Tuesday, June 2, 2015

SENATE PASSES HILARIOUSLY-NAMED USA FREEDOM ACT, REFORMING NSA SURVEILLANCE

WASHINGTON -- After allowing portions of the Patriot Act to expire early Monday morning, lawmakers voted on Tuesday to reinstate the National Security Agency's sweeping data collection programs, though with modest reforms to the agency's programs and the secret court charged with keeping it in check.

In a 67-32 vote -- called earlier than expected -- the upper chamber agreed to pass the USA Freedom Act, effectively ending the two-day lapse in the NSA's programs. The act re-establishes modified versions of the expired Patriot Act provisions.

Attempts by NSA defenders to weaken the reforms in the USA Freedom Act fell short in the Senate, where the debate over the legislation has led to weeks of political turmoil. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-N.C.) put forth a handful of amendments that would have watered down the changes to the Patriot Act provisions. However, those measures failed to pass, largely due to concern that the House, which passed an clean bill earlier this month by a vote of 338-88, would refuse to approve an amended act.
The House bill was drafted by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), one of the original authors of the Patriot Act in 2001. He has since criticized the government's broad interpretation of the Patriot Act as a warrant for collecting bulk information on Americans.

More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/02/nsa-surveillance-congress_n_7496100.html

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