Congress Warns DOJ That If It Doesn't Support NSA Reform Plan, It Won't Renew Key Patriot Act Provision

from the get-your-act-together dept

While the USA Freedom Act isn't perfect, it is one bill in Congress that has a lot of support and will fix many problems with the current NSA overreach. Much more needs to be done, but the USA Freedom Act is a good starting point. And yet, the Obama administration and his Justice Department have yet to take a public stand on the bill, and that seems to be annoying plenty of folks in Congress. At the recent Judiciary Committee hearings, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the original author of the Patriot Act and Section 215, made it abundantly clear that the DOJ/NSA's interpretation of his bill was simply incorrect and that they were abusing the system. As the sponsor of the USA Freedom Act to fix this misinterpretation, he pointed out that if the DOJ doesn't agree to support it, there's a good chance that Congress simply won't renew the provisions in Section 215 at all. Section 215, of course, is the part that has been misinterpreted by the DOJ, the FISA court, the NSA and the FBI to pretend it authorizes the collection of every phone record. In short, the message from Congress is: work with us to reform things, or we'll pull the authority altogether. Of course, some of us think that pulling the authority altogether might be a better long term solution.

And it's not just Sensenbrenner making those claims. Many others -- across the political spectrum -- made it clear during the hearing that the NSA's actions with regards to Section 215 were unacceptable and Congress is going to make them change things. Yes, nothing has happened yet, and Congressional bluster doesn't always lead to results, but it's becoming increasingly clear that the NSA (and the President's) desire to keep collecting everyone's metadata is not convincing anyone.

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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2014 @ 4:31pm

    "nothing has happened yet, and Congressional bluster doesn't always lead to results,"

    at least you agree that's its just bluster, and understand this "bluster" DOES NOT LEAD TO RESULTS.
    But feel free to pin your hopes and dreams on the US Congress, but NSA is not going to affect their re-election prospects, therefore Congress will do nothing.

    But they will the opposites game with the Dem's.

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