November 15, 2013

The Senate Intelligence Committee split sharply on proposals to rein in National Security Agency surveillance programs last month, rejecting several potentially significant reforms by a single vote, according to a formal committee report published this week.

In a closed session on Halloween the panel voted, 11-4, to approve legislation addressing the public outcry over U.S. government snooping that followed leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations about a massive telephone call-tracking database and other programs collecting huge volumes of internet traffic.

While the committee billed the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Improvements Act of 2013 as a means to increase “privacy protections and public transparency of the National Security Agency call-records program,” the 15-member panel narrowly defeated a series of amendments senators offered proposing stricter reforms.

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