Senator vows review of NSA programs

Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Friday said the Intelligence Committee will hold a series of hearings in the fall to examine National Security Agency surveillance programs.

“The Senate Intelligence Committee will undertake a major review of all intelligence data-collection programs involving Americans," Feinstein said in a statement. "This will be the primary order of business for the committee this fall and will be used to develop proposals to increase transparency and improve privacy protections for these vital national security programs."

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Feinstein, who has defended the legitimacy of the NSA surveillance programs, said she hoped the hearings will better explain the scope of the programs and their purpose, as well as "increase the public's confidence in their effectiveness."

She made the announcement as President Obama, at a White House press conference, unveiled a series of initiatives aimed at responding to the privacy concerns raised by the revelations over the NSA surveillance programs leaked by Edward Snowden.

Feinstein defended the NSA's phone data collection program, saying it "continues to be mischaracterized as a domestic surveillance program." She has proposed changes to the program that are intended to mollify privacy groups' concerns, such as reducing the length of time that the government retains phone data and releasing the number of database queries annually.