Last week, The Washington Post reported new findings that the National Security Agency (NSA) broke privacy rules and illegally overstepped its authority thousands of times to obtain communications of U.S. citizens and foreigners within the United States.
“Congress has an important role to provide oversight of the NSA, and as ranking member of Senate Armed Services, I will work to investigate as to what laws were broken by the administration,” Inhofe said. “As we uncover any violations, it is important we strike a balance of civil liberty protections with intelligence collection against those seeking to attack us overseas and here at home.”
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) also called for congressional hearings when lawmakers return from recess in September.
“The latest revelations about privacy violations by the NSA raise important questions and warrant a congressional hearing,” Toomey said Monday. “Clearly, mistakes were made and further steps are likely needed to make sure they do not happen again.
“Congress must redouble its oversight efforts to better protect the privacy of those we represent while also maintaining intelligence operations that are critical to national security.”
The FISA surveillance program was passed into law in 2008 to protect the country from terrorist attacks, but lawmakers have complained that the NSA has overstepped its authority granted under the law.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has said his committee will hold hearings on the matter when Congress returns.