Shakeup on Senate Intel: Warner becomes top Dem

Shakeup on Senate Intel: Warner becomes top Dem
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A shakeup among Democrats has positioned Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerCIA says 'Havana syndrome' unlikely a result of 'worldwide campaign' by foreign power Schumer opted for modest rules reform after pushback from moderates Biden moves to boost security of sensitive national security systems MORE (Va.) as the top minority voice on the Senate Intelligence Committee, a key role overseeing the nation’s spies.

Warner, who joined the panel in 2012, ascends to the role of vice chairman following Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinOvernight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Senate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Eight senators ask Biden to reverse course on Trump-era solar tariffs MORE’s (D-Calif.) decision to replace Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Senate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Former US attorney considering Senate run in Vermont as Republican MORE (D-Vt.) as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. Leahy this year opted to become the senior Democrat on the powerful Appropriations Committee.

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“With a new administration starting to assemble its national security team, I look forward to fulfilling the committee’s primary responsibility to provide vigorous and bipartisan oversight,” Warner said in a statement. “One of things I value most about my service on the Intelligence Committee is the tradition of members leaving partisanship at the door when we enter the committee room.

“In a dangerous world, the responsibilities of the Intelligence Committee are more essential than ever.” 

As ranking member of the panel, Warner will work along with Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Pelosi says she's open to stock trading ban for Congress Momentum builds to prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks MORE (R-N.C.) to guide oversight of the CIA, National Security Agency (NSA) and other secretive intelligence agencies.

The panel will have a key role to play in 2017 as lawmakers contemplate whether to reauthorize a key portion of the 2008 update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which undergirds controversial NSA data collection programs.

The position is a natural fit for Warner. Virginia is home to a number of spy agency headquarters and offices, including those of the CIA, the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The FBI’s academy in Quantico and the CIA’s covert training facility known as “the farm” are both also located in the commonwealth.