Published On: Fri, Jun 5th, 2015

Congress congratulates itself for passing ‘less illegal’ NSA spying ‘reform’

The National Security Agency lost some of its authority to collect the phone records from millions of Americans as a new reform measure Congress passed on Tuesday. President Obama signed the bill into law on Tuesday evening. Despite being deemed illegal by the courts, many in Congress fought to keep the unlimitless, warrantless tracking of Americans intact.

Now members of the House and Senate are touting the measures as a major accomplishment.

“It’s historical,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, one of the leading architects of the reform efforts. “It’s the first major overhaul of government surveillance in decades.”

There has been plenty of drama over the past couple of weeks with Kenntucky Senator and 2016 GOP Presidential candidate Rand Paul railing against the NSA in a 10-hour speech that riled civil libertarians and privacy advocates all over the country.

The new post 9/11-Patriot Act, known as the USA Freedom Act, was a compromise for neoconservative members in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, all who fought for a more expansive Patriot Act, arguing it was essential for national security.

In the House, 51 Republicans voted against the measure with 70 Democrats objecting. 32 in the Senate voted against the USA Freedom Act, with McConnell, McCain joining Paul with a “No” vote and Graham not voting at all.

NSA seal redone by donkeyhotey2016 Presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Bernie Sanders voted againt the measure with Ted Cruz offering a “Yea” votes.

Obama welcomed the bill’s final passage on Tuesday, taking a jab at those who held it up.

“After a needless delay and inexcusable lapse in important national security authorities, my administration will work expeditiously to ensure our national security professionals again have the full set of vital tools they need to continue protecting the country,” he said in a statement.

Now that Obama has signed the bill, his administration will get to work getting the bulk metadata collection program back up and running during a six-month transition period to the new data collection system.

The bill’s passage is the culmination of efforts to reform the NSA that blossomed out of NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations.

“This is the most important surveillance reform bill since 1978, and its passage is an indication that Americans are no longer willing to give the intelligence agencies a blank check,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Congress had failed last year to pass a similar reform effort.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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