Developments on the NSA Surveillance Front

The Case for NSA Reform – by Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner:

“[W]e were the primary authors of the USA PATRIOT Act . . . . [W]e strongly agree that the dragnet collection of millions of Americans’ phone records every day — whether they have any connection at all to terrorism — goes far beyond what Congress envisioned or intended to authorize. More important, we agree it must stop. [Today] we will introduce bicameral, bipartisan legislation that will put an end to the National Security Agency’s indiscriminate collection of personal information. Our proposal, the USA FREEDOM Act, provides stronger privacy safeguards with respect to a range of government surveillance programs. While the USA FREEDOM Act ends the dragnet collection of telephone records, it preserves the intelligence community’s ability to gather information in a more focused way, as was the original intent of the PATRIOT Act. Our bill also ensures that this program will not simply be restarted under other legal authorities, and includes new oversight, auditing and public reporting requirements. No longer will the government be able to employ a carte-blanche approach to records collection or enact secret laws by covertly reinterpreting congressional intent. And to further promote privacy interests, our legislation establishes a special advocate to provide a counterweight to the surveillance interests in the FISA Court’s closed-door proceedings.”

The USA Freedom Act: pdf

See also:

The White House on Spying: New York Times Editorial Board

Spycraft: how do we fix a broken NSA? – Reformers are still struggling to imagine an NSA that doesn’t overstep the constitution: Russell Brandon at The Verge.

Counterpoint: We Need an Invasive NSA by Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith