National Security Brief: U.S. To Declassify Information On NSA Surveillance Programs


APTOPIX NSA Phone Records
CNN reports that the U.S. intelligence community plans to declassify some information about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs and details about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

An unnamed U.S. official told CNN that the move is part of a “concerted” and “deliberate” effort to declassify material in response to leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

“I think there is a high likelihood of FISC opinions being declassified soon,” the official said.

More voices are calling for changes to the way the FISC operates, particularly including an argument against the government’s case. The New York Times in an editorial on Monday also called for reforming the way judges to the secret court are chosen. In an interview on Monday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) agreed. “There is a lot of momentum behind reforms to the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court that would provide for different methods of appointing the judges to the court,” he said, adding that the court “would benefit from the opportunity to hear the opposing view [and] hear how other case law may suggest a different conclusion than what the court is arguing.”

In other news:

  • The AP reports: More than a dozen explosions, mainly from car bombs, ripped through marketplaces, parking lots, a cafe and rush-hour crowds in Iraq on Monday, killing at least 58 people and pushing the country’s death toll for the month of July toward the 700 mark, officials said.
  • The New York Times reports: Afghan forces are now leading the fight here. They managed an air assault last week, for example, and they may be winning the respect of the Afghan people. But the bottom line for Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. is simple: Afghanistan still needs the United States and will for years to come.
  • Foreign Policy reports: With the House of Representatives expected to vote on a tough Iran sanctions bill on Wednesday, a cohort of liberal Democrats are staging a last-ditch effort to stop it. In a letter obtained by The Cable, Reps. Jim McDermott, John Conyers, Keith Ellison and Jim McGovern urge the House leadership to delay the vote on the bill which they fear could jeopardize the Obama administration’s renewed effort to engage Iran’s newly-elected President Hassan Rouhani on the country’s nuclear program.