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Leahy Slams McConnell Push to Extend NSA Surveillance Authority

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy vowed to block efforts by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to extend authorization to collect phone and other records of Americans in bulk through 2020. The broadly worded Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act expires in June — and the provision has become extremely controversial particularly after the Edward Snowden relevations.  

Leahy, D-Vt., said there is a broad consensus that the bulk phone record collection must end, but the bill McConnell proposed Tuesday would simply extend the authority without changes:

"Republican leaders should be working across the aisle on legislation that protects both our national security and Americans’ privacy rights, but instead they are trying to quietly pass a straight reauthorization of the bulk collection program that has been proven ineffective and unnecessary. And more, they are attempting to do so without the committee process that the Majority Leader has promised for important legislation. This tone deaf attempt to pave the way for five and a half more years of unchecked surveillance will not succeed."
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