Excerpted from POLITICO
As NSA leaker Edward Snowden finally left Moscow’s airport, President Barack Obama met Thursday afternoon with nine members of Congress to discuss American surveillance efforts.
Obama hosted what the White House called “some of the programs’ most prominent critics and defenders,” though it did not include Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), perhaps the most prominent critic of the National Security Agency.
“Today’s meeting was constructive and the President committed that he and his team would continue to work closely with the Congress on these matters in the weeks and months ahead,” the White House said.The NSA defenders in the session included Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the ranking members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Feinstein and Chambliss, along with Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), the ranking members of the House Intelligence Committee, released a statement deeming the session productive.
“Our meeting with President Obama today on FISA was productive,” the four said in their statement. “There was agreement in the room the NSA call record program (Section 215) is not a domestic surveillance program. We will continue to work through the August recess on proposals to improve transparency and strengthen privacy protections to further build the confidence of the American public in our nation’s counterterrorism programs.”Prominent NSA critics included Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado.
Also in attendance, according to the White House, were Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and GOP Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.