House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is circulating to fellow Democrats a letter she intends to send to President Obama outlining their concerns over the National Security Agency’s phone surveillance.
The letter asks the president to “explore options which will preserve Americans’ privacy and civil liberties while protecting our national security.”
Pelosi, D-Calif., on Wednesday voted against a narrowly defeated amendment that would have curbed the controversial NSA program by blocking the agency from snooping on anyone who is not specifically the target of an investigation. Dozens of Democrats voted for the provision.
The Obama administration lobbied Congress to vote against the measure, which intelligence officials and critics say would have hindered the government’s abilities to track terrorist threats.
Pelosi’s letter questions whether the surveillance program that sweeps up millions of Americans’ phone records is fully constitutional and whether it could be “tailored more narrowly to better ensure the protection of privacy and civil liberties.”
The classified NSA program was revealed this summer by contractor Edward Snowden and has divided both Republicans and Democrats. The amendment to kill the program was defeated Wednesday by a 217-205 vote.
The House intelligence panel plans to look into changes to the law this fall, but it is unlikely they will curtail the surveillance.
Dear Mr. President:
Thank you for your leadership in honoring our responsibility to protect and defend the American people. As you know, our challenge as elected officials is to preserve Americans’ liberties while protecting our national security…
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