Reported Drop in Surveillance Spurred a Law
Eric Lichtblau, James Risen, and Mark Mazzetti write in The New York Times:
At a closed-door briefing in mid-July, senior intelligence officials startled lawmakers with some troubling news. American eavesdroppers were collecting just 25 percent of the foreign-based communications they had been receiving a few months earlier.More here.
Congress needed to act quickly, intelligence officials said, to repair a dangerous situation.
Some lawmakers were alarmed. Others, jaded by past intelligence warnings, were skeptical.
The report helped set off a furious legislative rush last week that, improbably, broadened the administration’s authority to wiretap terrorism suspects without court oversight.
It was a surprising victory for the politically weakened White House on an issue that had plodded along in Congress for months without a clear sign of urgency or resolution. A flurry of talk in the last three weeks on intelligence gaps, heightened concern over terrorist attacks, burdensome court rulings and Congress’s recess helped turn the debate from a slow boil to a fever pitch.