Collection of phone records roundly blasted
WASHINGTON — Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee blasted the government's bulk collection of Americans' telephone records on Tuesday and said it's a misuse of authority granted by Congress under the Patriot Act.
“Congress never intended to allow bulk collections,” said Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., author of the 2001 Patriot Act.
Debate is intensifying in Congress over whether to scrap the data collection effort or to modify it. There's widespread skepticism in both parties over President Obama's plans for the program and a desire for Congress to curb the National Security Agency.
“In my district and many others, NSA has become not a three-letter word, but a four-letter word,” Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., said at a Tuesday hearing on the surveillance effort.
Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., said Congress needs to end the bulk collection.
“Consensus is growing that it is largely ineffective, inconsistent with our national values and inconsistent with the statute as this committee wrote it,” said Conyers, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
An independent federal privacy board reviewed the spy program and said there is no evidence it had made a real difference in thwarting any terrorist operations.
David Medine, who chairs the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, told the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that the program should come to an end.
“We conclude the benefits of the program are modest at best, and they are outweighed by the privacy and civil liberties consequences,” Medine said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Federal appeals court appears divided on Obama’s immigrant deportation shield
- Collection gives insight into Oklahoma City federal building bomber McVeigh
- Foggy Interstate 70 pileup injures dozen in Colorado
- Shuster admits to ‘personal relationship’ with airline industry lobbyist
- Truck carrying 13.7M bees overturns
- Deportations of detained immigrants wasted millions, watchdog report finds
- Cardinal Francis George of Chicago dead at 78
- Oklahoma teenager found guilty in Aussie jogger’s killing
- Accused terror plotter pleads not guilty in Ohio
- Work crew triggers Calif. blast
- Scientists: Oil spill has harmed health of Gulf of Mexico