Washington—Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on proposed reforms to the Section 215 call records program:
“The president today indicated his support for a plan to reform the phone records metadata program—authorized under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act—to remove NSA control and direct access of call records.
“Under the plan, records would remain under the control of the telecommunications companies that generate them, and each query would be subject to court review.
“I believe the president’s plan is a worthy effort. I have said before that I am open to reforming the call records program as long as any changes meet our national security needs and address privacy concerns, and that any changes continue to provide the government with the means to protect against future terrorist attacks.
“The president’s plan includes other changes to increase privacy protections. Those include review by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to determine that there is a ‘reasonable articulable suspicion’ that a phone number to be queried is associated with international terrorism. He has also indicated support for limiting such queries to two ‘hops,’ which means access will be granted only for phone calls placed by an alleged terrorist to numbers in the United States, and any numbers called by each of those numbers.
“The leadership of the House Intelligence Committee has announced they will introduce a bill that accomplishes many of the same goals as the president proposed. It is my intention to schedule a hearing on this before the Senate Intelligence Committee and examine the president’s proposal and the House bill.”