Tags: NSA/Surveillance | Leahy | Congress | NSA

Sen. Patrick Leahy 'Pulling Rank' to Push Surveillance Reform

By    |   Monday, 10 Nov 2014 11:00 AM

Sen. Patrick Leahy is pushing to pass NSA surveillance reform as Congress continues its lame-duck session before Republicans take control in January, The Hill reports.

Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, will lose his seat at the first of the year, but is going against the White House's legislative agenda, "pulling rank" as he seeks passage of the USA Freedom Act, the Hill noted.

While Leahy's plan is not something current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to take up in the Senate's remaining few days, noting other priorities, Leahy "has no intention of letting the White House or Reid postpone action on what could be his last accomplishment as chairman," The Hill reported.

Noted Leahy in a statement last month of pushing his legislation through: “There is no excuse for inaction, as the important reforms in this bipartisan bill are strongly supported by the technology industry, the privacy and civil liberties community, and national security professionals in the intelligence community.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, when asked if Obama would be on board with Leahy's surveillance reform plans, cited other more pressing concerns from the White House. Among those were work on legislation to pre-empt a future government shutdown as well as work on Ebola, extending Title X and helping to arm Syrian rebels, The Hill reported.

Leahy introduced updated legislation in July geared at NSA surveillance reform, according to The Wall Street Journal, which noted that if passed, it would mark "the first major surveillance restraints imposed on U.S. spy agencies since the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."

The legislation would limit the NSA's collection of consumer phone records and stop bulk government spying and law-enforcement record requests. It would also aid in transparency, forcing agencies that do collect information to report their activities more publicly, the Journal reported. Seeking a better balance between the need for information and privacy, the proposed law also reforms the FISA court.
 
Critics of Leahy's bill have offered that it doesn't go far enough in what some had hoped would be broader reform of Section 702 of the Foreign Surveillance Act, Tech Crunch reported. Some technology companies, however, have offered support for Leahy's reforms, Tech Crunch said.

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Sen. Patrick Leahy is pushing to pass NSA surveillance reform as Congress continues its lame-duck session before Republicans take control in January, The Hill reports.
Leahy, Congress, NSA
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2014-00-10
Monday, 10 Nov 2014 11:00 AM
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