On Wednesday, President Obama “stopped short” of threatening to veto the re-authorization of the Patriot Act. Obama is looking to end Section 215 of the Act, which authorizes the bulk collection of American citizens’ phone records.
“The president has been quite definitive about the need to make those kinds of reforms a top priority,” White House flack Josh Earnest said Wednesday.
The GOP-controlled Senate has other ideas for the Patriot Act.
“McConnell and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) are co-sponsoring a renewal of the Patriot Act without making changes. The Senate leader is fast-tracking the legislation, meaning it will bypass committee review and go directly onto the Senate calendar.”
The anti-privacy, pro-panopticon defense hawks in the GOP are in favor of the extension, naturally. They argue the government should have massive amounts of your digital data because we need that to fight terrorists in the United States.
The USA Freedom Act is another bill that is a “bipartisan measure introduced this week in the House and Senate that would end the NSA’s existing phone-records collection program. Instead, it would require the agency to obtain a court order before collecting records from phone companies.”
Congress has been trying to enact permanent NSA reform but has been unsuccessful so far.
“The president and the administration are seeking to work in bipartisan fashion with members of the House and Senate to incorporate reforms that protect the civil liberties of the American people while ensuring that our intelligence and national security officials have the tools they need to keep us safe,” Earnest said.