Surgery sidelines top Dem on intel panel

The top Democrat on the House intelligence panel has been granted a leave of absence through the end of January “on account of medical reasons.”

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A spokeswoman for Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) told The Hill that he was recovering from knee surgery. Ruppersberger's absence comes as Congress and the White House are mulling changes to the government's spying activities in the wake of revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, but spokeswoman Allison Getty said  Ruppersberger's absence “didn't put anything on hold.”

“He's doing great,” Getty said, and will be back in Congress “as soon as possible,” although “no firm date” has been set yet.

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