Senators blast NSA for webcam spying

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) slammed the National Security Agency after reports that its surveillance program capture images from users’ webcams.

“We are extremely troubled by today's press report that a very large number of individuals — including law-abiding Americans — may have had private videos of themselves and their families intercepted and stored without any suspicion of wrongdoing,” the senators said in a joint statement Friday. “If this report is accurate it would show a breathtaking lack of respect for the privacy and civil liberties of law-abiding citizens.”

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On Thursday, it was reported that the NSA helped its British counterpart to access and capture images, including sexually explicit ones, from millions of Yahoo chat users between 2008 and 2012.

“It is becoming clearer and clearer that more needs to be done to ensure that ‘foreign’ intelligence collection does not intrude unnecessarily on the rights of law-abiding people or needlessly undermine the competitiveness of America's leading industries,” the lawmakers said.

The three Democratic senators serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee. They have increased criticism of NSA surveillance programs since former government contractor Edward Snowden leaked information that the NSA was collecting Americans' private data.

Wyden, Udall and Heinrich vowed to investigate the report and “closely scrutinize” NSA involvement.