.”

Obama said: “One of the concerns that people raise is that a judge reviewing a request from the government to conduct programmatic surveillance only hears one side of the story — may tilt it too far in favor of security, may not pay enough attention to liberty. And while I’ve got confidence in the court and I think they’ve done a fine job, I think we can provide greater assurances that the court is looking at these issues from both perspectives — security and privacy.”

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