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NSA Lawyer Quizzed over Cell Tracking at Senate Committee Hearing

Photo: Vadim Grinco

The government could use cellular data to track the location of Americans as they move around the U.S., National Security Agency General Counsel Matthew Olsen said Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal reports Olsen discussed the possibility at a confirmation hearing in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Olsen has been nominated to lead the National Counterterrorism Center.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked Olsen if the government is legally allowed to use cellular data to track movement of Americans.

“There are certain circumstances where that authority may exist,” Olsen said. “It is a very complicated question.”

Olsen also said the intelligence community is working on a memo to better address the question.

On July 14, Wyden and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) wrote a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, asking if intelligence agencies can track the location of Americans through cell phones and GPS devices.

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