The Justice Department has issued a memo to Congress indicating that the National Security Agency (NSA) will have to start drawing-down their bulk data collection program if no legislation is passed to renew it’s authorization by the end of the week. The Patriot Act, which gives NSA the legal authority to collect all American’s telephone metadata, expires on June 1.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed replacement legislation for the Patriot Act, the USA Freedom Act, which would end dragnet surveillance and instead collect data on a case-by-case basis. While the bill passed overwhelmingly, 338–88, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said that there may not be enough votes for it in Congress’ upper-chamber.
Instead, McConnell is supporting renewal of the Patriot Act.
The White House, for their part, is publicly pushing Congress to pass the Freedom Act, in order “to ensure (NSA) does not engage in . . . unauthorized collection . . . of the metadata.”
The Justice Department has said that if Congress does not reauthorize the mass data collection program by June 1, it “may expose the government to some litigation risk in the event of legal challenge.”
[AP] [Photo courtesy AFP/Getty Images]