Bill Nelson joins panel discussion on US intelligence oversight

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Keeping the intelligence community in check: That's one of the messages from former Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who is making one of his first public events since he was voted out of office. Our Washington Correspondent Alana Austin tells us what Nelson discussed.

Florida’s Bill Nelson says oversight of the intelligence community by lawmakers is critical, but it's also getting tougher in an age of partisan fighting.

Monday night, Nelson joined a panel of bipartisan former lawmakers who formerly served on Congressional intelligence committees. Overall, the idea being that those committees run important investigations – like exploring alleged Russian meddling in US elections.

The committees are also tasked with being a check on powerful agencies like the FBI and CIA. In an exclusive sit-down interview before this event, Nelson also tells us the technological and foreign threats facing the nation are intensifying, and leaders must focus on this issue.

“This is going to be a lot about protection as a national entity in the future. It’s going to need to protect our privacy as well as our national interest, through the cyber world,” said Nelson.

In recent years, some of the vast, sweeping powers of American intelligence – including water-boarding terror suspects, or mass data surveillance – have faced scrutiny.

But the consensus here was the intelligence community does very important work protecting national security.

Nelson and the other panelists also believe improving coordination between government agencies is crucial to a better understanding of all the efforts in the intelligence world.

The event was hosted by the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy and International Security and the George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government.

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