November 15, 2013
Congressman Walter B. Jones Press Office
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) cosponsored legislation to improve accountability at the National Security Agency (NSA) by requiring the inspector general (IG) of the NSA to be appointed by the president and formally confirmed by the Senate. Currently, the NSA director is responsible for appointing the IG – a situation which discourages the type of meticulous oversight the agency needs. By requiring independent appointment of the IG, the NSA Inspector General Act of 2013 (H.R. 3436) would hold the agency to the same standard as the Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security.
“The NSA is vested with the responsibility to protect our national security, and with that responsibility comes a great amount of power,” said Congressman Jones. “Unfortunately, the NSA has a history of abusing its power and violating the privacy of millions of Americans. This bill would improve accountability at the NSA by instituting a new structure of oversight and discontinuing a system in which the IG is required to report on the very individuals who appointed him or her to the position.”
“As former CIA Inspector General Britt Snider wrote in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post, the decision to require an independently-appointed IG at the CIA in 1989 created an environment in which the IG’s office ‘no longer had to worry about the potential effect on their careers if their findings and conclusions were critical of the agency’ and could freely decide ‘which of the CIA’s activities would be investigated, inspected or audited without waiting for direction or approval from agency management.’ This is exactly the type of oversight that the NSA needs in order to prevent it from further engaging in inappropriate activities that infringe on the privacy rights of U.S. citizens.”
For additional information, please contact Sarah Howard in Congressman Jones’ office at (202) 225-3415.