House Committee Question Intelligence Leaders on Surveillance Program

Gen. Keith Alexander, James Clapper answer questions surrounding the NSA spying program.
3:00 | 10/29/13

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Transcript for House Committee Question Intelligence Leaders on Surveillance Program
This is a special group. -- -- -- -- I'm -- -- -- New -- with his ABC news digital special report. America's top spies summoned to Capitol Hill today as information continues to trickle in about the extent. Of US surveillance. Not only in this country but around the world. Under -- now in front of the House Intelligence Committee -- Director of National Intelligence James clapper. And outgoing NSA chief general Keith Alexander but first BC's Karen Travers standing by live in Washington with the very latest Karen. Good afternoon Dan it is not just Republicans who say they have a lot of questions for the Obama administration restarting Nancy top Democrat say. They want answers and they want these surveillance programs to stop. And today the head of the NSA and the top intelligence official are going before that house -- committee and -- they are going to face a grilling. The pressure is mounting on the White House and -- secret surveillance program -- allies but for now the administration has apparently not decided what it will do. In the national security. Operations generally. Have. One purpose and that is to make sure -- American people are safe. The US official confirm reports that the US had been monitoring 35 leaders and President Obama didn't know about it until this summer. But in an exclusive interview yesterday with ABC's Jim Ottawa -- this is America. President Obama wouldn't confirm what he called a bunch of assumptions in the media work undergoing a complete review. Of how our intelligence operates outside of the country. That White House review comes as one top Democrats said enough is enough the spying has to stop. Dianne Feinstein chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee said yesterday quote. The White House has informed me that collection on our allies will not continue. But a senior administration official told ABC news today feinstein's statement was not accurate. President Obama indicated yesterday that as surveillance technology expands. We make sure that we're doing things in the right way -- that are applicable balance. Today house speaker John Boehner said there should be a review of US surveillance programs we've got to find the right balance here. And thank -- there's that are there we're we're imbalanced as we stand here. Senator Feinstein also said that she will launch a congressional review of US spy programs and and that is a very significant step from a committee that so far has stood side by side with the White House Dan. And we shall wait to see what they would discover this afternoon Karen thank you for that a wanna bring it ABC's the Martinez -- -- by the Pentagon. Louis a lot of news breaking in the last couple of hours what's the latest on what the US government is saying about these spy games in Europe. -- and that's the right turned and spy games because. You'll recall that over the last week they're -- drips and drabs of information and -- coming out of Europe. We -- regarding tens of millions of phone calls and have supposedly been recorded in France Germany and Spain. Well today we're getting information that part of that may have involved European spy agencies themselves. In this case particularly with France and Spain. Tens of millions of phone calls reported. That were gleaned gleaned from information from the east and -- save documents provided by -- Snowden. And today we're US officials telling us that that information was not collected by the NSA. But instead by the very that the -- intelligence he -- of those same countries. And that they in turn shared them with the NSA. So officials here saying that as far as they could take it this far is it could push back. Well it wasn't saying that the initial reports in the long in Atlanta -- incorrect and false. Because it put him in the predicament. It's tough bind actually of -- respond when your allies your intelligence allies. Are the ones were collecting this information you're getting the blame for it so that's where we are right now we'll go ahead and -- -- -- please continue. And the other thing and we have is of course the Germany situation. Now that involves the collection of information from Angela Merkel the chancellor of Germany. And and as well as other top officials there in Germany the United States saying that they are no longer collecting information from. Are her but that would obviously this has hit a political -- in Germany and we senior -- parliamentarians visiting Washington. -- yesterday saw him on Capitol Hill. I'll later this week period and meetings planned for that going to the State Department -- for the director national intelligence. So obviously it's a very hard core item. Political -- right now in Germany. And the White House specifically on that has been very careful in the use of its language -- saying that. It will not and it is not collecting information from the chancellor's phones. The bigger picture on this -- I mean to those on the outside -- story seem. Rather outlandish. Rebut veteran intelligence gatherers what do they think -- -- surprised but -- revelations. Not in the least -- they're saying this is just how business is done. They say that everybody does this and it's not just United States obviously our allies that this is something that is par for the course. And that they're not -- raising eyebrows what what theirs very interested in is how much attention this is getting on the world stage. There's been some supposition that -- -- Merkel is using this to her political advantage back home in Germany. Because I would otherwise why would she have raised such a stink about it. Yesterday we had here the defense minister of New Zealand. Who when he was asked whether the United States -- -- yet whether he had any concerns that United States might be monitoring his government's phone calls. ITE three up with a joke saying who would be interested in our staff -- he -- to a cartoon saying. The NSA monitoring of New Zealand's private conversations a base was a little bunch of disease because it was that boring. That anything that the united that New -- gonna say in private they will say in public. So it's interesting here intelligence. Experts intelligence officials past and present. Kind of saying this is par for the course. And I'm basically surprises at how much attention -- -- on the world stage right now. Well what -- -- what are the things the White House says in fact that the president was not aware of the extent of the program until months ago. Is it possible in fact that the president didn't know that these surveillance intelligence program was in fact eavesdropping in on for perhaps the chance -- phone. -- -- departed adding Karen's reports actually where a US official said that the president was unaware. This information on the level of. The deet -- the level of monitoring that was going on -- U leaders of 35 countries some of them US allies. A most of them actually US allies. What one hearing from the -- US official is that actually. Though the president himself may not have been aware. Because it was much too much detail. It's highly likely that senior White House officials are other White House and that security officials were aware. -- -- to that level of the council -- that the president may not have known. It's certainly plausible. If not possible that is senior staff -- -- -- -- -- now -- congress is trying to get to the bottom of things -- trying to reveal exactly what is publicly available about this program what kind of questions are expecting. For clapper and Alexander to face today. Well you're gonna hear a lot of questions about this because they're going to be seeing why we. -- -- -- -- -- -- The comments from senator Feinstein she's outraged by this he said saying that I've been told of the White House this is -- news is gonna stop. The White House had to push back a little on our comments but obviously -- hit an error on Capitol Hill others in this. Up on capitol saying the same thing. Now the House Intelligence Committee. Mike Rogers is the chairman he has been saying that this is kinda what that he expects intelligence agencies to do. That it's a comprehensive effort it's not just spying on your enemies but also trying to see what your analyzer at the -- his -- reaction might be interesting as well on the other -- questions that are sensitive on capitol right now regarding the NSA. -- have to do with. The monitoring of them phone calls and United States -- has been a sensitive topic one of those things has to do with them whether the monitoring of cell site locations. That this is using cell tower locations to -- -- phone calls are made. The last night Indian -- released. Some documents. Providing more details on this this is a program that the that -- the Director of National Intelligence who tried to keep quiet I think just the only publicly acknowledged it earlier this month and here last night. The providing even more details so it's going to be interesting to see exactly what he's on the minds. These members of congress who deals exclusively. With intelligence matters the House Intelligence Committee one -- that does not meet in public often and so this hearing and is going to be yet quite the scene. Well and you know and we have a bit of the statement from senator Feinstein is obviously a big supporter of the surveillance program home and abroad. It's still coming out some pretty sharp criticism obviously -- revelations and she's wrote this yesterday it is abundantly clear that a total review. Of all intelligence programs is necessary that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are fully informed as to what is actually being carried out by the intelligence community. When a statement like that has made by a prominent senator what does it mean and for the future of the program. Yes. Well it what it means is at the White House is listening. Cause of -- though there was some slight push back last night you can be assured that feinstein's comments carry some weight. There is an additional statement it cannot for senator Collins. Me. She too upset by the program saying that she was going to meet with -- -- officials and basically say to them that she was upset that the United States have been spying on them. On their leaders this consternation here that. This is something that is exit may be accepted practice but maybe there is the bounds of propriety that need to be maintained and I think that's maybe where you're gonna see a major upset. When it comes to you the monitoring of foreign. -- ABC's -- Martinez the Pentagon Louis thank you for that I wanna go to the house where the House Intelligence Committee is asking the same questions to Director of National Intelligence James clapper. Ahead of the NS agents secretly. Privacy protections and thereby restore the public's confidence. You cannot truly have privacy without security where security without privacy. Sure we're exploring a proposal to require aid the -- of -- review of any -- a court decision. Order or opinion to improve transparency -- that threatening sources and methods. We're also -- -- expanding congressional reporting. So that all members of congress not just those on committees of -- dish in jurisdiction can -- the classified reporting. About the programs. We're -- -- measure that would create a presidentially appointed senate. Confirmed inspector general to the NS of the NSA to provide an extra independent -- We are discussing ways to change the makeup of the -- -- court to correct perception that is controlled by one political party or other. We're looking into creating a privacy advocate and non executive branch lawyer who would take an independent position on matters before the -- court that Bob significant. Construction or interpretations of defies the law. And the most intriguing but also the most -- challenge challenging is changing house section 215 is implemented. Can we move away from ball collection and towards a system like the one used in criminal prosecution system. In which the government subpoenas individual call data records -- numbers no content to be used for link analysis. We spent months working very hard on these proposals and we would like to hear your thoughts on them. We brought you here today to get your in put in an open form and allow all members and the American people to hear your responses for themselves. -- thank you for your time today and look for -- thoughtful discussion on the range of reform proposals as chairman I yield back. Thank you very much shall we -- welcome the panel today and director clapper before bush the Florida shores. -- terminal will go ahead with or. Prepared statements on -- -- legislation and we certainly get to some questions -- to we know you'll. So what Jim Rogers -- -- remember Rosenberg distinguished members of the committee thanks so much for having us here today to talk about the way ahead occasioned by the continuing dramatic revelations about intelligence collection programs. Since. There on our rights to send your rescue to suspend I'm going to say for the last time that the gentleman all the way on the left would be removed. -- asked the officer to remove. If I see one more example of that how all I ask you all to be removes the gentleman in the -- gray jacket with the in the left. Thank you very much. It. And about the steps -- we're taking to make these programs more transparent while still protecting our national security interest. We each have statements all begin and then transition general Alexander. This hearing is a key part of the -- our nation needs about legislation that provides intelligence community with authorities -- to collect critical foreign intelligence and to protect privacy and civil liberties. We. All of us in the Intel's community are very much aware -- that the recent unauthorized disclosures have raised serious concerns that you alluded to both here in congress. And across the nation -- -- its activities. We know public wants to understand how -- intelligence community uses its -- tools in the forties and to judge whether we can be trusted to use them appropriately. We believe we have been lawful. And at the rigorous oversight we've operated under has been effective so we welcome this opportunity -- -- public. As we engage in this discussion of the it's also important -- our citizens know that the unauthorized disclosure of the details of these programs has been extremely damaging. From my vantage is the -- -- these disclosures are threatening our ability to conduct intelligence and keeper countries say. There's no way or race or make up for the damage that we know has already been done and we anticipate even more as we continue -- assessment. And -- more revelations. Before these unauthorized disclosures were always very conservative about discussing the specifics -- or collection programs based on the truism that the more adversaries know about what we're doing the more they can avoid or surveillance. But the disclosures. For better or for worse at lord of the threshold for discussing these matters in public. So to the degree that we can discuss some we will. But this public discussion should be based on an -- understanding of the Intel's community who we are what we do an -- overseen. The last few months the manner in which are activities have been church -- is often an incomplete inaccurate or misleading or some combination Euro. I believe that most Americans realize Intel's community exists to collect the vital intelligence that helped protect our nation from foreign throats. We focus on covering the secret plans and intentions of our foreign adversaries and as we've been chores to do. But what we do not do is -- -- on Americans or for that matter spy indiscriminately on the citizens of any country. We only spy for ballot foreign intelligence purposes as authorized by law. What multiple layers of oversight commission to ensure we don't abuse -- authorities. Unfortunately this reality is sometimes been obscured in the current debate. And for some this is liberal or an erosion of trust in the -- community. And we do understand the concerns on the part of the public. I'm -- Vietnam veteran and I remember -- congressional investigations of the 1970s later disclosed and I was in the Intel's community -- -- some intelligence programs were carried out for domestic political purposes without proper legal authorization or oversight. But having lived through that as a part of Intel's community I can now assure the American people that the Intel's community today is not like that. We operate within a robust framework of strict rules and rigorous oversight involving all three branches of the government. No useful historical perspective I think is that during the Cold War the free world and the Soviet bloc had mutually exclusive Telecommunications Systems. Which made for the collection a lot easier to distinguish. Now world -- telecommunications. -- unified. Intertwined with hundreds of millions of innocent people conducting billions of innocent transactions. Are much smaller number of nefarious adversaries are trying to do harm. On the very same network using the very same technologies. -- our challenges to distinguish. Very precisely between these two groups of Connecticut's. -- an alarm -- -- off whenever one terrorist communicated with another terrorist -- jobs would be infinitely easier. But that capability just doesn't exist in the world technology at least today. Over the past month side to classify -- publicly released a series of documents related to both section 215 of the Patriot Act and section seven two of the foreign intelligence surveillance sacrifice. We're doing that to facilitate informed public debate about the important told its collection programs that operate under these authorities. We felt -- light of the unauthorized disclosures. The public interest in these documents far outweigh the potential additional damage to national security. These documents let our citizens see -- seriousness. The thoroughness. And the rigor. Would would suffice -- exercises its responsibilities. They also reflecting tells communities particularly NSA's commitment to and covering reporting and correcting any compliance matters that occur. However even in these documents we've had a redact certain information to protect sensitive sources and methods such as the -- were targets of surveillance. But we will continue -- declassify. More documents. That's what the American people want it's what the president has asked us to do and I personally believe it's the only way we can reassure citizens that -- Intel's community. -- using it's tools and for -- -- appropriately. The rules and oversight to -- -- -- sure we do what the American people want us to do which is protect our nation's security and our people's deliveries. -- -- -- We do not -- and anyone except for valid foreign intelligence purposes and we only work within the law. -- the two Beecher on occasion we've made mistakes some quite significant. But these are usually cause one human error or technical problems and whenever we found mistakes we've reported addressed and corrected them. The National Security Agency specifically. As -- part of the Intel's community broadly is an honorable institution. The men and women who do the sense of -- -- honorable people dedicated to conducting their mission lawfully and are appalled by any wrongdoing. They -- are citizens of this nation who cared just as much about privacy and constitutional rights as the rest of -- They should be commended for their crucial important work and protect the people the country. Which has been made all the more difficult by the storm -- -- -- damaging disclosures. -- all said. We in the diocese stand ready to work in partnership with you to just formed surveillance authorities to protect to further protect our privacy and civil liberties. And I think there's some principles -- ordered Grail. First we must always protect our sources methods targets partners and weighs on relationships. We must do a better job in helping the American people understand what we do why we do it and most importantly the rigorous oversight that helps ensure we do it correctly. And third we must make take every opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to respond to respecting the civil liberties and privacy -- American. But we also have to remain mindful of the potential negative long term impact of over correcting neo authorization to -- -- -- Intel's community. As Americans. We face an unending array of threats to our way of life more than I've seen across in my fifty years and until -- We need to sustain -- ability to protect detect these threats. We certainly welcome a balanced discussion about -- security and civil liberties it's not an either or situation we need to continue to protect both. Well that let me turn Joan Alexander. Chairman Rogers ranking member Rupert birders distinguished members of the committee thank you for the opportunity to provide opening comments today. I have a prepared statement but many of you know I'm not going to be able to -- -- as well as I can just tell you what's on my -- from -- talk from the heart. So that you know. What we're talking about here from an and it's a perspective is what I think you in the nation needs to hear. First and foremost. I've had eight plus years -- NSA. They are among the finest people in this country. What they do every day for this nation is unheralded we don't get a lot of fanfare around it. But it's absolutely superb Saturday. I had the opportunity to work. Again which we've done every weekend since I've been there to support our troops in Afghanistan. Who were under threat of an attack. We do that all the time our people were in there supporting our troops supporting a military operations. In eight plus years. Not one person has ever come up to -- and said I have to work tonight for the weekend. They always come in. They protect our troops and they protect this country. They've taken an oath to defend the nation. And to protect our civil liberties -- privacy. And they do that better than anyone I have ever seen. It is a privilege and honor to work next to them every day. What I want to tell you about is how did we get here talk about the business record -- -- want to give you some insights what we see going on worldwide. A -- talk a little bit about the compliance and and how we protect these programs and where we need to go in the future. And then chairman will address some of the questions I know you want to ask and salt dropped it -- to your question. Portion. First how did we get here how do we end up here 9/11. 2996. People were killed. And 9/11. We all distinctly remember that. What I remember the most was those firemen running up the stairs to say people. Two there themselves lose their lives. And we had this great picture that was created afterward -- a fireman. Handing a flag off to the military and I say the intelligence community and in the military and intelligence being -- we've got it from here. We deployed our forces to Iraq into Afghanistan. And SA is deployed 6000. Plus people forward. Twenty have lost their lives in support of operations in Iraq Afghanistan and the war counterterrorism. In they know what they bring to that -- helps bring back more of our soldiers sailors airmen and Marines. You only have to ask people like general -- Petraeus. General Ray Odierno general Lloyd Austin -- will tell you. Our people -- there every step of the way. But while we were there while we are there and what we learn about the threat. Is something that is necessary in important to the defense of this country. We see that threats to come into this nation. We see what eight foreign intelligence agency is expected to see. Prior to 9/11 we had no way of connecting those doubts. And SA would see one side FBI the other. And so the question is how can we connect these dots of what you're seeing. And do it in the least intrusive manner. And thanks to you the senate the executive branch in the courts we have programs to do that. And congressman king thank you for your comments I know what you've done in new York and the statements that -- made are greatly appreciated and I would tell you. That every person. At an essay in in the military still remembers that day in our commitment to those people that we will not forget. But that doesn't mean that we're gonna trample on our civil liberties and privacy. So the issue is how do we do both because that's the constitution. That we all swore to uphold and defend. And that's what we're doing. Look at the program that we have we as American citizens. Everyone at this table is also an American citizen. Agreed that we would take our personal data and put -- into a pile a lock box. It would only be looked at when we had reasonable and -- ticket will suspicion. That we had connection to -- born. Al-Qaeda -- related terrorist group. And look into that box. In 2012. We had 288. Such selectors. That we could go and look into -- that's it. Of the billions of records only 288. In with that we had tremendous oversight. When you look at the amount of oversight from this committee alone and from others. From within. The DNI. The Department of Defense -- -- director of compliance. With our own General Counsel with our -- IG and with all -- Compliance individuals at every level. Everything that we do on this program is audited a 100%. On the business record price. A 100%. The data is kept C separate from all the other data that we have and I think it's important to understand. That -- -- -- did not have access to this date period. The technical safeguards that we have their insure that no one else gets access to it. And that no one can get a -- analysts say it goes to one of those 288 members of the numbers that are currently on the list. Only 22 people it and -- are authorized to provide. -- numbers to approved numbers. And about thirty are authorized to look into that database and that's it when you look at the number of people that we have in the oversight and compliance we have on this program. And what it does to protect our civil liberties and privacy. We couldn't think of a better way to do that. Now let me give you some thoughts here because I think this is important for our country to think about this. If you look at the trends in -- CT arena in 2012. It was the highest globally that it's -- ever. Over 151000. People killed. In just this last month. 2336. People were killed. 15110. Injured in Pakistan Afghanistan's Syria Iraq and Nigeria. And yet there has not been a mass casualty here in the US since 2001. That's not by luck. They didn't stop aiding us. They didn't say that they were and they just forgive this -- continue to try. It is -- great members in the intelligence community. Our military. Our law enforcement. It -- stood up and said this is our job. And we do it without partners and our allies. -- it has been a great partnership. When you look at the numbers that we gave you early on about the numbers of terrorist related events that we've helped stop. Recall that thirteen were in the US. 25. Were in Europe. They -- closer to the threat. It's easier to get to Europe and they're going after him. And I think is a privilege and honor from the United States' perspective -- know. That we have helped stop incidents there. This congressman king said one incident was called. 9/11. We call that one incident. That should never happen again. That's what we're about here that's what we're trying to do. I think it's also important to note. That we've asked industries helped. Ask okay more accurately we have compelled. Industry to help us in this manner. By court order. And what they're doing. Is saving lives. And they're being penalized because they're helping to save lives in our way of life so that people sitting behind me. -- -- express their feelings. That's something that we all stand up -- so that they can say what they believe. We think it's important that they have the facts. Industry. Has helped because they were compelled to help and I'll tell you. There are a lot of patriots out there that know that what they're doing is saving lives not only here. -- in Europe and around the world and it's the right thing to do. And it's done. Under court order. I think it is absolutely vital that we understand that. So we're we're too -- come from. Eight plus years we've been a -- so with -- -- to a hearing on Capitol Hill from of the House Intelligence Committee receives in right -- the outgoing. On National Security Agency chief -- Alexander. And the director of department of a national intelligence James clapper making his opening statements. Is well think of what to bring in ABC's Louis Martinez Hussein by the Pentagon and talk about a little -- -- those opening statements Louis. Do we expect anything either from those opening statements for director -- clapper and is he indicating that were to find anything new about. Essentially how these programs are operating. I think you're hearing right now in Alexander's. Basically ad -- remarks to this committee again. He's providing a very spirited defense of why the -- gathers its information and he's providing information about. How the program works about how the monitoring of phone calls in this country. But remember this is only the monitoring of calls me to the US up from the outside or from the outside to yes so it's not the monitoring of calls within the United States. What he's talking about is -- basically the creation of a lock box all this information is -- been collected through various means -- is basically kept on reserve. Until it's needed for terror investigations. And you heard him say that last year that information which touched on only 280 times. And he didn't specify how many individuals within the entire intelligence community actually have access to that information he said basically. A 20/20. Wondered at thirty in another. So that's pretty remarkable information that he's now talking about in. You heard him say that the United States only conduct spying on. American citizen when -- me and -- some things will -- it reaches a terror threshold. I'm so the balancing act the between. Trying to detect terror plots while maintaining the privacy concerns of Americans. You here in both -- -- basically saying. That's what they want to the balancing -- they have to provide. Because we understand the concerns. And obviously that's what they're trying talking about in these remarks that actually Alexander's comments -- -- interesting because given that he just said I want to talk to you. Members of the committee which is why you basically see the news seeing reading from prepared remarks. And and that's an interesting observation to to make on that Louis -- but to talk about the actual substance. Of those statements there. Director clapper has said earlier that there have been -- statements that were made so is his credibility. In question. Well he has been in the past and past appearances before congress. He has not been totally forthcoming he's been kind of stretching. The limits -- his response -- any answer he has always given is that I can't talk to you about certain things in open session. I I can't talk to you about things in classified section which he's both the house and Senate Intelligence Committee do -- meet regularly and classified session. So when he's an open session he key can't really be at liberty to fully explain. Vote in the full limits of a program. And intelligence gathering program but I think you heard him say today pretty yet clearly that. They're being Yee reports out there that have been inaccurate and misleading and we -- we discussed earlier those news reports that came out today from -- officials. Pointing the finger at French and his Spanish intelligence agencies as being the ones that gathered. Millions of monitored phone calls in those countries that it was not the NSA but that they were actually provided. -- -- NSA is part of an intelligence sharing agreement. So we'll clapper has this fine line -- -- he can't really talk about certain classified issues. But so he has to speak within the limits of what he could talk about and -- and -- setting. To -- a general Alexander heat is on his way out of the NSA can -- -- -- that decision. Back to those revelations are from -- Snowden lease which referred to as the unauthorized disclosure in those opening statements. Guess some people try to make that leap but we've been told repeatedly that they the two matters -- on related. Alexander is a military officer his term is up basically and so they're gonna try to come up with a successor now -- interest in question has been raised. In light of this and an affair is whether. We need to can keep. -- a military officer running the NSA. The next security ABC's interest -- because it falls under the Department of Defense structure but the same time to get this intelligence gathering. AC it falls under the Director of National Intelligence which added. Since its inception. It has been run by a civilian so. There's been some discussion about whether you put a civilian in charge of the NS of the year NSA is well but as far as that -- it to you right now cause and effect. It's just Alexander's term -- up or President Obama like clapper and Alexander as promised reviews and reform the program are -- actual concrete plans though in place to make that happen. Well you heard of the very top there you heard from that -- stuff. The -- -- he -- that democratic ranking member of this committee he talked about pending legislation. That would. Provide changes number one more oversight for intelligence gathering operations. More restrictions a potentially on the fights a court that's the court. Here in Washington DC that deals with -- security matters and that provides. The legal authorities for the -- and other agencies to conduct this kind of monitoring you've heard him talk about and it's augmenting the -- -- of the year at powers on these Specter generals on the respective agencies involved so there is there's obviously something in the works on the legislative front. As to how how far and those that those pieces of legislation are actually taken remains to be seen but obviously there's. Discontent about how things have been -- so far. As more and more details keep coming out and and you can -- -- -- Firsthand. Over -- -- clapper shoulders of these individuals they're protesting. His appearance. Talking about wearing these big glasses that -- stop the spying. One individual was thrown out because -- held up a sign it said similar things -- a Mike Rogers the chairman of the committee didn't like that in him this individual thrown out. This is a topic that's raised. Deep concerns. An American public it's resonated was well obviously in in Europe. Which has been we learned over the last couple weeks the focus of some of -- spying and conducted by intelligence. Yes and those there was a -- -- -- subsidy of it being being taken out of there and really just -- through it together mean a timeline and when action might actually take place. Do we expect the journal -- Alexander will be around when this kind of reform does in fact. Go into effect well if congressman is on its role as slow roll as it has for the last year's the last couple of years maybe not that previously at the -- a couple of months. I'm as is his deputy actually for that matter who -- a civilian. And so when if they go both -- -- be around to see these. Allay these pieces of legislation acted on about -- we can't count on is that members of congress are are heeding the concerns about. The national security gathering apparatus and are trying to see what needs fixing. Or if he needs to be fixed and -- -- ABC's there were tears at the Pentagon Louis thank you for that. This has been an ABC news digital special report the intelligence community under the scope. In the wake of another spy and surveillance scandal stay on abcnews.com. -- -- reports. I'm Dan Cutler -- New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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