Dems demand NSA update on surveillance program

A group of six Democratic senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee is asking the National Security Agency (NSA) to release a public update on its mass phone data collection program, following reports indicating the spy agency has shut it down.

“We write to urge that you provide a public description, consistent with protection of sources and methods, of the current status of the call detail record (CDR) program,” the senators wrote in a letter to Paul Nakasone, head of the NSA.

The group of senators includes the Intelligence Committee’s vice chairman, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a privacy hawk, and 2020 contenders Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), among others.

The Wall Street Journal last month reported that the NSA was recommending the White House officially end the agency’s mass collection of U.S. phone data.

Sources told the Journal that the NSA has concluded that the program, which gathered metadata on domestic text messages and phone calls, was too burdensome to maintain.

“Since then, there have been no public updates from NSA,” the senators wrote. “A public status report will resolve the current confusion, demonstrate the NSA’s commitment to transparency, and inform Congress’s deliberations about the possible reauthorization of the program later this year.”

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