News

U.S. to declassify documents on spy programs

U.S. to declassify documents on spy programs

U.S. spy agencies plan to release newly declassified documents about surveillance programs. Photo: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. spy agencies plan to release newly declassified documents as early as this week about the National Security Agency surveillance programs revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden, and also material related to a secret intelligence court, a U.S. intelligence official said on Tuesday.

The declassified documents were intended to provide the public more information about the programs as part of a commitment by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for greater transparency, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The documents would also include information about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the official said. That court operates in secrecy in making decisions on government surveillance requests.

The Washington Post reported late Tuesday that senior U.S. officials said one of the orders the administration plans to declassify was issued by the FISA court in April and directed Verizon Communications to turn over a large number of Americans’ phone records.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the newspaper the order would be made public before a Wednesday morning hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee where officials from the NSA, Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence were to testify.

General Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, said he was glad the government was taking action to declassify more information.

“I think it is the right thing. I think it helps articulate what we are trying to do and why we are trying to do it,” he told Reuters in Las Vegas where he is scheduled to speak at the Black Hat conference of cybersecurity experts on Wednesday.

“I think the more we can give to the American people, the better. We always have to balance security of the nation with transparency. But in this case I think it is a good thing,” Alexander said.

Snowden’s release of information about the NSA surveillance programs to American and European media outlets sparked an uproar over revelations last month that U.S. intelligence agencies had collected data on phone calls and other communications of Americans and foreign citizens as a tool for fighting terrorism.

The move to declassify more information about the surveillance programs, which intelligence officials say have helped thwart terrorist attacks, comes as some lawmakers seek curbs in response to privacy concerns.

Snowden has been charged under the U.S. Espionage Act and is stuck at an airport in Russia while seeking asylum in a country that will not hand him over to the United States.

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

Hisashi Iwakuma to play in MLB Japan All-Star Series

Fresh
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Friday, June 20, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo.

Iwakuma joins teammate Robinson Cano for the five-game series against Japan’s National Team.

in Local Sports

Washington looks to end 2-game slide vs. Colorado

Fresh
Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen in action against Eastern Washington in an NCAA football game Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Seattle. Washington won 59-52.

Washington coach Chris Petersen doesn't lose often, let alone two in a row. So this is strange territory as the Huskies get ready for Colorado on Saturday. 10AM kick-off on KPUG 1170AM

in Local Sports

USC to be in ‘good frame of mind’ vs. Cougars

Fresh
Southern California head coach Steve Sarkisian takes questions at the Pac-12 NCAA college football media days at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

After a frustrating loss last weekend, USC coach Steve Sarkisian expects his players to display their resilience come Saturday's matchup with Washington State. 1:30pm on KPUG 1170AM.

in Local Sports

Chancellor, Okung to be game-time decisions

Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor (31) celebrates a hit on St. Louis Rams' Stedman Bailey in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in Seattle.

The Seattle Seahawks could be without starting safety Kam Chancellor and left tackle Russell Okung for Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders.

in Local Sports

Raiders may be without starting CB Carlos Rogers

Oakland Raiders assistant head coach Tony Sparano looks on before an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J.

Interim coach Tony Sparano said the Raiders are expected to be without cornerback Carlos Rogers for Sunday's game against the Seahawks.