A slew of lawmakers said they were pleased with President Obama’s announced changes to the National Security Agency Friday, while others said the proposals don’t go far enough.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a fierce critic of the NSA’s surveillance programs, said in a statement he was disappointed with the details of Obama’s announcement. He said the reforms would still keep the “same unconstitutional program with a new configuration.” Paul mocked the changes on Twitter by framing it like Obama’s healthcare law promise.
"If you like your privacy you can keep it...": http://t.co/87XtZGoZvt— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) January 17, 2014
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, said he welcomed Obama’s changes, but added they must go even further.
President right to end bulk #NSA phone metadata collection & require court approval. Ready to work to implement reforms & indeed go farther— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 17, 2014
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) also expressed similar concerns.
Proposed #NSA reforms don't go far enough. Need hard limits on data collection type & storage time, & a privacy advocate throughout process— Loretta Sanchez (@LorettaSanchez) January 17, 2014
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said in his statement that he welcomed Obama’s announcement that the existing metadata collection program would end.
Instead, Obama wants to move the telephone records out of the government’s hands. Heller is a lead Republican co-sponsor on a bill Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced last year that would end the metadata program.
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) claimed President Obama learned of the NSA’s scope from the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
It took a gov't contractor leaking classified information to the press for the POTUS to learn what the NSA was doing...— Rep. Jeff Duncan (@RepJeffDuncan) January 17, 2014
“President Obama is either a spectator who has no idea what's going on within his own White House, or he's purposefully lying to save face with the American public, or he intentionally isolates himself from knowing the full truth to protect himself. Quite frankly, it's disgraceful,” Duncan said in his statement.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) considered Obama’s decisions to be substantial.
Obama also announced in his speech at the Justice Department that a panel of public advocates would be created on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) said that would help safeguard citizens’ privacy.
Very glad the President is behind creating an advocate to participate in FISA Court proceedings on behalf of civil liberties.— Jim Himes (@jahimes) January 17, 2014
At the same time, however, Himes suggested that metadata collection programs in general are not effective.
So all in, especially given its very limited utility, it's hard to justify the continuation of long term metadata collection programs.— Jim Himes (@jahimes) January 17, 2014
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) attended the speech, and said it was better than he had expected.
Pres Obama NSA speech better than expected. Most programs left intact. But concerned about extending US citizen privacy rights to foreigners— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) January 17, 2014
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Obama’s announcements are only the first step in this debate.
After years of work, it's good to see 1st steps to reform taken today. But make no mistake, many more need to come http://t.co/2R5e5LeBvl— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) January 17, 2014
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) was critical of Obama’s actions.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called for a Senate select committee to take on and review Obama’s proposals.