WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's top intelligence official says a previously undisclosed program for tapping into Internet usage is authorized by Congress, falls under strict supervision of a secret court and cannot intentionally target a U.S. citizen. And he says it was reckless to reveal it and another intelligence-gathering program.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has taken the rare step of declassifying some details of an intelligence program to respond to media reports about the government's counterterrorism techniques.
His statement and declassification on Saturday addresses the Internet scouring program, code-named PRISM, that allows the NSA and FBI to tap directly into the servers of major U.S. Internet companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and AOL. Like the phone-records program, PRISM was approved by a judge in a secret court order. Unlike that program, however, PRISM allows the government to seize actual conversations: emails, video chats, instant messages and more.
Clapper says the program, authorized in the USA Patriot Act, has been in place since 2008 and "has proven vital to keeping the nation and our allies safe."
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Several thousand messages are piling up as Missouri Governor Jay Nixon decides whether to sign recently passed legislation that would bolster gun rights.
The Republican-led Legislature approved measures that would tackle federal gun laws, allow certain trained school personnel to carry a concealed weapon and change the process for issuing concealed gun permits.
Nixon, a Democrat, has until mid-July to sign the bills, veto them or allow them to take effect without his signature.
As the governor decides what to do, some are seeking to sway his decision. Many are urging Nixon to sign the bills, calling them key to protecting Missouri residents' rights. Some suggest he should veto and raise questions about the legality and wisdom of the legislation.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis County councilman says he'll try to halt development of an apartment complex for low-income seniors.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports County Councilman Steve Stenger told a crowd Friday at Oakville High School he'll present a proposal to the council Tuesday to end construction on the complex.
Construction began May 16th on the building, which would have 44 one-bedroom units. The apartments are being built by Ohio-based National Church Residences, a nonprofit senior housing developer, which didn't attend the meeting.
Stenger says there was a breakdown in notifying residents about the complex. But the St. Louis County Planning Commission says it mailed 200 postcards to residents and business within 1,000 feet of the project, and information was posted on the county's website and at the apartment site.