Obama Surveillance Report Gets Bipartisan Pushback

Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) are not satisfied with a new report from the Obama Administration on government surveillance programs, and say their Surveillance Transparency Act is still needed.

Their problem is that the report identifies the number of people targeted, not the number from whom information was collected, does not identify how many of those who had info collected were American, and how much of that wound up being reviewed by the government.

In a joint statement, the pair said the report, issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is only a "small step" toward the surveillance transparency they are looking for. “I recognize that this report is being offered in good faith," said Franken, who suggested good faith didn't cut it. "[I]t still leaves Americans in the dark," he said. "It doesn’t tell the American people enough about what information is being gathered about them and how it’s being used." Heller added: “The report released by the Administration represents some progress, but it does not do near enough to provide Americans with adequate information."

By contrast, the Surveillance Transparency Act, he pointed out, would "require the government to release the number of people that have had their information collected, how many of those people were likely Americans, and how many of those Americans had their information actually reviewed by government officials."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.