(The Center Square) – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, will place a hold on the nomination of Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh to serve as director of the National Security Agency (NSA).
Wyden will do this until the NSA reveals if it is buying Americans’ location data and web browsing records.
Wyden said the Defense Department has refused to publicize information regarding the purchases of Americans’ personal data.
“The American people have a right to know whether the NSA is conducting warrantless domestic surveillance of Americans in a manner that circumvents the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution,” Wyden said. “Particularly as Congress is currently debating extending Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Congress must be able to have an informed public debate about the scope of the NSA’s warrantless surveillance of Americans.”
The longest-serving member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Wyden claims he is “a staunch advocate for protecting the security of Americans without sacrificing their Constitutional rights,” according to a release from his office.
Wyden requested information about DOD data purchases to be released in 2021. However, the department refused to provide it despite the info not being classified.
Wyden never questioned Lt. Gen. Haugh’s qualifications in his hold statement.
“A hold is a Senate procedure that prevents shortcuts to speed up consideration of a nominee,” the release said. “It can be overcome by a procedural vote.”
The hold comes at a time when the U.S. intelligence community is actively engaged in international conflicts, like the wars between Ukraine and Russia, plus Israel and Hamas. Additionally, the United States is gathering intelligence in the South China Sea amid the growing threat of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
Wyden’s hold on the NSA director nominee also comes as U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, has placed holds on military promotions in protest of the Biden administration wanting to pay the travel expenses of women in the military seeking abortions.
Many senators have argued that Tuberville’s holds threaten national security.