Russia and China Spying at Cold War Levels, Top Spy Warns

Patriot Act not enough, he tells lawmakers
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2007 9:04 PM CDT
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, left, greets National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell, right, and Assistant Attorney Gen. Kenneth Wainstein on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2007, prior...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – China and Russia are spying on the US at nearly cold war levels, the nation's top spy told lawmakers today. Vice Admiral McConnell defended the Patriot Act as necessary for US defense and asked Congress to give intelligence agencies even greater eavesdropping powers. His  testimony comes weeks after an alleged strike by Chinese hackers on the Pentagon.

Some Dems are troubled by the latest version of the Patriot Act, which allows Feds to listen in on Americans who communicate with foreigners. But McConnell defended such spying as necessary to interrupt "sleeper cells," and added that agents can wait 200 hours to get a court order. The Patriot Act "is critical to protect the nation and preserve our security," he testified.