By Brendan Sasso - 11/20/13 02:10 PM EST
Three Democratic senators are pushing an amendment to the Defense authorization bill that would require more disclosures about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs.
The amendment is sponsored by Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenOvernight Healthcare: Watchdog says ObamaCare program made illegal payments Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security MORE (Ore.), Mark UdallMark UdallColorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open Energy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium MORE (Colo.) and Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiSenate Dems: Add Flint aid to spending deal This week: Shutdown deadline looms over Congress Week ahead: Key court date for climate rule; Fight over Flint aid MORE (Md.), but it is unclear whether it will receive a vote. The Senate is debating the the Defense funding bill—the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—this week.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has said that the NDAA is not the appropriate venue for a debate over the NSA.
The director of national intelligence would have to submit a written report to Congress answering a series of questions about NSA surveillance. The director would have to produce a public version of the report, but would be allowed to redact sensitive information.
The report would have to provide details about a now-defunct NSA program to track Americans' cellphone location data in bulk.
The government would have to disclose whether it has collected Americans' communications without a warrant under a provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act intended to allow for the targeting of foreigners. The director of national intelligence would also have to say whether the government misrepresented its practices to the Supreme Court in a case, Clapper v. Amnesty, decided earlier this year.
The amendment would also direct the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the economic impact of the recently disclosed surveillance programs.
"I’m continuing to fight for comprehensive surveillance reform, but these #NSA reform amdts to the NDAA are action we can take now," Wyden wrote in a tweet.
He is a sponsor of two bills that would rein in the NSA's power and bar the bulk collection of phone records.
Mikulski is also pushing an amendment to the NDAA that would require Senate confirmation of the NSA director.