The government shutdown has resulted in furloughs for roughly 70 percent of the intelligence community's civilian workforce, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said. "The damage will be insidious. Each day that goes by, the jeopardy increases," Clapper told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Oct. 2.
The National Security Agency tested in 2010 and in 2011 the possibility of collecting cell phone location information, NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander acknowledged publicly during an Oct. 2 Senate hearing. Reading from a prepared statement during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Alexander said the NSA "received samples in order to test the ability of its systems to handle the data format."
Bulk collection of telephone records by the intelligence community wasn't intended by Congress, said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), adding that he has introduced a bipartisan bill that would end the practice. He said his bill would permit U.S. intelligence to continue collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act (codified at 50 USC § 1861), the law cited by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as authority for storage by the NSA of metadata associated with telephone calls.
An increasing federal caseload demands more federal judges be appointed to the bench and current vacancies be filled, federal judge Timothy Tymkovich told the Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee on bankruptcy and the courts in a Sept. 10 hearing.
The Justice Department will not prosecute growers or dispensaries in states where marijuana is legal as long as they set up regulations to keep marijuana out of the hands of children and drug cartels, Deputy Attorney General James Cole told the Senate Judiciary Committee Sept. 10.
The chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), said July 31 she may seek to reduce the National Security Agency's retention of telephone metadata collected under Section 215 of the Patriot Act down to 2 or 3 years from the current 5 years. "It's my understanding that the usefulness [of the stored telephone metadata] trails off as the years go on. We have to determine that point, and then consider it," Feinstein said.
The head of the intelligence community declassified Wednesday two redacted reports to Congress on bulk metadata collection and a primary court order for metadata collection under the Patriot Act.
Privacy advocates are lobbying against a Securities and Exchange Commission proposal to exclude federal civil agencies from increased judicial oversight over accessing the content of electronic communications that would occur should a Senate Judiciary Committee bill become law.
The likely next head of the FBI, Obama administration nominee James Comey, told a Senate panel that the bureau would continue under his directorship its transformation into an intelligence community component. Comey, who testified July 9 before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a confirmation hearing, also made signs of support for the collection of domestic and international communications metadata.
The Senate voted 68-32 to end debate over its comprehensive immigration reform bill on June 27, with a final vote on the bill set for 4:00 p.m. The procedural vote followed the adoption, by a 69-29 vote, the previous day of a border security amendment sponsored by Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).