Conyers to Intelligence Community: Breaking Your Promise on Section 702 is Unacceptable
In April and December of last year, a bipartisan group from the House Judiciary Committee wrote to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to ask for “a public estimate of the number of communications or transactions involving United States persons that may be captured by Section 702 surveillance on an annual basis.” On April 7, 2017, Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., wrote to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to renew that request.
Today, in testimony before the Senate, Director Coats reversed the position of the intelligence community and announced that the production of that estimate would be “infeasible.”
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Conyers issued the following statement in response:
“The intelligence community has—for many months—expressly promised members of both parties that they would deliver this estimate to us in time to inform our debate on the reauthorization of Section 702. As late as last August, we had discussed and approved the specific methodologies that the NSA might use to make good on their promise.
“Today, Director Coats announced that the estimate is ‘infeasible’ and will not be forthcoming. I find that outcome unacceptable.
“Over the course of the last year, we believed we had worked past the excuses we are offered today. The nation’s leading civil liberties organizations see no threat to privacy in this project, and have said so publicly. The agencies demonstrated to us how they might perform this analysis without significant diversion of resources. I am deeply disappointed in a return to these old talking points.
“Section 702 is built on trust. It will be more difficult to find that trust as we move forward with the debate.”