Sensenbrenner: Congress Will Not Renew NSA Surveillance Program

Image: Sensenbrenner: Congress Will Not Renew NSA Surveillance Program

Thursday, 18 Jul 2013 12:28 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The Patriot Act's chief author said the House of Representatives will never renew provisions that allow the National Security Agency to collect Americans' phone records, and he expects the program will end sometime next year.

Wisconsin Republican Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. on Wednesday told The Washington Times that Congress had tried to limit the act's reach when it renewed provisions under a section of the act that allows data to be gathered without obtaining a warrant.

Sensenbrenner said Congress added in the word "relevant," but the intelligence community has expanded its efforts to collect information even though Congress had wanted the programs limited.

The pertinent section expires at the end of 2015 and Sensenbrenner said "that is not going to be renewed. There are not the votes in the House to renew Section 215."

Sensenbrenner, along with Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, asked administration officials on Wednesday to allow major tech companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, to publish information on NSA requests they get for user data, reports The Hill.

Also on Wednesday, several administration officials testified at a Congressional hearing about the program, admitting that the agency has the technology to track ATM transactions and the locations of cellphones, but promised Congress they would seek permission before doing that.

While some lawmakers accused the administration of trying to hide the programs, John Litt, general counsel for the Office of National Intelligence, said the Obama administration is trying to determine if it can provide Congress with more information about court opinions and data collection.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik, in a letter to Sensenbrenner, said the government needs to collect the information, but only goes through it when they have a suspected terrorist to catch.

Kadzik said officials need to collect the information because phone companies only store data for a limited period of time, and sometimes more information is needed.


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