Legislative Efforts to Preserve NSA Phone Surveillance Program
The Senate Intelligence Committee is close to enacting major legislation aimed at preserving the National Security Agency’s ability to monitor and log domestic telephone conversations. The NSA’s secret program, brought to public attention as a result of leaks by Edward Snowden, has drawn criticism as a large-scale invasion of privacy. The bill being pushed by Intelligence Committee leaders Senators Diane Feinstein (D-California) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), would reaffirm the NSA’s legal right to monitor phone calls and store the data; but would mandate certain public accountability features including reporting requirements regarding scope and rationale for calls being logged and limits to the length of time the data could be stored. A rival bill, sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Mark Udall (D-Colorado), would ban the NSA’s mass call logging program.