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NSA Watchdog Looks to Improve Oversight With More Subpoena Authorities

The inspector general for the National Security Agency wants to expand his office’s subpoena authority to require telecommunications companies that provide records to the government to join interviews about investigations and audits on the NSA, FCW.com reported Monday.

Robert Storch made the call after the House advanced a bill that would expand IG testimonial subpoena powers to contractors, grant recipients and former federal employees.

The watchdog said his office currently has limited ability "to compel people from outside the agency who are employed privately to talk to our people."

Such additional authorities are expected to promote accountability and to help better monitor NSA activities. 

The bill, introduced by Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., comes after Congress and advocacy groups criticized the NSA for admitting it overcollected hundreds of millions of phone records from telco companies. The agency attributed the violation to "technical irregularities."

To further improve oversight, Storch said he also wants to require the NSA to declassify or provide the public with summaries of other products in the future. 

Early in 2018, the IG released the first ever unclassified version of the agency's semi-annual report to Congress. 

The document provided information on cybersecurity problems within the agency, additional insight on issues like the impact of foreign surveillance programs on domestic spying and the number of complaints against the NSA.

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