Nothing routine about collection of data, pols say
Claims that federal data-collection efforts averted plans by terrorists might overstate the value of controversial programs, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said.
“There’s a lot of evidence” that some successes could have been attained with more conventional means than the programs used by the Obama administration, Udall said during a stop in Grand Junction on Saturday.
The White House and some Republicans have said such programs are necessary to identify and keep tabs on terrorists, but Udall, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the data collection seemed excessive.
“I disagree with some of my colleagues who think that this was routine collection,” Udall said.
Udall has said he disagreed with some of the Obama administration’s interpretations of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, under which the National Security Agency and Justice Department culled information about domestic phone calls, and to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, under which PRISM, a program under which electronic eavesdropping of calls from foreign locations occurred.
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton said that, contrary to claims by the White House that all members had been briefed on the programs, he had been provided no information by the administration.
“This was a significant overreach by the government.” Tipton said. “This was way over the top.”
It’s likely that the Republican-controlled House will conduct several oversight hearings into the administration’s data collection programs, Tipton said.