NSA Reform Bill Fails in the Senate
Missed opportunity, looking forward to the death of the program.
The White House, however, supported the bill, saying it balanced the need for surveillance while still preserving the constitutional protections of Americans. Attorney General Eric Holder and even the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper both have expressed support for it.
The bulk-records collection program still faces problems next summer when Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act are scheduled to expire. The government has used Section 215 to authorize collection of the records, and reformers in the Senate and House have vowed to fight re-authorization of this and other sections of the Act next year and let them expire. They had hoped, however, in passing USA FREEDOM Act, to put an end to some of those powers now.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D - California), a supporter of the bulk-records collection program, initially opposed the USA FREEDOM Act but changed her mind out of fear that if the Senate didn’t pass this bill allowing a revised version of collection program to continue the program was at risk of being cancelled entirely next year if Section 215 is allowed to expire next year. She viewed the compromise offered under the USA FREEDOM Act preferable to the alternative.