Senate passes bill to rein in NSA phone dragnet
The U.S. Senate has passed legislation intended to rein in the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of domestic telephone records, sending the bill to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The Senate’s 67-32 vote Tuesday on the USA Freedom Act restores a limited telephone records program at the NSA to resume after the old bulk collection program expired Sunday night. After Obama’s signature, the NSA will have six months to transition its phone records database to U.S. telecom carriers.
The USA Freedom Act, aimed at ending bulk collection of telephone records, was needed after revelations about the program by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in mid-2013, supporters said. Some digital rights groups have blasted the bill as “fake reform,” but the bill’s limits on the NSA will help restore the U.S. public’s trust in government surveillance efforts, said Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and sponsor of the bill.