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Secret U.S. court approves further phone tracking

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The secret federal court overseeing US wiretapping programs has extended the government’s authority to collect US telephone records, the office of the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said late Friday.

Clapper “has decided to declassify and disclose publicly that the government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking renewal of the authority to collect telephony metadata in bulk, and that the court renewed that authority,” the statement read.

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This disclosure is “consistent with his prior declassification decision and in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program,” the statement read.

In mid-August President Barack Obama pledged to overhaul US spy programs amid a debate sparked by the leaks of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, which revealed vast telephone and Internet surveillance programs.

Obama promised a new era in intelligence with more supervision, transparency and safeguards in the NSA’s collection of electronic information.

His administration has however maintained a hard line against the leaking of such information, and is seeking to prosecute Snowden on espionage charges.

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After the disclosures Snowden fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he has been granted one year’s temporary asylum despite Washington’s demands that he be returned.


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CNN’s Cuomo obliterates GOP congressman who raided SCIF in impeachment hearing

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On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," Chris Cuomo brought on Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), one of the Republicans who participated in the raid on the secure room where the Intelligence Committee was conducting impeachment hearings. And Johnson's attempt to defend his behavior did not go well.

"Congressman, did you bring a phone in there?" asked Cuomo.

"We headed down that hallway to demand to be able to do our job. That's what we were there for," said Johnson. "There is no classified information being discussed in that room. It is a classified facility, if classified is being discussed, but there was no classified information being discussed there ... You know, a Republican speaker gave that due process and fairness to President Clinton. A Democrat speaker gave that fairness and due process to Richard Nixon. So what do they have to hide, Chris?"

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Intel Committee has ‘recent evidence’ Ukraine witnesses are working together to ‘coordinate’ their stories

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House investigators have "recent evidence" of witnesses working to coordinate their testimony before Congress, a Democratic congressman revealed on MSNBC on Wednesday.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who sits on the Intelligence and Judicial committees, was interviewed by MSNBC Chris Hayes.

"Final question, what is the timeline here?" Hayes asked. "There is some transparency argument that at some point this can’t be behind closed doors, the American people, all of us, Republicans, Democrats, citizens and journalists have to hear what’s happening."

"You’re absolutely right and there will be a public phase," Swalwell replied.

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Rudy Giuliani is looking for a lawyer — after saying he didn’t need one: report

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On Wednesday, CNN reported that President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani is looking for a defense attorney to represent him.

This report comes after Giuliani said last week that he would not seek legal representation unless he believed he needed it.

Giuliani is currently under criminal investigation for the scheme he apparently helped facilitate in the Ukraine, where Trump withheld military aid in the fight against Russia while demanding their leaders investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

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