Durbin: FISA declassification bill dead on arrival

The effort has the backing of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCongress should build on the momentum from spending bill Overnight Tech: Zuckerberg grilled by lawmakers over data scandal | What we learned from marathon hearing | Facebook hit with class action lawsuit | Twitter endorses political ad disclosure bill | Uber buys bike share Overnight Cybersecurity: Zuckerberg faces grilling in marathon hearing | What we learned from Facebook chief | Dems press Ryan to help get Russia hacking records | Top Trump security adviser resigning MORE (D-Vt.), according to a release from Wyden's office.

Sens. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerSenate GOP wary of new tax cut sequel GOP Senate hopefuls race to catch up with Dems Family, friends mourn death of Barbara Bush MORE (R-Nev.), Mark BegichMark Peter BegichPerez creates advisory team for DNC transition The future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map MORE (D-Alaska), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFranken to make first public appearance since resignation Overnight Cybersecurity: Fallout from Comey memos | IG reportedly investigating memos over classified info | DNC sues Russia, Trump campaign | GOP chair blasts FDIC over data security Why Smokin' Joe leads the pack of 2020 Democratic hopefuls MORE (D-Minn.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterNew allegations could threaten Trump VA pick: reports Overnight Health Care: Teen pregnancy program to focus on abstinence | Insurers warn against short-term health plan proposal | Trump VA pick faces tough sell Vulnerable Senate Dems have big cash advantages MORE (D-Mont.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate confirms Trump’s pick to lead NASA Key senators warn Trump of North Korea effort on Syria Rep. Jordan: Action in Syria ‘should be debated in Congress’ MORE (R-Utah) have also signed on as co-sponsors to the proposed legislation.

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Despite the bipartisan support for the legislation, Durbin was doubtful the Obama administration would sign it into law.

"I think they are going to eventually turn us down," he added, regarding the White House's response to declassifying FISA court opinions.

"They are [just] going to say no," he added.

The bill comes after classified information on two domestic surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency (NSA) were leaked by Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old government contractor.

Details of the NSA programs were published in The Guardian and The Washington Post last week.

One program was designed to collect cellphone data from Verizon customers to track terror threats, and a second program, PRISM, collected data from tech companies on foreign Internet users.

President Obama and the heads of the Senate and House Intelligence committees have defended the programs as critical to national security, and said they did not violate the civil liberties of American citizens.

"I think there needs to be more transparency here, but I think we can achieve it without jeopardizing national security," said to Durbin.

A possible compromise to the Markey-Wyden bill, Durbin said, would be having more lawmakers outside the Armed Services and Intelligence panels briefed on programs similar to the NSA surveillance operations.

"I think that is a good option," Durbin said.

The White House said Congress had been briefed on the operations, but many lawmakers say they were unaware of the programs and are demanding more information.

"The reality is [the White House] has made some classified materials available ... [but] during the regular course of events, it is a very limited number of Senators and congressman who are regularly apprised of developments" on sensitive intelligence or national security operations, the majority whip said.

Durbin has repeatedly pressed for additional congressional oversight of intelligence and national security efforts, particularly those like the NSA programs disclosed last week.

"I have been offering these amendments for years ... and losing them, regularly," Durbin said.

"And the two areas I have been focusing on are the two areas that came out last week," he added, referring to the clandestine monitoring of phone and Internet traffic of U.S. citizens.

Those failed amendments, according to Durbin, would have "established a specific connection between information sought and suspicion of terrorism, rather than a more generalized collection, which is going on right now."