Feinsteins bill marks the third piece of major FISA legislation unveiled in a week. The renewed focus suggests that, despite pressing budget issues, legislators are unhappy with the status quo in the nations intelligence practices.
A House Intelligence Committee member, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., announced a bill Friday that would make substantial changes in the operations of the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which interprets the laws that allow for the NSAs sweeping data collection programs. Schiffs bill would add a constitutional advocate to the courts proceedings to represent public interest when making decisions on the NSAs programs.
Wydens bill, which he is sponsoring with a fellow intelligence committee member, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., as well as Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., also would establish a constitutional advocate to appear before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which currently hears only from government attorneys in its arguments.
Members of Congress said Thursday that some change in the way the NSA operates is inevitable, even if it is limited only to revising what information the agency must divulge to Congress.
Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine and a member of the intelligence panel, predicted that bills would also emerge from the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that changes in the way the intelligence community collects data and reports on it are necessary.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said that legislation might be announced at a hearing of his committee next week, where Clapper and Alexander are expected to testify again.
Correction: This updated version of the story corrects the number of the referenced executive order. It is 12333.