Congressional Correspondent
Patricia's Feed
Oct 3, 2013

Despite shutdown, U.S. Congress saves Iraqi interpreter visa program

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers took a break from bitter debate over government spending to save a program granting special visas to civilian interpreters who risked their lives to work for the American military in Iraq, sending it to the White House on Thursday for President Barack Obama’s signature.

The House of Representatives and the Senate passed by unanimous voice votes a measure that extended the Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa program for three months. Lawmakers said they expected Obama would sign the extension into law shortly.

Oct 2, 2013

U.S. spy agency tested tracking cell phone locations

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency has tested its ability to collect Americans’ cellular telephone location data but does not have a program to collect that information, the NSA’s director, General Keith Alexander, said on Wednesday.

Alexander told a Senate Judiciary committee hearing on the government’s electronic eavesdropping that the NSA received data samples in 2010 and 2011 to test its ability to handle such information, but the data were never used for any other purposes.

Oct 2, 2013

Fearing blind spots, U.S. spy agencies to recall some laid-off by shutdown

WASHINGTON, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Fearing they could miss
important intelligence, U.S. spy agencies are planning to call
back to work some of the thousands of civilian workers who have
been temporarily laid off as a result of this week’s federal
government shutdown.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has already
authorized chiefs of the 16 U.S. spy agencies he supervises to
make revisions in their furlough arrangements, Clapper’s
spokesman Shawn Turner said.

Oct 2, 2013

Intelligence chiefs deem shutdown ‘insidious’ danger to U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence community leaders warned on Wednesday that the government shutdown, now in its second day, is an “insidious” threat to national security that will increase the longer thousands of workers are off the job.

“I’ve been in the intelligence business for about 50 years. I’ve never seen anything like this,” James Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, said at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the eavesdropping programs.

Oct 1, 2013

Iran sanctions in U.S. Senate delayed before Geneva talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Under pressure not to squeeze Iran too hard, the U.S. Senate is unlikely to impose a fresh round of sanctions on the Islamic Republic until after Tehran holds nuclear talks with world powers later this month, lawmakers and congressional aides said.

The Senate Banking Committee had been due in September to look at a new package of sanctions passed in July by the House of Representatives, but now it will not do so for at least a few more weeks, an aide said.

Oct 1, 2013

In U.S. government shutdown fight, concern for congressional aides

WASHINGTON, Sept 30 (Reuters) – In the waning hours before a
potential U.S. government shutdown, lawmakers expressed anxiety
that some of the people hit hardest will be those who are
closest to them – the army of often low-paid aides who work long
hours to keep Capitol Hill going.

Many congressional staffers have been declared “essential,”
meaning they would come to work even if the government is
closed. But under the rules of a shutdown, they would not be
paid until the impasse is over.

Sep 27, 2013

Fiscal gridlock may leave Iraqi translators stranded

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Thousands of Iraqis who risked their lives working for the American military and are waiting for special visas to move to the United States could remain in limbo for months because of Congress’ inability to reach a budget agreement.

A program granting visas to the Iraqis and their immediate families expires on September 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Sep 27, 2013

U.S. fiscal gridlock may leave Iraqi translators stranded

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Thousands of Iraqis who risked their lives working for the American military and are waiting for special visas to move to the United States could remain in limbo for months because of Congress’ inability to reach a budget agreement.

A program granting visas to the Iraqis and their immediate families expires on September 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Sep 26, 2013

U.S. intelligence chiefs open to new surveillance controls

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers and intelligence chiefs, facing an outcry over the government’s collection of personal communications data, said on Thursday they were open to measures tightening oversight of the government’s sweeping electronic eavesdropping programs.

At a hearing on how to change the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to balance security and privacy concerns, the Senate Intelligence Committee unveiled provisions of proposed legislation to set new controls on government surveillance.

Sep 26, 2013

U.S. Senate intelligence panel pushes to tighten surveillance

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leaders of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, meeting amid outcry over the government’s collection of personal communications data, said on Thursday they were working on legislation that would tighten oversight of federal electronic eavesdropping programs.

Among other things, the measure would set tighter standards on which telephone and Internet records the National Security Agency can collect and limit the time that records can be held, said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s chairwoman, at a hearing on changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

    • About Patricia

      "Patricia Zengerle covers foreign policy and national security on Capitol Hill for Reuters. She recently covered the 2012 campaign and the White House and had been an editor in Washington, D.C., an editor in London, and a correspondent in Miami, Pittsburgh and New York. You can follow her on Twitter @ReutersZengerle"
    • More from Patricia

    • Contact Patricia

    • Follow Patricia