Oct. 20, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Coming Up: Congressional Showdown on NSA Wiretapping

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Leahy and Feinstein are usually allies, but a debate over NSA data collection programs is causing a rift.

“We warned that it was an invitation to abuse,” Murphy said. “Now what we have that’s different is you have the rise of the tea party, some of who ran on constitutional issues. You also have evidence now of the government abusing the powers that we warned them they would cause.”

Obama’s director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., has publicly said he is resigned to the inevitability of some kind of legislative amendment to the NSA programs. Because the president has the veto pen and powerful allies in House and Senate leaders from both parties, the White House might be able to avert its worst fears about wholesale elimination of certain programs and dramatic limitations on others.

But a powerful groundswell of constituent outrage paired with an array of potent lawmakers standing in opposition means that victory is no sure thing.

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